In a rather blatant "Etch A Sketch" moment, the Romney campaign yesterday tried to distance the presumptive Republican nominee from Kris Kobach, the architect of harsh, right-wing immigration measures and a leading Romney advisor on immigration policy.
It seemed like an odd move. Kobach has, after all, boasted several times about taking a leading role with Team Romney, advising the former governor "directly" on immigration.
Now it appears Kobach is taking additional steps to make clear that he's still an influential Romney insider. For example, consider what he told the conservative National Review.
"Nothing's changed," Kobach says. "I just got off the phone with the senior officials in the Romney campaign and they confirmed nothing's changed, I'm still an informal adviser in the sense that I regularly provide policy advice to the Romney team. The governor takes my advice, and does what he wants with it."
"This is probably an interesting little example of the kind of the games that the Obama team will play," he added, "that is, they'll try to goad someone on the Romney team into saying something that semantically can be twisted into a change of position, and then they'll accuse the candidate of changing position, when in fact nothing's changed."
He told Greg Sargent the same thing today.
Asked to explain the discrepancy, Kobach confirmed to me that the Romney campaign had privately assured him that his status is unchanged. "I'm still providing policy advice on immigration to the governor and his team," Kobach told me. "I spoke with them yesterday afternoon, and they confirmed that nothing has changed."
Without an inside perspective, it's hard to say if Kobach is sincere or whether this is a way of him making clear to the Romney campaign, through the press, "I won't go away quietly, so don't try to get rid of me."
On a substantive note, Kobach also told Greg that he doesn't believe Romney, or anyone else in the party, would accept any version of the DREAM Act that offers undocumented immigrants any kind of path to legal status.
This matters, of course, because Romney has endorsed the creation of a "Republican DREAM Act," which Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is reportedly working on.
The alienation of Latino voters from the GOP continues.