Topeka President Barack Obama didn't mention Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach by name in last night's presidential debate, but Obama alluded to Kobach, and not in a positive way.
During a back-and-forth with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over the issue of immigration, Obama said Romney supported the Arizona law that includes the "show me your papers" requirement that police check suspects' immigration status.
Romney said he agreed with the part of the Arizona law that requires employers verify through a federal database whether someone is authorized to work in the United States.
"I did not say that the Arizona law was a model for the nation in that aspect. I said that the E-Verify portion of the Arizona law, which is -- which is the portion of the law which says that employers could be able to determine whether someone is here illegally or not illegally, that that was a model for the nation," Romney said.
Obama responded that Romney's top advisor on immigration issues designed the Arizona law. That is Kobach, a Republican who has worked with state and local governments across the country to draw up stringent anti-illegal immigration measures.
"Governor Romney says he wasn't referring to Arizona as a model for the nation. His top adviser on immigration is the guy who designed the Arizona law, the entirety of it; not E-Verify, the whole thing. That's his policy. And it's a bad policy. And it won't help us grow," Obama said.
In January, during the Republican Party primaries, Romney praised Kobach after he endorsed the former Massachusetts governor.
"I'm so proud to earn Kris's support. Kris has been a true leader on securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into this country. We need more conservative leaders like Kris willing to stand up for the rule of law," Romney said.
In September, however, after winning the GOP nomination, Romney said in an interview with Univision America Radio, that he had never met Kobach and his campaign described Kobach as an "informal adviser." Later, the Romney campaign said Romney and Kobach had met but not in formal policy meetings.