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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio's threat about Obama and immigration only upsets some conservatives



Marco Rubio can't win.

The Florida senator made news this week for telling a Tallahassee radio host that if Republicans don't act on immigration, President Obama will.

"We can't leave it, in my mind, the way it is," Rubio told WFLA’s Preston Scott. "Because I think a year from now we could find ourselves with all 11 million people here legally under executive order from the president, but no E-Verify, no more border security, no more border agents, none of the other reforms that we desperately need."

But the Obama threat hasn’t stopped some of Rubio’s conservative detractors, still angry with him for his role in immigration reform.

“He’s dug himself into a hole and he can’t get himself out,” Michelle Malkin said Thursday on Fox & Friends. “So he has resorted to rather desperate, silly, and may I add craven rationales for sticking with his disaster. To argue to conservatives who believe in limited government that we should pass this massive amnesty monstrosity because Obama is going to do it anyway smacks of the worst kind of political expedience. I think that Marco Rubio’s higher ambitions have clouded his brain.”

A host interjected, “But Michelle, he is right, though.” Malkin continued to rip Rubio. (Video here)

A piece on RedState likened Rubio’s argument to “a terrible checkmate in which the American people are left with no choice but to start passing citizenship papers around.”

Rubio was never going to win over these critics but the backlash he's faced -- and the moves he's taking to repair his image with the right -- is evidence the hard right remains a force in the GOP.

Obama did use the power of his office to grant temporary legal status to Dreamers, so Rubio's suggestion has some precedence, but he's come out against similar steps for the broader population of illegal immigrants, insisting Congress needs to act.

[Last modified: Friday, August 16, 2013 2:49pm]


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