By Chris McClure
Executive Director, North Carolina Republican Party
What was Barack Obama thinking wading into the N.C. debate surrounding illegal immigrants and community colleges?
Although Obama has been content to phone it in on the financial crisis and the legislation being discussed on Capitol Hill, polls currently show he is getting all of the credit and none of the blame for the problems we are facing. (In the "worst financial crisis of our lifetimes," Obama wants us to know he can be contacted by cell phone if needed. Very reassuring.) Despite the fact that Obama and Democrats in Congress were the ones who blocked the reforms needed to avoid this crisis when Senator Dole and Senator McCain fought for more regulation on companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, now Democrats want credit as saviors of the economy and they are receiving it. Obama's poll numbers are skyrocketing in N.C. and across the country.
And then he had to open his mouth.
Obama is clearly on the wrong side of the debate about illegal immigrants being admitted to North Carolina's community colleges. Not only does his position completely ignore the rule of law and fail to consider that these students once educated would still not be allowed to work in N.C., it also clearly sticks a finger in the eye of the vast majority of North Carolina voters. An August Civitas poll found that 71% of voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports allowing illegal immigrants to enroll in North Carolina's community colleges.
This is a serious political mistake at a pivotal time in a crucial state for the Obama campaign. The more people know Obama's position on this issue, the less likely they will be to vote for him.
The only question that remains is what N.C. Democrats will follow Obama's lead on the issue. Beverly Perdue and Kay Hagan, in particular, have tried to tie themselves to the Obama campaign. Do they support or oppose Barack Obama on this?
Memo to reporters: Time to start asking questions.