Jeb Bush Endorses Romney: Will It Matter to US Latino Voters?

Today former Florida governor and GOP moderate Jeb Bush endorsed Mitt Romney's candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination. The Romney campaign immediately released the following statement on its website:

“Jeb Bush is synonymous with good government and with conservative policies that yield results. He has long demonstrated an outstanding ability to bring people together. I therefore take tremendous pride in having earned his endorsement. This is a key moment in the presidential contest and Jeb’s counsel and support will be critical in the coming months in my effort to defeat Barack Obama and turn around our country.”

Image Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20008631-503544.html

Bush, who actually kind of has a clue about the importance of the US Latino vote, immigration reform, and is fully bilingual to boot, issued the following statement:

“Congratulations to Governor Mitt Romney on his win last night [in Illinois] and to all the candidates for a hard fought, thoughtful debate and primary season. Primary elections have been held in thirty-four states, and now is the time for Republicans to unite behind Governor Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall.

“I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our party’s nomination. We face huge challenges, and we need a leader who understands the economy, recognizes more government regulation is not the answer, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism and works to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed.”

Chron.com also ran a response to the endorsement from Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigrant-rights group America’s Voice:

“Say it ain’t so, Jeb. It’s bad enough that Florida Republicans who have fought bravely for immigration reform, such as Mel Martinez, Carlos Gutierrez, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart, embraced and endorsed Romney. Now you, too?”

Of course, the DNC was quick to respond about Bush's endorsement, focusing on Bush's history on immigration.

In response, DNC Hispanic Caucus Chair Iris Y. Martinez released the following statement:

“Jeb Bush used to be a leader in favor of sensible immigration proposals who was willing to work with Democrats on practical solutions for Hispanic families. But today he decided to endorse a candidate who would be the most extreme presidential nominee of our time on immigration and is wrong on every matter of importance to Hispanics. In doing so, Jeb Bush has picked politics and turned his back on the Latino priorities he once sought to bolster. 

“By fully putting his weight behind Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush is endorsing his call for immigrant families to self deport, his threat to veto the DREAM Act, his attack on DREAM Act students as ‘looking for a handout,’ his plan to nationalize the extreme Arizona anti-immigrant law, his attacks on Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and his wrong-headed approach on every other issue of importance to the community. 

“Jeb Bush’s statement sends the message that it’s permissible for sensible Republican leaders to turn their backs on priorities of the Hispanic community as long as it’s politically convenient, and that it is acceptable for Republican leaders to scapegoat a group of Americans if it scores them a point with the far right. What Latinos are looking for in this election is not leadership of convenience, but of conviction – and that’s why they are looking to reelect President Obama.”

The DNC also made sure to publish a Spanish version as well:

“Jeb Bush solía ser un líder que favorecía propuestas sensatas de inmigración y estaba dispuesto a trabajar con los demócratas en soluciones prácticas para las familias hispanas. Pero hoy ha decidido respaldar a quien sería el candidato a la presidencia más extremista de nuestros tiempos en materia de inmigración y está equivocado respecto a los asuntos de importancia para los hispanos. Al hacerlo, Jeb Bush ha escogido la política y le ha dado la espalda a las prioridades de los latinos que alguna vez trató de apoyar. 

“Al respaldar plenamente a Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush está apoyando al llamado de Romney para que las familias inmigrantes se auto deporten, su amenaza de vetar la Ley DREAM, su ataque contra los estudiantes que se beneficiarían de la Ley DREAM a quienes acusa de ‘buscar una limosna’, su plan para aplicar a nivel nacional la extrema ley de Arizona contra los inmigrantes, sus ataques contra la jueza de la Corte Suprema Sonia Sotomayor y sus perspectivas equivocadas sobre todo asunto de importancia para la comunidad. 

“Las declaraciones de Jeb Bush envían el mensaje de que se tolera que líderes republicanos sensatos les den la espalda a las prioridades de la comunidad hispana siempre y cuando sea conveniente en términos políticos. También dice que es aceptable que los líderes republicanos usen como chivos expiatorios a un grupo de estadounidenses si representa una victoria política con la ultra derecha. Lo que los latinos buscan en estas elecciones no es el liderazgo por conveniencia sino por convicción, y por eso se proponen volver a elegir al Presidente Obama”.