Debate moderator Maria Bartiromo is showing remorse about how she did her job.
Last night marked the fourth consecutive debate in which Marco Rubio was not asked about his signature legislative accomplishment: ushering an immigration expansion bill supported by President Obama through the Senate. Now, Bartiromo admits it was “unfortunate” that Rubio had not been asked about his co-authorship of the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, because “you cannot look at [the job market] today without considering the fact that we have foreigners coming in and taking the jobs that Americans need.”
“I think that question [about Rubio’s co-authorship of Gang of Eight] should have been asked,” Bartiromo said on Wednesday’s The Laura Ingraham Show. “It’s true. I think that conservatives wanted to hear him on the record… you cannot look at [the job market] today without considering the fact that we have foreigners coming in and taking the jobs that Americans need. And, that is the bottom line.”
Rubio’s 2013 immigration bill would have provided illegal immigrants with eventual eligibility for all federal welfare, entitlements, U.S. citizenship and the ability to vote in U.S. election. Rubio’s bill would have doubled the number of guest workers admitted annually, and it would have added 33 million new immigrants on green cards in the span of a single decade. As conservative populist Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) explains, Rubio has not backed away from a single one of the those policy items, even as he has been able to avoid being asked about the bill in any of the Republican presidential debates.
Last night Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz sparred over immigration, yet Rubio was notably silent. Following a heated back and forth on Rubio’s signature legislative issue, WSJ moderator Gerard Baker turned to Rubio. But rather than asking him to weigh in on the topic he, as The Washington Post writes, “lobbed [Rubio] a softball,”
With factories run by robots and shopping done increasingly on smartphones, many traditional jobs are just going away. How do you reassure American workers that their jobs are not being steadily replaced by machines?
The Washington Post explains that the moderators were “effectively asking Rubio to recite the ‘economy’ portion of his stump speech.”
Bartiromo described the moderators’ failure to hold Rubio accountable to the Republican electorate on this critical issue as “unfortunate”:
What Baker was going for there [with question about automation] was just the changing jobs market… he should have mushed the question together of foreigners coming in, but also machines. Because the truth is, the economy is changing and companies are replacing people with machines, there’s no doubt about it. So, we were trying to consolidate questions I think and that got lost in the mix, and it’s unfortunate because people want to see his feet held to the fire on this issue.
On Wednesday morning in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, Rubio continued to push for Gang of Eight immigration policies that would grant illegal immigrants immediate legal status and give them access to a work permit to take American jobs at a time when 94 million Americans are outside of the workforce. Rubio said, if you are an illegal immigrant, “you have to pass a background check, learn English, pay a fine, start paying taxes, and you get a work permit.”
Indeed, on Rubio’s website, he explicitly lays out precisely the same sales pitch he made for the Gang of Eight to legalize the illegal population. “Those here illegally must come forward and be registered…those who qualify would be allowed to apply for a temporary nonimmigrant visa… Once they receive this work permit, they would be allowed to work legally and travel… After [some period of time], they would be allowed to apply for permanent residency if they so choose.”
According to polls from Kellyanne Conway, more than two-thirds of all voters – Democrat and Republican – want to see illegal immigrants encouraged to return home by denying them access to American jobs and benefits.
As Greg Sargent at The Washington Post has noted, the failure to pin Rubio down on his desire to expand immigration has boosted Rubio’s campaign.
Sargent writes that Rubio is “cleverly straddl[ing]” the immigration issue and “leaving the door open” in the primary to move further to the left in the general as a candidate who will campaign openly on amnesty. Sargent also points out that Rubio has admitted that he would continue to carry out Obama’s unconstitutional 2012 executive amnesty upon entering the Oval Office. Sargent explains that whether Rubio can continue to “get away with this” is largely dependent upon whether the media will ever directly ask him the right questions.
