Today, Mitt Romney's "Hispanderfiesta Radar" was on high alert. With just 50 days left to go until the presidential elections and new poll numbers show that the Romney campaign has done very little to improve his standing among US Latino voters (especially US Latina voters), today was clearly a "Hispanic" day for the campaign.
First off, was a new "Herencia Hispana" ad that was released this morning to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, where Romney started rolling off the accomplishments of some prominent Latinos, including Roberto Clemente and Celia Cruz (whose name Romney pronounced as "See-lia"), two deceased legends who can't tell Romney that he is using their likeness in a political ad.
Then if was off to Los Angeles and a speech that Romney gave to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce convention. At the beginning of his speech (the full speech can be seen here on C-SPAN), Romney made it a point to say the following: "The Republican Party is the rightful home of Hispanic Americans." The line got no applause.
Romney also exhibited a more moderate stance on immigration, as the following clip shows. Did you know that his dad was born in Mexico?
This is all in contrast to a leaked clip of a speech Romney was giving that became public last week. In that video, Romney joked about the fact that he wasn't Latino to a group of donors. The entire video has now gone viral and is being shared throughout many political media outlets.
In addition, we do find it a bit amazing that Romney—even when given the opportunity—fails to acknowledge what he said during the GOP primary season really turned off a lot of Latino voters. It is clear to us that Romney now lacks the political cojones to be a bit more truthful in what he has said in the past and what he is saying 50 days before the election. Given the fact that Arizona SB 1070 architect Kris Kobach is still a key player on the Romney team, all this Romney focus on the Latino vote is just window dressing. It's like the HAVE to do it, but they don't realize that the change is message is just being seen as ironically funny.
How do you go from pushing "self-deportation" and calling Arizona a "model" for the nation to now sounding a bit more moderate and bipartisan? Even though voters can think beyond immigration, it is still a wedge issue. Don't take it from us, since the latest poll numbers show that Romney still can't increase his support with US Latino voters. And this is after rolling out all those last names with vowels, accents, and "ñ's" at the RNC.
What Romney should have done is admit the truth: I had to be more extreme than Rick Perry on immigration and I had to make my draft picks (Kobach, Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer) for the national election. Now I am stuck with Kobach and others because, quite frankly, I can't upset that base in the Republican Party that borders on neo-nativism and doesn't see that maybe we should have been a bit more inclusive in our handling of all this. But, heck, I had to beat Rick Perry at the time.
Sadly for Romney, voters have a better memory than he would like to think. And they also have YouTube. Roll the film.