Politics & Government

Out of bounds! Thompson swipes at rivals' immigration stance

Throw the flag against: Fred Thompson.

Call: Illegal substitution

What happened: Thompson criticized his "so-called top-tier" rivals for the GOP nomination for allegedly supporting the Senate immigration law overhaul that was rejected this year, a bill that many conservatives said would amount to amnesty.

Why that's wrong: Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani — both top-tier GOP candidates — went on record against this year's version of the immigration bill, which was advocated by a fourth presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Thompson says his criticism is based on comments from Romney and Giuliani in 2006; they ranged from ambiguous to supportive of that year's version of the bill. A Senate Republican Policy Committee analysis characterized the 2006 and 2007 versions as "essentially the same bill."

Penalty: Thompson's criticism is sloppy at best. There's ample material to argue that Giuliani as New York mayor or Romney as governor of Massachusetts went "soft" on illegal immigrants, or had a finger to the wind in the recent immigration debates in Congress. But Thompson's inaccurate shortcut hurts his credibility. Penalize him 5 yards.

By Margaret Talev