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Reid misquotes Romney to make immigration attack

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has become the chief attack dog against his co-religionist Mitt Romney, but on Wednesday that attack went even further when his official Senate office released a statement that attributed a quote to Mr. Romney, even though he said the exact opposite.

Mr. Reid’s release quoted the Republican presidential nominee’s staff as telling the Boston Globe that Mr. Romney would “not honor deportation exemptions” that President Obama has granted under his new non-deportation policy.

But that phrase doesn’t appear in the Globe’s article. In fact the newspaper said Mr. Romney’s staff specifically “said he would honor deportation exemptions issued by the Obama administration before his inauguration,” thought the staffers said a Romney administration wouldn’t issue any new exemptions itself.

On Thursday afternoon Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, emailed saying the release was mistaken.

“There was a typo in the background header of the release that has been corrected. Everything Senator Reid says in the statement is true. I am surprised your paper deemed a typo worthy of an entire story but I suppose that’s not my place to judge,” Mr. Jentleson said.

The version of the release on Mr. Reid’s web site has been updated to delete the quotation marks from around the phrase, though the words themselves remain.

The Nevada Democrat, who is a Mormon, has been harsh in his criticism of Mr. Romney, including telling reporters last week he agreed with a blogger who said Mr. Romney had “sullied the religion” that they share.

Earlier in the campaign season Mr. Reid had said someone with ties to ROmney had told him the former Massachusetts governor wouldn’t release his tax returns is because he didn’t pay taxes in some years.

Mr. Romney still hasn’t released those back years of tax forms, but did produce a summary document of his taxes signed by his accountant saying he paid taxes every year.

The non-deportation policy has been a major issue for both Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama ever since the president announced it in June. The policy would grant tentative legal status to illegal immigrants 30 and under who have been in the U.S. since age 16, who have attended school and who don’t have major criminal records.

Until this week Mr. Romney had repeatedly declined to say whether he would leave that policy in place. But in an interview with the Denver Post he said he would not cancel any of the two-year stays of deportation Mr. Obama authorized, and said he would use that two-year grace period to work on a broader immigration bill.

Here’s the entire Reid statement below:

REID STATEMENT ON ROMNEY’S VOW TO END RELIEF FOR DREAMERS IF HE IS SWORN IN

Washington, D.C. — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement after Governor Romney clarified his position on the Administration’s deferred action policy toward DREAMers. Romney staff told the Boston Globe he would “not honor deportation exemptions” for DREAMers if he takes office.

“Governor Romney has set an unfortunate deadline for hundreds of thousands of DREAMers: get approval under President Obama’s deferred action before inauguration, or risk being deported if Romney is sworn in. It’s hard to understand why he thinks that deporting hundreds of thousands of hard-working young people, who were brought as children to this country through no fault of their own, is good for the only nation they know and love. It is clear that Kris Kobach, the architect of Arizona’s unconstitutional and anti-immigrant law, is firmly dictating Romney’s extreme immigration policy, even when most Americans feel it’s the wrong approach.

“President Obama’s decision to lift the shadow of deportation for these young people is not only common-sense policy, but it also reflects our values as a nation of immigrants that cherishes hard work and love of country. Once again, Governor Romney has proven to be out of touch with the nation in which he lives.”

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