Throw the flag against: Mitt Romney
Call: False start.
What happened: Romney bragged Wednesday morning about his efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants while he was the governor of Massachusetts from 2003 through last January. Among his claims in an interview on MSNBC: "I also empowered our State Police to enforce federal laws."
Why that's out of bounds: Technically, Romney is correct. He did give state troopers the power to arrest illegal aliens on immigration charges — but not until Dec. 13, 2006, about three weeks before he left office. His spokesmen argue that he realized only in the summer of 2006 that such authority was available, and it took time to get everything in place.
A few days after taking office last January, Gov. Deval Patrick rescinded the order, saying that state troopers were busy enough without having to enforce federal laws as well.
Romney failed to explain that his action had no impact on the state's illegal immigrant population. No one was arrested under his edict; Patrick told a news conference last January that the troopers hadn't even started their training sessions.
Penalty: Penalize Romney's credibility 5 yards for overstating the facts.
_ By David Lightman
Romney discussing his immigration record on MSNBC's "Morning Joe": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOJDUCM3_Og