Sunday night's Univision debate proved two important points. First, Republicans can sound moderate on immigration when they feel like it without technically changing their positions. And second, the GOP field can indeed sustain a discussion when Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., isn't present. It was a kinder, gentler GOP field on the hot-button issue of the race. "Republican presidential candidates tempered their tough talk on illegal immigration and praised the Hispanic community's family values as they sought to stem the exodus of Hispanic voters from their party during the first debate of the GOP campaign to be broadcast in Spanish," The Boston Globe's Michael Levenson writes.
The candidates "largely avoided the sharp-edged attacks that have marked their recent forums," Politico's Jonathan Martin writes. "Instead, they used their first-ever Spanish language debate to walk a delicate line, trying to appeal to the largest minority group in the country without offending a Republican base deeply concerned about illegal immigration."
We'll see if Giuliani hears about this (apparent) clarification in his position: "Giuliani's position requires that illegal immigrants be identified, be given tamper-proof identification cards, and wait in line behind immigrants attempting to come to the country legally -- but allows a path to citizenship without leaving the United States," ABC's Bret Hovell, Matt Stuart, and Kevin Chupka report.
The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan provides the write-up that rival camps will be sending around on Monday: "Sen. John McCain and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani stood alone among the Republican presidential candidates in last night's Spanish-language debate in calling for some illegal aliens to be granted a path to citizenship," he writes.
Ryan Lizza looks at immigration in the GOP race in The New Yorker. "The emergence of Trancredoism as an ideological touchstone for two Republican front-runners is a stunning development, another indication of the Party's rejection of nearly everything associated with the approach taken by George W. Bush," he writes.
And Lizza gets a steaming McCain very, very close to saying something very, very interesting: " 'Both [Romney] and Rudy had the same position I did. In fact, Rudy was even more liberal. But, look, if that -- ' He paused and shrugged. 'I don't want to be President that bad.' "
ABC's Ron Claiborne puts together the "perfect storm" that would allow McCain, R-Ariz., to rise again. "A Romney loss in Iowa could open the door in New Hampshire for McCain," Claiborne writes. "While McCain's prominent support of the doomed immigration bill hurts him, he is also the rare Republican to talk about the issue of climate change -- a big deal to many in New Hampshire -- and the liability of his early support for the troop surge in Iraq has turned into an asset now that it seems to be succeeding."
Former senator John Edwards, D-N.C., sees "America Rising" in his latest campaign pitch, a sort of second stage of "Two Americas." "The very wealthiest and most powerful have manipulated our government for their own ends," Edwards plans to say Monday in Iowa, as he launches an eight-day bus tour, per his campaign. "They use their wealth and their power to keep themselves wealthy and powerful at the expense of everyone else. And when they do that, they're holding America back."