Last night’s GOP debate laid bare with unusual clarity the deep and nasty divide within the party over immigration… As many news accounts have observed, Rubio last night did not get drawn into this debate… [Rubio is] leaving the door open for a general election re-entry as the GOP’s Great Hispanic Hope, the candidate whose own experience and relative openness to legalization (he’d presumably pivot back to offering some kind of reform proposal)… This clever Rubio straddle is evident in other areas, too. Rubio had previously declined to say whether he would roll back Obama’s executive actions protecting the DREAMers from deportations. But after Trump attacked thisas pro-“amnesty,” Rubio clarified that he would end those protections as president, yet he didn’t quite say when. The question is whether Rubio can get away with this, given that many conservatives are already suspicious of Rubio’s alleged softness on immigration (Ted Cruz’s Super PAC is already attacking Rubio as pro-“amnesty,” too) and will be working harder to pin down his true immigration intentions as the primaries get hotter. Rubio should also be asked directly whether as president he would immediately end Obama’s executive action protecting the DREAMers from deportation.
After the debate, Breitbart News caught up with Rubio’s campaign staff.
While Donald Trump and other candidates came out to the “Spin Room” to talk to media after the debate, Rubio was noticeably absent and sent his spokespeople to represent him instead. Breitbart News asked Rubio’s spokesman if Rubio would pledge to curb immigration. Rubio’s spokesman refused to answer, instead recycling Rubio’s Gang of Eight talking points about the need to “modernize our legal immigration system.” In 2013, when Rubio said “modernize” he apparently meant doubling the number of guest workers admitted each year and importing 33 million new immigrants on green cards.
Breitbart: Is [Sen. Rubio] prepared to support any cuts to annual immigration rates?
Rubio’s Spokesman, Alex Conant: He said he wants to modernize our legal immigration system.
Breitbart: What does that mean? Does that mean increase or does that mean cuts?
Conant: It means we need to modernize to meet our economic needs.
Breitbart: So you’re not going to answer?
Conant: I’m saying our future immigration flows need to be based on our economic needs.
Breitbart: So is that the same talking point from the Gang of Eight [calling to] modernize?
Conant: I’ve answered your question.
Conant’s argument that immigration flows “need to be based on our economic needs” is an argument typically used by immigration expansionists to argue that companies should be able to hire vast numbers of foreign workers to cut labor costs. This slip from Conant may perhaps expose Rubio to a troubling line of questioning. In 2013 while Rubio was pushing for immigration expansions, Rubio’s aides explained that the reason the bill had such a large increase in foreign workers was because American workers “couldn’t cut it” and needed to be replaced by lower-wage foreign workers. As Rubio aides told The New Yorker:
Rubio Aide 1: “There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it. There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly because–.”
Rubio Aide 2: “But the same is true for the high-skilled worker.”
Rubio Aide 1: “Yes, and the same is true across every sector, in government, in everything.”
Last night’s debate was hosted by Fox Business News and The Wall Street Journal.
Rupert Murdoch chairs an immigration expansionist group, known as the Partnership for A New American Economy, which supported, lobbied for and spent money on the passage Rubio’s 2013 immigration bill that would have shattered the nation’s record high immigration rates.
As Open Secrets documents: “Clients lobbying for S.744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act” included: FWD.us, which is Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration lobbying group, and the Partnership for a New American Economy, which is co-chaired by Murdoch. Similarly, The Wall Street Journal has a long history of pushing for open borders policies. In 1984, the WSJ editorial board wrote: “If Washington still wants to ‘do something’ about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.”
More than 9 in 10 Republican voters oppose the immigration policies ushed by Murdoch, Zuckerberg and The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, only 11 percent of GOP voters think so-called “free trade” deals will improve wages – and yet Rubio was also not asked last night about his statement that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be a ‘pillar’ of his presidency.
As Ann Coulter tweeted at the end of the debate: “Looks like this will be the 4th straight debate where Rubio is not asked about his support [for] TPP or Gang of 8– the donor class’s 2 top issues.”