Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mitt Romney launches outreach at Univision and Miami rally

Long before he caught heat for suggesting that half of taxpayers are moochers, Mitt Romney knew he was "in trouble" with a another segment of the electorate: Hispanics.

Wednesday evening in Miami-Dade, the Republican presidential candidate will have to deal with both issues — his comments about 47 percent of taxpayers and his Hispanic outreach — during a sit-down with Jorge Ramos, the star personality of Spanish-language TV powerhouse Univision. Romney then holds a "Juntos con Romney" rally later Wednesday evening.

Ramos is sure to ask Romney about the newly released hidden video that captured the Republican telling donors at a May fundraiser that 47 percent of taxpayers who pay no federal income taxes were hand-out seekers who will vote for President Barack Obama.

Many of Obama's voters are minority, with about 57 percent of Hispanics backing him, polls show. Statistics also indicate Hispanics are sending a message to Republicans by preferring to register as Democrats or no party at all instead of the GOP in Florida.

Romney hasn't backed away from the comments, though he said they were "off the cuff" and "not elegantly stated." He plans to refocus his message to center around the growth of government and entitlement programs under Obama.

"We have two very different views about America," Romney told Neil Cavuto, a conservative Fox News personality, on Tuesday. "The president's view is one of a larger government. There's a tape that just came out today where the president is saying he likes redistribution. I disagree."

Democrats have accused Romney of hypocrisy by noting he has advocated for two programs that redistribute wealth, Medicare and Social Security.

Obama and his allies, meanwhile, have made government programs central to their pitch for Hispanic votes.

They've also made much of the fact that Romney stands by his call for illegal immigrants to leave the country. He supports Arizona-style immigration laws allowing local police to more easily enforce federal immigration laws. And he opposes the so-called DREAM Act that would give a path to citizenship for to students or military personnel.

Immigration isn't a top concern for Hispanics — it's the economy — but polls show they're more sensitive to hard-line positions on immigration, which have become a centerpiece of today's Republican Party.

The nation's fastest-growing ethnic group, Hispanics have been flocking to the Democratic Party in the country's biggest battle ground state, Florida. There are now slightly more active Hispanic voters registered as independents than Republicans. Hispanics also outnumber African-Americans on the voter rolls for the first time.

Overall, the number of Hispanic voters stands at more than 1.5 million — 14 percent of the 11.4 million active-voter rolls — an increase of 39 percent in Florida since 2006. In that time, Hispanics registering as Democrats have increased their numbers by 60 percent, Hispanic independents have grown 50 percent and Hispanic Republicans only 12 percent.

Numbers like that could make it tougher for Romney to carry Florida. Romney suggested as much in May during the caught-on-video fundraiser.

"We're having a much harder time with Hispanic voters," Romney said. "And if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African-American voting bloc has in the past, why we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation."

Romney will probably have an easier time with the Hispanic vote in Florida than in other states, however.

Florida's two largest Hispanic groups, Cubans and Puerto Ricans, generally have less of a concern concerning immigration stances of candidates. Cuban-Americans have special immigration status and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.

Puerto Ricans — concentrated in Central Florida — make up slightly less than a third and tend to vote Democrat.

The Cuban-American population — concentrated in South Florida and the Tampa Bay area — makes up more of a third of the voting rolls. They tend to vote Republican.

The Cuban exile community, which fled communist Cuba, is also sensitive to arguments about redistributing wealth, which Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is highlighting on behalf of the Romney campaign.

Republicans are playing up 1998 comments from then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama who said he believes in "redistribution" of wealth through government action.

"I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution," Obama said then, "because I actually believe in redistribution — at least a certain level — to make sure that everybody's got a shot."

Mitt Romney launches outreach at Univision and Miami rally 09/19/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 4:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. VIDEO: Obamacare is "death,' President Trump says


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is calling Obamacare "death," as he urges Republican senators to "do the right thing" on an overhaul effort.

    President Donald Trump speaks about healthcare, Monday, July 24, 2017, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington.[Alex Brandon | Associated Press]
  2. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride


    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.
  3. CDC changes Zika virus guidance for pregnant women

    Federal health officials are changing their testing recommendations for pregnant women who may be exposed to the Zika virus through travel or sex or because of where they live.

  4. Necropsy confirms drowning as Snooty the manatee's cause of death

    Human Interest

    BRADENTON— The South Florida museum aquarium will re-open Tuesday and grief counselors will be available after the untimely death of beloved manatee Snooty.

    Snooty, the Manatee County mascot, turned 60 in 2008. Hundreds of people came to the Parker Manatee Aquarium to see Snooty at his birthday party. He was the first manatee to have a recorded birth date on July 21, 1948.

 [Times (2008)]
  5. Charlie Gard's parents withdraw legal action over their sick baby


    LONDON — The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard dropped their legal bid Monday to send him to the United States for experimental treatment after new medical tests showed it could no longer help.

    Chris Gard and Connie Yates, the parents of critically ill infant Charlie Gard, arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London ahead of the latest High Court hearing in London Monday July 24, 2017. They  returned  to the court for the latest stage in their effort to seek permission to take the child to the United States for medical treatment. Britain's High Court is considering new evidence in the case of Charlie Gard. The 11-month-old has a rare genetic condition, and his parents want to take him to America to receive an experimental treatment. [Jonathan Brady | PA via AP]