Hayes and panel: Marco Rubio will likely face right-wing backlash

By David Ferguson
Saturday, February 2, 2013 13:18 EDT
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Chris Hayes via sreencap
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Saturday morning on MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes,” host Chris Hayes and panelists discussed the political prospects of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who some see as a top contender for the Republican Party’s hopes in 2016. Panelists Aaron Pena of the Hispanic Republican Caucus of Texas and Lorella Praeli of the United We Dream Network joined Hayes to look at recent reactions by some on the right to Rubio’s immigration proposals, which would give 11 million people currently in the U.S. a path to citizenship.

Hayes asked Pena if he believes that Rubio is going to be able to position himself as contender for 2016, to which Pena replied, “Well, that’s really the question. He’s in a tough spot.”

Republicans have used immigration as a wedge issue, he said. And now the party is having to come to terms with the fact that it has alienated a large swath of the voting public. Rubio, he said, “is trying to bridge both worlds, which is a very difficult spot for him.”

Rubio revealed his immigration plan on Monday with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at his side. A few days later, RedState.com editor and erstwhile CNN contributor Erick Erickson wrote a post entitled, “I don’t like Marco Rubio’s plan,” but Hayes noted that Erickson was treading lightly, for fear of damaging the aura around Rubio.

Jim Antle of the conservative blog The Daily Caller and former Obama administration Labor Secretary Hilda Solis agreed that if Rubio sees the discussion moving “too far to the left,” he could leave negotiations saying that he at least tried to make progress on the issue. Solis pointed out that one of the people flanking Rubio from the right is Cuban-American Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Praeli said that with the kind of partisan gridlock in Congress right now, “It’s going to be like hell trying to get anything through that House.”

Hayes asked Pena where he feels Texas Republicans are on the issue of immigration reform.

“Texas Republicans are where Ted Cruz is,” he said, meaning that if Rubio wants to win over that coalition to a comprehensive immigration plan, he has his work cut out for him. Pena expects that in the end, moderate and right wing Republicans will arrive at a “negotiated solution” where each side has to give a little to get what it wants.

Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below:

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David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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