Romney Looks to Make Inroads with Latinos in DC Speech
(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney will speak to the Latino Coalition’s annual economic summit in the nation's capital Wednesday afternoon, the latest attempt by the presumptive Republican nominee to make inroads into the country’s fastest-growing voting bloc.
He’s got his work cut out for him. The latest polls show Romney trailing far behind President Obama among Latino voters. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken earlier this spring, 73 percent of Latinos supported Obama compared with 26 percent for Romney. If Obama can get Latinos to head to the polls in droves and back him by that type of margin, the White House will almost definitely be his for another four years.
Even members of his own party acknowledge that Romney faces an uphill battle with Latinos. Only months after he mentioned New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, as a possible running mate, Martinez said Latinos “have been alienated” over the course of the GOP campaign this past year, even taking aim at Romney’s immigration policy of “self-deportation.”
”Self-deport? What the heck does that mean?” Martinez told Newsweek. “I have no doubt Hispanics have been alienated during this campaign. But now there’s an opportunity for Gov. Romney to have a sincere conversation about what we can do and why.”
Whether or not Romney will seize that opportunity after doing so much damage to his standing with Latinos during the primary is a real question. The former Massachusetts governor vowed to veto the Dream Act, praised Arizona’s controversial new anti-immigrant law and touted the endorsement of controversial activist Kris Kobach.
If Romney cannot boost his standing among Latinos to around 40 percent support, then according to Republican strategist Ana Navarro, “he can kiss the White House goodbye.”
Wednesday’s speech, scheduled for noon, could help. So too could the attack dog work of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a possible VP pick for Romney, who has aggressively gone after Obama in recent weeks.
Rubio is expected to hammer Obama’s record when he addresses the Latino Coalition hours after Romney.
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