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Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

President Obama's move Friday to grant immunity and temporary legal status to some young undocumented immigrants is putting his rival Mitt Romney in an irreconcilable predicament between Latinos and his immigration-weary conservative base.

Appearing Sunday on CBS' "Face The Nation," Romney three separate times declined to say whether he'd reverse Obama's decision if elected president.

"What I would do, is I'd make sure that by coming into office, I would work with Congress to put in place a long-term solution for the children of those that have come here illegally," Romney said. "My anticipation is I'd come into office and say we need to get this done, on a long-term basis, not this kind of stop-gap measure." He refrained from getting specific.

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Rick Santorum said Sunday that his candidate Mitt Romney is trying to strike a delicate balance on immigration in order to avoid alienating Hispanics.

"No, he's trying to walk the line. And look, I understand that," Santorum said on CNN's "State of the Union." "He's trying to walk the line so as not to sound like he's hostile to Latinos -- and swing [voters] in very important states."

Staking out policy positions on the basis of raw political calculus is common for candidates. But the willingness of Santorum -- a Romney surrogate, albeit a reluctant one -- to openly concede that is noteworthy as campaigns rarely, if ever, publicly admit that they temper their issue stances on the basis of political considerations.

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Appearing Sunday on CBS' "Face The Nation," Mitt Romney stuck by his primary-era vow to reject a 10:1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases to tame the deficit.

His exchange with Bob Scheiffer:

SCHIEFFER: You were one of the vast majority of Republicans to signed the pledge circulated by the leading anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, no new taxes under any circumstances. And I remember once back during one of the primaries, you were asked if you would agree to $1 in taxes if you could get $10 cut in spending cuts, and you said at that time, no, I wouldn’t even accept that. Do you still feel that way?

ROMNEY: Well, we all felt that way. And the reason is that government, at all levels today, consumes about 37% of our economy.

SCHIEFFER: But do you still feel ...

ROMNEY: Let me go on and explain. The answer is I do feel that way. Government is big and getting larger, and there are those who think the answer is just to take a little more from the American people, just give us a little more. and there are places that have gone that way– California, for instance, keeps raising taxes more and more and more. and funny thing, the more they raise in taxes, deficits get larger and larger. The only solution to taming an out-of-control spending government is to cut spending and my policies reduce the rate of spending. ... That's the way that we're going to balance our budget: getting people back to work with rising incomes again.

Watch the video, via ThinkProgress

Rodney King was found dead on Sunday at 47, according to CNN and ABC News.

In 1991, police were caught on video tape beating King, and their subsequent acquittal lead to the riots in Los Angeles.

Mitt Romney on Sunday declined say whether he would reverse President Obama's decision to grant immunity to some undocumented immigrants if elected president.

Pressed three times on CBS' "Face The Nation" by Bob Scheiffer, he criticized the procedural aspect of Obama's move but ducked the substance.

"This is something Congress has been working on, and I thought we were about to see some proposals brought forward by Senator Marco Rubio and by Democrat senators, but the President jumped in and said I'm going to take this action," Romney said. "... He was president for the last three and a half years and did nothing on immigration. Two years he had a Democrat House and Senate, did nothing of a permanent or long-term basis. What I would do, is I'd make sure that by coming into office, I would work with Congress to put in place a long-term solution for the children of those that have come here illegally."

White House senior adviser David Plouffe on Sunday declined to offer any hints on how it would respond if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act later this month.

"I'm not going to get into any contingencies," he said on ABC's "This Week." "We obviously will be prepared for whatever decision the court renders."

House GOP Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) said Sunday that if the Supreme Court strikes down 'Obamacare' this month, Republicans would look to solve the resulting health care challenges without government mandates.

"Whatever the Court does will dictate what kind of response [we have]," he said on CSPAN. "My sense is there won't be significant disruption in the real world immediately, almost regardless of what the court does. A lot of the things that have been put in place are contracts -- so they're contracts between an employer and an insurance company, or an employee and an insurance company. And that contract -- as I understand it, the experts that we've talked to -- stands regardless of what the court does."

"Depending on what disruptions are out there [for patients, we'll] determine the best course of action," Price said.

Then he offered a hint on how he hopes to approach the challenges.

