In a roundtable session for selected members of the US Latino media this week, President Obama acknowledged that the current tone of recent GOP debates is helping the President's 2012 reelection bid.
As reported on Univision News, President Obama discussed how best he could win the Latino vote next year. Even with unprecendented support for his 2008 victory from US Latinos, the President has lost some of the Latino electoral love the last few years, especially in the area of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). President Obama had promised in 2008 that he would make CIR a top priority of his Administration. Currently, the idea of a new CIR law passing in Congress is but a pipe dream.
Add to the fact that current GOP candidates won't even mention CIR at the risk of being labeled a "Amnestyialist" and their immigration rhetoric has turned off many Latino voters who were seriously looking for an alternative to President Obama, it is clear that the US Latino vote is still very much up for grabs—so much so, that this growing group could be the difference maker in 2012.
“I don’t think it requires us to go negative in the sense of us running a bunch of ads that are false, or character assassinations,” Obama told Univision News. “It will be based on facts … We may just run clips of the Republican debates verbatim. We won’t even comment on them, we’ll just run those in a loop on Univision and Telemundo, and people can make up their own minds.”
Obama's comments seem a bit strange to us, since it speaks to a lack of understanding of the complex US Latino vote. The President showed a little lack of education when it comes to US Latinos, so we would like to offer him a few points:
- Latinos actually watch other channels besides Univision and Telemundo. They actually watch English-language shows and read English-language newspapers, too. In fact, you would think the President would kind of gotten that, given the fact that Univision News is Univision's English-language news site.
- Replace "Univision and Telemundo" with "BET" and replace Obama with, well, any GOP candidate. Do you think a comment like that would not have been pounced upon by the mainstream media for its suggestion of being stereotypical and insensitive? Why does the President not face the same criticism?
So, Mr. President, we understand what you were trying to say, but the next time, remember that of the estimated 54 million US Latinos, not all of us speak Spanish, not all of us are bilingual, and not all of us speak English. It might be better to remind yourself that the US Latino is complex and not monolithic. Kind of like the rest of the United States.