Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gutierrez huddles with Rubio, Ryan on immigration reform

Lynn Sweet reports on an intriguing and potentially massive alliance.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is quietly building bridges with two key Republicans who may run for president in 2016 -- Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan -- to forge bipartisan immigration reform legislation.

I've learned that Gutierrez met Thursday with Rubio, the Florida Republican -- and son of Cuban immigrants -- in his Senate office here. On Dec. 12, Gutierrez huddled with Ryan -- the Wisconsin Republican who was Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate -- at his House office.

"What we did was just kind of catch up," Gutierrez told me. Ryan and Gutierrez decided they want to "explore opportunities to work together." Gutierrez, one of the House leaders on immigration issues -- who has kept constant pressure on President Barack Obama to do more -- is crossing the aisle as Republicans need very much to woo the fast growing number of Hispanic voters -- who in large part rejected the Romney/Ryan ticket.

After the election, Gutierrez saw Ryan at the House gym and suggested they get together. Gutierrez did not pump iron with Ryan, who has an intense workout regime. "I was going to the less physical, less ardous workout," Gutierrez told me.

Despite campaigning against Ryan, Gutierrez has a personal relationship with him and when it comes to immigration, Gutierrez says Ryan "wants to do the right thing."

That Romney talked about "self-deportation" -- and Ryan was part of that ticket -- is not an issue for Gutierrez.

[Hat tip: Felicia Sonmez]