"We believe that there are wonderful solutions to fix the challenges in health care that don't require putting Washington in charge -- whether it's getting folks covered or solving the insurance challenges of portability and pre-existing [conditions], or saving hundreds of billions of dollars. We can do all those things without putting the politicians or bureaucrats here in Washington in charge."

Asked how he would pay for those fixes without an individual mandate, a problem that health policy experts often point to, Price said: "The savings -- there's so much waste in health care right now."

His remarks come as Republicans privately consider supporting some of the more popular concepts in 'Obamacare' in a potential replacement plan, if the law is overturned.

White House senior adviser David Plouffe sounded off on Mitt Romney on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

"The American people have to make a choice," Plouffe said. "[Romney] will rubber stamp the Congressional Republican agenda, which would take us back to the policies of the Great Recession, and it would do great harm to the middle class and shortchange our future."

"The president said the American people need to break the stalemate," he added.

An aide to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has been working on a scaled-back DREAM Act, tells TPM the Obama administration did not consult him ahead of its Friday announcement that it will seek to halt deportation of some young illegal immigrants and grant work visas.

The aide emails:

[W]e're looking into it. We first heard about it this morning. [T]hey didn't ask us for any input despite all the work we've done on the issue

Tensions are rising between the GOP and its conservative base as top Republican lawmakers gradually pivot in favor of some 'Obamacare' provisions.

In the latest instance, Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair Roy Blunt sparred on Twitter Thursday with Michelle Malkin after the conservative blogger wrote a post mercilessly going after him and other GOP lawmakers who have sympathized with parts of the health care law.

"These big-government Republicans show appalling indifference to the dire market disruptions and culture of dependency that Obamacare schemes have wrought," Malkin wrote. "Who needs enemies when you've got Republican Surrenderists for Obamacare waiting in the wings?"

As a Supreme Court decision looms this month, Republicans are slowly realizing that they'll be held responsible for a highly dysfunctional health care system if chunks of the law are overturned. And in recent weeks they've been creating wiggle room to support some of popular pieces of 'Obamacare' -- including the coverage guarantee for pre-existing conditions, letting young adults remain on a parent's policy until 26 and closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap -- in a potential replacement plan. Election-year concerns add to the pressure they feel.

The hedging has come from leaders like House GOP Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) to tea party darlings like Rep. Allen West (R-FL).

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), the chairman of the GOP Doctors Caucus, last week called the under-26 provision "good policy" and said his party needs to have a plan to take care of sick people if 'Obamacare' is axed. "We have to make sure that we have a program -- and we will, I can assure you we will -- to take care of these folks," he said, according to Bloomberg.

Prominent conservative groups like FreedomWorks and the Club For Growth aren't happy and are warning Republicans not to go down that road.

The right flank of the congressional GOP isn't hiding its misgivings either.

"Some would argue that maintaining mandates that have encouraged millions of young Americans to drop their existing coverage to obtain 'free' insurance through their parents is inconsistent with this objective [of improving the economy]," wrote arch-conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) on his website, arguing that "conservatives should be concerned about government mandates on the private sector."

Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee published a post on their web site warning that the under-26 provision will impose "costs and perverse incentives, both to the health system and the economy as a whole."

GOP leaders are seeking to ease the fallout by emphasizing their commitment to full repeal before they bring up a replacement plan. But the upshot of the pivot is renewed concern within the conservative base as to whether Mitt Romney -- whose signature accomplishment as Massachusetts governor was enacting a state-based version of 'Obamacare' -- will stand by his promise to repeal the federal law if elected president.

"Where does presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney stand?" Malkin wrote. "Despite repeated assurances that he will abandon Obamacare in its entirety, Romney is surrounded by GOP socialized medicine helpmates."

Adding another wrinkle into the mix Thursday was right-wing hero and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who left the door open to an individual mandate at the state level. At the libertarian Reason magazine, Peter Suderman explained what it all means.

"Walker's comments [are] yet another reminder that the basic shape of ObamaCare -- controls on the insurance market, mandatory purchase of insurance, and subsidies for private insurance delivered through government-run exchanges -- was developed by Republicans and passed as RomneyCare by the party's presidential nominee. And they show that GOP officials, a number of whom have spent the last month or so trying to reassure people that of course they don't want to throw out the good parts of ObamaCare, hasn't moved beyond those ideas except to oppose President Obama's federal version of them."

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