Former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who is running in the Democratic primary against U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC Monday. Matthews suggested the Romanoff victory here in the state assembly delegate voting Saturday reflected the anti-incumbent anti-Washington primary and special election victories earlier in the month, even though Romanoff was long predicted to win here.
“Are you an outsider?” Matthews asked. “We’re trying to figure this out?”
“I’m outside of Washington. I don’t have a lot of experience cutting deals with drug companies or insurance companies to protect their profits or big Wall Street banks.”
Matthews asked Romanoff whether he was a progressive. “I am,” replied Romanoff. “I’m the only candidate in this race who is not taking any money from special interest groups. I won’t take it after my nomination.”
Romanoff said he would have voted for the ‘cramdown’ amendment last year, pushed harder for a public option in health-care reform and also voted for the Brown-Kaufman amendment in the financial regulation bill, which failed 61-33.
Matthews turned to immigration enforcement for employers.
“Will you vote for a document that cannot be forged, cannot be faked? It has to be the person who is standing there.”
“Yes,” replied Romanoff.
Matthews: “OK So you’re for a biometric — you’re for an — you’re the first Democrat I’ve heard since Ted Kennedy, who has passed away, who’s honestly said to me they’re for outlawing illegal immigration.”
Romanoff: “I don’t know anybody who’s–”
Romanoff: “Well, I don’t know anybody who is in favor of illegal immigration. The problem is–”
Matthews: “Well, they are, because they won’t do anything on enforcement. But you’ve said so. We’ll see what kind of noise you take.”
Matthews concluded the show, “I completely agree with your views so far.”
Romanoff has taken heat for leading a special legislative session in 2006 as Speaker of the House that required proof of citizenship in the form of government-issued identification to receive certain state benefits in Colorado. The controversial law has been assailed as a precursor to Arizona’s tough SB 1070 and agencies here reported spending millions more checking identification after the law passed than they did in providing benefits before it passed. Romanoff celebrated the law as a national model for immigration legislation in 2006. He is for comprehensive federal immigration reform and told the Colorado independent this week that the 2006 law was a stop gap measure on an issue that requires national policy reform.