Romney appeared to back a modified version of the DREAM Act that would include a path to permanent residency – not a special path to citizenship – for DREAMers. The Republican candidate has voiced support for such a proposal for youth who join the military. But tonight, he used even more general language.
"The kids of those that came here illegally, those kids, I think, should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the United States and military service, for instance, is one way they would have that kind of pathway to become a permanent resident," he said.
But again, Obama resurfaced Romney's past position on the DREAM Act: That he would veto the current version.
"Governor Romney just said he wants to help those young people too, but during the Republican primary, he said, 'I will veto the DREAM Act,'" Obama said. "It's very hard for Republicans in Congress to support comprehensive immigration reform; if their standard bearer has said that, this is not something I'm interested in supporting."
At the end of the day, Romney was at his strongest when holding Obama accountable for his promise that he would bring up a comprehensive immigration reform bill in his first year.
But time and again, Obama was able to diffuse Romney's arguments. Essentially the president constantly asked Romney this: How could you criticize me for not passing policies that you do not support?
That line of argument made Romney's tightrope walk tough to pull off.