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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Priebus says Florida will be all about economy, Obama and Hispanics



reince-priebus_244x183.jpgReince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, says Florida is no different than anywhere else. It's all about the economy.

Citing high unemployment (5th highest in the U.S.) and President Obama's lower approval ratings, Priebus sounded hopeful the GOP will win Florida next November and capture Hispanic voters. He dismissed talk that Republican Gov. Rick Scott, whose approval rating makes Obama look like a saint, will be a drag.

"I think the election's going to be all about Barack Obama," Priebus during a conference call with reporters to highlight new radio and TV ads in Florida. The radio ad is focused on Hispanics and the GOP says it will aggressively court the growing voter base, noting unemployment is even higher among Latinos.

Asked if the bitter battle over immigration would counter the GOP effort, Priebus said, "Not at all. It's not going to hurt us one bit. I think that what's going to help us is getting our economy back on track and highlighting the fact that this president has failed to deliver on any of his promises ..."

Talk turned to Florida's effort to push up its presidential primary, which comes as other states, including Arizona, push to make themselves more relevant. Priebus said he's confident everything can be worked out but added, "We have an obligation to enforce the rules of the RNC," which could cost Florida delegates. (background here)

Republican Party of Florida Dave Bitner said Florida is seeking a "win-win" solution.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: DNC Hispanic Caucus Chair Iris Y. Martinez responds:
“Just days after GOP presidential candidates shunned a national Latino audience and missed an opportunity open a dialogue with our community on solutions for fixing our broken immigration system, the head of the Republican Party unveiled the Republicans’ real plan for immigration this election cycle: ignore the Hispanic community and hide their disastrous record on immigration.

"Hispanics are aware of the GOP’s plan to take us back to the very same failed economic policies that took our economy to the brink of disaster and to balance our nation’s debt on the backs of working Americans – and they’ve seen what the GOP has proposed on immigration for the past two years.  Republicans have abandoned Hispanics over the far right and have offered nothing but slurs against immigrants, supported a far-right patchwork of unworkable immigration laws and revoking birthright citizenship, all while opposing every effort by President Obama to move forward on common-sense immigration measures."

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:23pm]


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