Rupert Murdoch has not been very nice to Mitt Romney on Twitter lately, and thanks to some reporting from Politico's Maggie Haberman, we now know why: The candidate did not impress the media mogul with his inflexibility on immigration. The pair met last Thursday at Romney's appearance before a "private group of potential supporters and business and media elites" that included Univision CEO Randy Falco, according to Haberman. Romney apparently told Murdoch he didn't want to be a "flip flopper" on immigration (a Murdoch pet issue), which didn't instill Murdoch's confidence in his ability to win.
Murdoch's initial tweet, critical of Romney's chances and his team, appeared to come from left field Sunday:
Met Romney last week. Tough O Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful.— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) July 1, 2012
It obviously upset the Romney team, which Murdoch acknowledged on Monday:
Romney people upset at me! Of course I want him to win, save us from socialism, etc but should listen to good advice and get stuck in!— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) July 2, 2012
But while Murdoch went back and forth with his followers over Romney's strengths and weaknesses as a candidate, the substance of his criticism was still vague. Until Monday, that is, when Haberman tracked down some of Murdoch's fellow attendees. She discovered that at the appearance, Falco had questioned Romney about his distance from Hispanic voters, pointing out that Barack Obama had appeared on Univision more than he had, and saying Romney should have addressed Obama's recent policy change allowing some illegal immigrants to stay. Per Haberman:
Murdoch chimed in, three sources said, telling the candidate on the issue of immigration generally, "You have to take the fight to Obama on this." Romney said the Hispanic vote is important, noting he has Sen. Marco Rubio on the trail for him and that one of his own sons speaks Spanish, but indicated he is not going to change positions from some of what he said in the primaries.
"I know I took some positions in the primary that are" hard to contend with in a general, Romney said, according to two sources.
"I am not going to be a flip-flopper," he added, according to one guest. He talked more about the various concerns that he has to balance in terms of competing constituencies who have different views — and noted, two sources said, the precise percentage that Hispanic voters make up in the swing states, a figure that was less than 20 percent.
Romney's team might be upset, as Murdoch says, but they shouldn't be surprised. Even before the Thursday meeting, Murdoch was criticizing Romney for failing to connect with Hispanic voters: "When is Romney going to look like a challenger?Seems to play everything safe, make no news except burn off Hispanics," Murdoch tweeted on June 24. That is not the sort of thing we'd expect from a mogul who's been won over.