Mitt Romney offered a softer tone on immigration and a glimpse of his ideas for overhauling the federal income tax during a pair of interviews in advance of Wednesday's debate versus President Barack Obama.
With polls showing Latinos overwhelmingly back Obama, the Republican said he would honor visas granted to most illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children under a program that Obama launched in June.
Romney's remarks to the Denver Post mark the first time he has taken a position on Obama's order halting deportations of such young people. They also contrast sharply with the tough rhetoric that Romney used on illegal immigration when he was seeking the support of conservatives in the Republican primaries.
Until the interview, Romney had refused to say whether he would halt Obama's program, calling instead for an undefined "permanent solution" on illegal immigration to be worked out with Congress and criticizing Obama for failing to reach one.
"The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid," Romney told the Denver Post on Monday. "I'm not going to take something that they've purchased. Before those visas have expired, we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed."
Gabriela Domenzain, the Obama campaign's director of Hispanic press, released a statement saying Romney's "latest immigration pivot raises more questions than it answers."
"He still has not said whether he would continue the administration's policy that provides a temporary reprieve from deportation for young people who were brought here through no fault of their own," she said.
In another interview, Romney laid out a possible scenario for paying for proposal to cut all income tax rates by 20 percent.
"As an option you could say everybody's going to get up to a $17,000 deduction; and you could use your charitable deduction, your home mortgage deduction, or others -- your health care deduction, and you can fill that bucket, if you will, that $17,000 bucket that way," Romney said. "And higher income people might have a lower number," Romney told Denver TV station KDVR.