With essentially no competition from fellow Republican candidates since the folding of the Santorum campaign, Mitt Romney is now walking a fine line closer to the center as he sees Obama as the candidate he must beat in November’s elections.
Romney has stated his support for an extension on the low-interest rates of a certain student loan, a liberal position which Obama has so far refused to embrace. At present the interest rates are due to double on July 1st, from a comfortable 3.4 percent to a lofty 6.8 percent on a student loan which is popular among low to middle-income undergraduates.
“I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students,”
Romney said Monday, right before five states hold their primaries. Romney did not explain how the extension on the low interest rate will be paid for, or how long the extension will last. He said he is in favor of the extension because of “extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market.”
Taking a more conservative view on the issue of illegal immigrants, Romney said he does not support a bill proposed by Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio which allows young illegal immigrants to stay in the US to work and/or study while they work on obtaining their citizenship. Although Romney said while in South Carolina for the primary there that illegal immigrants should go back to their countries of origin and get into line to await their eligibility for US citizenship, he also said that Rubio’s still-evolving law has some positive aspects, and that his campaign will “study the issue.”
These two policy stands by Romney are illustrative of the kind of maneuvering he will have to do to compete with Obama for the presidency. Since the more liberal and more conservative votes are most likely accounted for, it is the sticky middle where the battle for the votes will take place. Somehow Romney will need to bring Hispanics, women and the young into his camp, the camp that gave Obama his stunning victory in 2008.
“I think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they’re really thinking of what’s in the best interest of the country and what’s in their personal best interest,”
Romney said while sharing the podium with Marco Rubio during his campaign in Pennsylvania.