John McCain escalated his war of words with Mitt Romney, ripping his rival for flip-flopping on the immigration issue.
Asked by Ryan Sager Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson using the immigration issue against him, McCain said he was “disappointed” in Thompson, but reserved his harshest comments for Romney.
“In the case of Governor Romney, maybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it changes, because it’s changed in less than a year from his position a year before, and maybe his solution will be to get out his small varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his lawn.”
Romney, of course, once called a similar McCain proposal “quite different” from amnesty, and now says the current legislation is amnesty.
With that said, I think this rhetorical battle is a win for Romney, because it cements Romney’s status in the top tier of candidates: McCain wouldn’t waste his time ripping Huckabee. It’s also interesting that Rudy Giuliani remains largely immune from this infighting. Some of that, I think, is based on a mistaken belief in the McCain and Romney camps that Rudy will implode by himself so they really need to worry about each other. But a lot of it is by design–a result of Giuliani staying above the fray and avoiding taking shots at his rivals, something which he has the luxury to do as the frontrunner. That may be one reason why he hasn’t come out with a clear position on whether he supports or opposes the current legislation.