What do President Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) have in common other than running for president in 2012?
They both received Fs on a report card issued by NumbersUSA, an anti-immigration lobby group.
Obama received an F- while Paul and two other Republican presidential hopefuls – Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum – got straight-up Fs. Republicans Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin each received a D-, and Mitt Romney eked out a solid D.
Tim Pawlenty received a C+ and Michele Bachmann scored a B-.
Out of 12 categories, Bachmann received an “excellent” score for her opposition to amnesty, support of E-verify, support for finishing the fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, increasing armed border personnel, advocacy for state and local enforcement, and opposition to birthright citizenship.
Obama, the only Democratic presidential candidate with a report card, had “abysmal” marks in four categories – with “abysmal” being the lowest of ratings.
Roy Beck, founder and CEO of NumbersUSA, noted that Paul’s congressional career grade was a B.
North Carolina Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler was the only Democrat to score an A. Another Baptist member of the Democratic delegation from North Carolina – Larry Kissell – had a B. Most Democrats in the House of Representatives had failing grades – grades of D and F.
Only four House Republicans had failing grades, although many fell into a category identified as “failed to act.” Many were A students.
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The New American magazine, a publication of the John Birch Society, came to Paul’s defense.
The magazine pointed out that Paul favored more border guards and opposed birthright citizenship – a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
Dave Nalle, chair of Republican Liberty Caucus, accused NumbersUSA of a “gratuitous slam” against Paul.
“Admittedly, NumbersUSA is a hardcore nativist and protectionist group who I suspect would secretly like to round up all non-white people and deport them even if they are citizens,” wrote Nalle. “That’s still no excuse for grossly misrepresenting Dr. Paul’s record.”
He wrote, “Paul should probably rate about a D on NumbersUSA’s rankings if they were being fair, but I’m glad he doesn’t rank any higher than that.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identified NumbersUSA as part of the “nativist lobby in America,” which played a key role “in derailing bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform” in 2007.
Mark Potok, a senior program staff member at SPLC, has written about NumbersUSA, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).
“Today, these organizations are frequently treated as if they were legitimate, mainstream commentators on immigration,” Potok said. “But the truth is that they were all conceived and birthed by a man who sees America under threat by non-white immigrants. And they have never strayed far from their roots.”