Tales from the Trail

Gingrich takes heat over “amnesty”

Electrified fences, predator drones and anchor babies were nowhere to be found when the subject of illegal immigration came up in the latest of a series of Republican presidential debates.

The softer, gentler tone Tuesday night at Constitution Hall was a contrast from when the White House hopefuls took on the subject at a debate in Las Vegas last month.

But there was still heat at the Washington debate — and this time Newt Gingrich got scorched by expressing a relatively moderate position on illegal immigration.

The former House Speaker opened himself up to sharp criticism from rivals in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and conservatives in general, with one word he did not even utter — “amnesty.”

As Reuters’ Steve Holland reports, the new Republican front-runner may have put himself into a box with his comments about immigration.

Perry is on for next debate… but after that?

Texas Governor Rick Perry is definitely on for the next  Republican debate  in Michigan  on Nov. 9th.  But after that — we’ll see.

Questions were raised about whether the GOP presidential hopeful would skip upcoming debates after he  suggested in an interview that participating in the previous debates  had been a mistake.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner told Reuters the governor is committed to the Michigan debate.  Miner also said  that with a little over two months before the start of the crucial early primaries the campaign plans to make the best use of its time –  perhaps taking its case directly to voters in Iowa, which kicks off  the nominating race on January 3. (There are a half dozen debates planned between now and then.)