Bob's blog: Immigration debate heats up

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On the campaign trail this week Mitt Romney seemed to soften his views on immigration a bit. He told the National Association of Latino Elected Officials just about what he told me last Sunday when I asked him if he'd repeal the president's recent executive order - he said, "The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President's temporary measure." I'll be watching to see what Latino voters think of his new tone.

Latino voters will play a big part in this election, and immigration is of course a big issue for that community. But as Romney pointed out in that same speech, the economy is also a big issue, and the bad economy has hit Hispanics hard. Hispanic unemployment is at 11%.

That number, and the general unemployment rate come September is what I really think is going to decide this election. It won't be one voter bloc or another, or one state over a different state, it will be a bunch of Americans who head to the polls with an opinion about how the economy is doing that will decide the election.

On Sunday I'll be talking with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He hit the campaign trail with Romney on his bus tour last weekend, and this week there's been a lot of speculation that he's atop Romney's list of possible running mates. He's also attending a private Romney campaign retreat in Utah this weekend along with many other Republican notables and big time donors to the Romney campaign and Republican party.

I'll also talk with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a former candidate himself, and Los Angles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa about immigration. During the primaries Perry presented some relatively moderate immigration plans. What does he think of Mitt Romney's ideas - is he more supportive now that he's not running against Romney? And Mayor Villaraigosa was one of the president's key pitchmen to the Latino community in 2008. What's the Obama team's strategy for winning with that group again?

We'll turn to top advisers for each campaign for more on all that, too. Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and Eric Fehrnstrom, one of Mitt Romney's closest advisers, will talk about all the latest news on the campaign trail.

Finally we've got a great panel to talk about all of this and more. TIME Magazine's Joe Klein's returning from a three week road trip where he traveled up the East Coast from North Carolina, across the Rust Belt and winding up in Minnesota where he talked to voters and politicians and everyone in between. What did he learn out there? The Washington Post's Dan Balz, CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell and CBS News Political director John Dickerson will join him, too.

I hope you join me on Sunday morning. Check your local listings for airtimes. 

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