The debate was a chance to see the candidates go toe to toe on the issues, including their different views on immigration and how to address undocumented immigrants in this country.
Today, the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee launched a new ad entitled “Solutions to Immigration.” In the ad, the Romney campaign shows past video of President Obama saying he would pass immigration reform in his first term, followed by a video in which the President says he did not promise he would get everything done.
The Romney campaign then says the Republican candidate’s immigration plan is to focus on ‘family reunification’, ‘work visas’, and ‘permanent solutions for undocumented youth.’ The ad says Governor Romney and the Republicans will fight for bipartisan immigration reform that unifies families.
Latinos around the country sat down in debate parties or in the comfort of their own homes to hear the two men who want to be president debate ‘mano a mano’ at the first presidential debate at the University of Denver tonight. The verdict? The debate dragged out on some issues, but did not touch on other issues voters wanted to talk about.
“In terms of content, for the average voter, a lot went over their heads; they spent too much time on specific terms like Dodd-Frank, and did not touch on other issues,” says political scientist Sylvia Manzano, of Latino Decisions.
Marisol Bolaños, who works in the Denver public schools, says she wishes they would have spoken about the DREAM Act. Alvina Vazquez, of the progressive but non-partisan non-profit Strong Colorado, says though the economy is important, so is immigration, which was not talked about.
After the debate, many political analysts said Governor Romney seemed to give the better performance, and Manzano agrees. “I think Romney was certainly stronger, he did have a higher burden, he had to maximize the opportunity, and in that respect there is no question he gave a stronger performance,” Manzano adds.
President Obama appealed to Latino voters for a second term at a Univision-sponsored event today, and blamed Republicans for his failure to make good on his 2008 promise of immigration reform.
Univision news anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas repeatedly grilled Obama over whether he broke his promise to bring up an immigration reform bill in his first year in office, which he made to Ramos in 2008.
“My biggest failure is that we haven’t gotten comprehensive immigration reform done … but it’s not for lacking of trying or desire,” Obama said during the event at the BankUnited Center Field House on the University of Miami campus.
“I haven’t gotten everything done that I want to get done,” Obama added. “That’s why I’m running for a second term.”
The president said that his first years in office was consumed with attempting to rescue the collapsing economy through his stimulus and auto bailout, leaving little time to address a sweeping comprehensive immigration overhaul.
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney joked in a fundraiser that he would have a better chance of winning the election if his father would not just have been born in Mexico, but had actually been Latino.
“My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico… and had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this,” said Romney at a fundraiser, adding “But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”
The liberal magazine Mother Jones released the video, which was recorded surreptitiously, and the story, saying they had verified it. The video was immediately disseminated by other media outlets, as well as the DNC. Apart from his comments on being Latino, Romney was asked what his thoughts were on how to win in November. Romney told the crowd at the fundraiser about his priorities, and described those he thought would vote for President Obama.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement,” said Romney in the fundraiser.
For the first time, latino politicians were keynote speakers at both national conventions, illustrating the growing power wielded by those politicians and latino voters, who make up a critical portion of the population in three swing states. Ray Suarez reports.
On the last night of the Republican convention, it fell to Cuban Senator Marco Rubio and presidential nominee Mitt Romney to make the two final speeches outlining the vision of the party, a couple of months away from November’s election. In a clear recognition of the nation’s growing Latino electorate, Rubio’s speech focused largely on his vision of the country through his lens as a Cuban growing up in an immigrant household.
“Many nights I heard my father’s keys jingling at the door as he came home from another 16-hour day,” said Rubio. “Many mornings, I woke up just as my mother got home from the overnight shift at K-Mart.” Then Rubio said in both Spanish and English, “My Dad used to tell us, ‘In this country, you will be able to accomplish all the things we never could,’” to applause.
Rubio, widely talked about as a potential vice presidential nominee and a rising star in the Republican party, had the national spotlight as he gave the speech introducing Mitt Romney. Much of his speech centered around Rubio’s family. He talked of his disabled Cuban grandfather, who used to smoke 3 Padron cigars a day and who watched the 1980 Republican convention with Rubio when he was a little boy.
But Rubio got the biggest cheers when he spoke of his father, who was a bartender. “He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in front of the room,” said Rubio to great applause.
Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican senator who will introduce his party’s presidential candidate at the national convention Thursday, predicted Mitt Romney will overcome President Obama’s current lead in Florida and win the state.
“Absolutely, I expect he will,” he told TODAY’s Matt Lauer from the convention floor Wednesday. “I think once the argument is clear about the differences between Republicans and Democrats on the economy, I expect to win Florida.”
Romney currently trails Obama by about 4 percent in a recent poll among voters in Florida, which carries 29 electoral votes.
Rubio, who will speak at the convention Thursday night, had been on Romney’s short list for running mates. His selection as prime-time convention speaker reflects the national profile he enjoys as a conservative Republican.
He predicted Romney will be able to cinch a gender gap over the issue of abortion. Rubio has taken a stronger stance than Romney when it comes to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion but said the disagreement goes beyond the law.
The rise of Latinos up the ranks of the Republican Party is momentous, but it’s not enough, said the head of a national group of conservative activists.
“Latinos need to get more involved and show up at the polls,” Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, or ACU, told Fox News Latino.
