Usually, there is lots of formality and protocol when a president steps off Airforce One and walks onto a tarmac. But, yesterday, when President Obama landed at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, he was greeted by Gov. Jan Brewer and very quickly the welcome turned into a serious and tense discussion.
Maybe you've never heard of Kris Kobach. To hear some immigration advocacy groups tell it, however, Kobach is going to cost Mitt Romney the Hispanic vote and — should Romney become the Republican nominee — the election.
Kobach is serving as the Kansas secretary of state. He remains better known in some quarters for his work as an adviser to legislators around the country drafting immigration laws — including the 2010 Arizona law that is being reviewed by the Supreme Court this spring.
Mitt Romney hasn't had a lot of good news lately but he did get some positive information Wednesday — a new Univision/ABC News poll gives him a significant lead over Newt Gingrich among Florida Latinos less than a week before the Florida Republican primary.
The survey found that 35 percent of respondents said they would vote for Romney while 21 percent said Gingrich was their choice. Rep. Ron Paul was at six percent and Rick Santorum at seven percent.
The issue of immigration, which barely simmered during the first three Republican presidential contests, could reach a boil now that the candidates have arrived in Florida for the state's Jan. 31 primary.
Florida, with its large and influential Latino population, provides the earliest gauge of the difficulty facing any eventual GOP nominee in courting Hispanic voters, who increasingly view Republicans' rhetoric about immigration as anti-Hispanic.
With Newt Gingrich beating Mitt Romney in South Carolina as soundly as the Johnny Rebels in 1861 thrashed the Billy Yanks at Bull Run (or the First Battle of Manassas, depending on your view), the Republican presidential nomination contest marches southward to Florida.
There in the Sunshine State, the campaign promises to be an even more hard- fought affair than in South Carolina, with both candidates battling for their party's conservative soul by out-righting each other.