The prominent Cuban American lawyer and advisor to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney expressed concern about Latino voter turnout, but said he is ecstatic about the Republican National Convention speakers lineup that includes U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz of Texas, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
“Listen, my heart is bursting with pride…we have never had a lineup like this,” he explained.
The Florida native believes that the GOP convention location in Tampa combined with communicating clearly Romney’s economic platform will spur Latino voter turnout — particularly in the critical state of Florida.
Effectively making the argument that Romney’s economic policies would be more successful that those of Obama’s, Cardenas maintained, could win over diverse Latino groups such as Puerto Ricans and Cuban Americans.
The inclusion of stringent immigration policies in the GOP platform for the Republican National Convention, spearheaded by Kris Kobach, who many immigration groups vilify, also includes self-deporation, a term used by Mitt Romney during the primary season.
Romney never used the term again, but now that it has made its way into the party’s platform, a new parody video on Funny or Die is gaining steam by showing how the policy might work.
The video opens with “Arizona Governor Jan Brewer” who explains a new Self-Deportation Station — an over-sized box large enough to fit a person, along with stereotypical items meant to invoke Mexican culture.
“There’s a lot of offensive stuff in here,” the man who was gardening says. “But I’m oddly drawn to it.”
Latino Rebels, an influential humor and culture site posted the video, calling it hilarious and saying it “nails it.”
The video also features a cameo from Mexican-American comedian, George Lopez.
Yesterday afternoon I hopped in a taxi that was blasting Eritrean music. I asked the driver what the song was about, and he said the singer was telling the story of a beautiful woman he loved very much. She betrayed him, leaving him for another man, and soon came to regret that decision. But, as the singer informs her throughout the chorus, it’s too late. The driver and I chuckled about how in every language and every genre songs say the same things.
Faithful listeners of Alt.Latino know Felix and I have a soft spot for romantic ballads: Felix loves his boleros and rancheras, and I have to take my Chavela Vargas in responsible doses because I tear up and become a mushy mess. But our radio friends also know I have a particular admiration for musicians who are able to move past the typical themes of love, lust and betrayal.
This week we have a lineup of fantastic new music by many of our favorite artists, from Mexican rock gods Cafe Tacvba to Colombian electronica stars Bomba Estereo and rising Guatemalan musician Gaby Moreno (you can listen to her upcoming album in its entirety here). In addition to being amazing musicians, they are all artists whose work explores the complexities of life beyond matters of the heart. In a track off their upcoming album, Cafe Tacvba sings about aging and finally loving oneself, Moreno tells an immigrant’s tale and Bomba Estereo’s upcoming album is the soundtrack to a spiritual journey.
The Romney campaign argues in a new Spanish-language ad that President Obama is “fooling” Latinos into supporting him, even though they have felt the brunt of the recession.
The 30-second spot released Wednesday opens with Obama’s famous 2008 campaign refrain “Yes we can!” (Sí se puede!) and then an on-screen message asks, “Can we?” The ad claims that Obama’s policies are to blame for 10 percent unemployment and loss of household wealth in the Latino community.
“Can we allow for Democrats to continue fooling us?” asks the narrator in Spanish. “When Obama and his Democrat allies tell us ‘Yes, we can!’ We’ve got to tell them we no longer can.”
On Tuesday, Mexican-born American runner Leo Manzano won a silver medal in the men’s 1,500-meter final, running the fastest time ever by a U.S. athlete at the Games. Manzano, 27, entered the U.S. at the age of 4 without papers, according to LetsRun. He didn’t gain legal residency until 10 years later.
“Silver medal, still felt like I won! Representing two countries USA and Mexico!”, Manzano tweeted shortly after his win. Most of his tweets throughout the Olympics have been in both Spanish and English.
“I am honored and excited to represent both the United States and Mexico by earning this silver,” Manzano told the Associated Press. “Standing on the podium has been a dream of mine and I share it proudly with my family, friends, coaches and all my supporters from Austin, Marble Falls, and Granite Shoals, Texas as well as Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico.”
On the track Manzano celebrated with the U.S. flag and the Mexican flag.
“I’m really excited, so thrilled and so pumped. It was an insane race. It was probably the toughest race physically and mentally that I’ve ever been in,” Manzano said in a statement.
Manzano’s father Jesus gained legal residency under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, but it would take 10 years for the rest of the family to gain legal residency, according to Heather Jelen at the National Immigration Forum.
Last week, we noted that President Obama and his allies are outspending Mitt Romney by a whopping 12-1 margin on the Spanish-language airwaves. That led us to wonder whether Obama was essentially defining Romney to Latino voters before he could define himself.
While Romney has slowly begun to enter the Spanish-language air war, it appears that conservative outside spending groups are also beginning to get into the game:
Nevada Hispanics, an spin-off group of American Principles in Action (a 501(c)(4) group that is permitted to accept anonymous donations while engaging in some political activity), will air an ad on Spanish networks Univision and Telefutura in Las Vegas for two weeks beginning Wednesday.
The ad will also appear on Spanish-language radio, according to Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston.
The 30-second spot attacks Obama for his immigration enforcement policies, which have led to record numbers of deportations during his first term, and not aggressively pursuing immigration reform.
“He’s not committed to immigrants; he only wants our vote,” the ad says.