Entries in Hispanics (23)


Republican Party Names New Hispanic Outreach Director

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican National Committee is tapping veteran GOP strategist Jennifer Sevilla Korn to lead the party's effort to become competitive again with Latino voters, it announced Tuesday.

Korn will hold the titles Deputy Political Director and National Field Director for Hispanic Initiatives. Her selection comes as the GOP is looking for ways to rebuild its credibility with Latino voters after taking a shellacking in the 2012 presidential election, when President Obama won over seven in ten Latino votes.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement that Korn "will play a key role in directing our Hispanic engagement efforts to ensure that Republicans are building new relationships in the Hispanic community."

The GOP's failure to attract more non-white voters has become more magnified as the nation's electorate grows more racially and ethnically diverse. The RNC commissioned a 97-page post-election autopsy report this year, which acknowledged that the party has alienated some of the fastest-growing voter groups in the country: African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. The party has launched a project to spend $10 million on outreach to these voters.

That report called on the party to change its perception among Latino voters, in part by changing its hardline approach to immigration policy.

"We are not a policy committee, but among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform," says the report. "If we do not, our party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only."

Korn served as Hispanic vote director on George W. Bush's 2004 reelection campaign, the last Republican presidential bid that attracted enough Latino voters, 40 percent, to win an election.

She also worked in the Bush White House as Director of Hispanic and Women's Affairs. During the 2012 election, Korn worked as Executive Director of the Hispanic Leadership Network, an offshoot of the center-right political group American Action Network.

"We have been successful in the past, and I know we can be successful in the future," Korn said in a statement. "I intend to work arduously to reach new heights in growing the Republican Party."

The RNC's last Hispanic outreach director, Bettina Inclán, now works at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Romney Uses His Mexican-Born Dad’s Welfare Story at ‘Juntos con Romney’ Rally

Mario Tama/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Mitt Romney called the Republican Party the “natural home” for Hispanic voters, saying, in his first campaign rally in nearly five days, that America is a place that helps those struggling get back on their feet but won’t make government dependency a “permanent lifestyle.”

“This party is the natural home for Hispanic Americans,” Romney said to cheers at a “Juntos con Romney” rally.  It was Romney’s first campaign event since leaked videos emerged of him speaking at a private fundraiser in May where he appeared to criticize 47 percent of Americans for considering themselves “victims” who feel “entitled” to government assistance.

Speaking through various interruptions -- one protestor got no further than screaming "The 47 percent!” a reference to those leaked videos -- Romney tried to paint a picture of a presidency that would do the best job of pulling Hispanics out of poverty.

To do that, Romney used the story of his own Mexican-born father as an example of someone who received government assistance but then made it on his own.

“I mentioned my dad, my dad was born in Mexico of American parents living there. At age 5 or 6 there was revolution,” Romney said. “They came back to the United States, and my dad had to get help, financial help, the government helped his family be able to get on their feet again. By the way, that’s the way America works, we have great hearts, we care for people who have needs. We help get them back. We help lift them up but then they go back to their permanent lifestyle.”

“We get them on their feet, and they build a brighter future,” he said.

To further what he said was a “stark” choice between himself and the president, Romney continued to draw on old comments made by then-Sen. Barack Obama in which he spoke in favor of “redistribution.”

“We have a president who’s been putting in place a political and economic program that a lot of us don’t recognize,” said Romney. “We haven’t seen anything like this in America before. He said, he said some years ago something which we’re hearing about today on the Internet. He said he believes in redistribution, all right? There are people who believe that you can create a stronger economy and a brighter future if you take from some people and give to other people.”

“Now listen,” he continued, “other places that have tried that haven’t done so well. That is not a philosophy that’s ever been tried here. We’re not going to have it here. We’re going to get America back to having free people pursuing their dreams in a free country.”

Just days after acknowledging his own comments at the fundraiser could have been stated more “elegantly,” Romney gave a nod to Obama’s eloquent speaking voice, but said it won’t help him win another term.

“He’s eloquent, he can describe his vision for the future,” said Romney. “But we have his record and his record speaks louder than his voice will ever speak.”

This was Romney’s first campaign event since last Friday, when he held a rally in the battleground state of Ohio. He had scheduled an event in Colorado for over the weekend but it was canceled after an experimental airplane crashed at the airport where the event was slated to be held. While Romney appeared at the Univision forum earlier Wednesday and gave a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce earlier this week, this was the first event organized by his campaign.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Ad Hits Romney for Opposing Justice Sotomayor

Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A new Spanish-language TV ad from the Obama campaign airing in Florida attacks Republican rival Mitt Romney for opposing the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The spot suggests that Hispanics, a key constituency for President Obama in Florida, should be “offended” that Romney would not have supported the first Hispanic high-court nominee in American history.

“When she was nominated by President Obama, we all celebrated -- Puerto Ricans and all Hispanics,” says Puerto Rican attorney Nydia Menendez speaking directly to camera.  “But Mitt Romney was opposed to Sotomayor.  He offended me when he stated he would have voted against her nomination.  And now he wants our vote for president?”

In a March radio interview with Noti Uno Radio, Romney said he would have voted against Sotomayor if he was given the chance.

“Judge Sotomayor and I have very different judicial philosophies.  She is an activist, a liberal jurist,” he said at the time.  “And I prefer people who follow the Constitution and do not make law as a judge.  And so I will support justices who are conservative and who follow the constitution.”

The Obama campaign has also launched a second Spanish-language spot in Florida and four other swing states (Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia), appealing to Hispanic voters on the economy with help from Cristina Saralegui.

“When President Obama took office our economy was on the verge of disaster,” Saralegui says.  “And now Romney and Ryan ask us to return to the policies that CAUSED the crisis."

“Back to the future?  No way.  Forward… with Obama!” she says.

Saralegui, who is popularly considered the “Hispanic Oprah,” is a leading surrogate for Obama in the Hispanic community, appearing in half a dozen TV ads since the start of the campaign.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Joe Biden Calls Hispanics ‘Most Powerful Force in American Politics’

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden described the Hispanic population in this country as the “most powerful force in American politics” during a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala in Washington, D.C. Thursday night.

“I’m here to say thank you, and tell you how much this great country owes you and how much more can be done with the infusion of new blood, of new ideas,” Biden said.  “Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to become, and already have, the most powerful force in American politics.  Exercise that power well, and the country will embrace you.”

The Census Bureau says the 52 million Hispanics in this country accounted for 16.7 percent of the nation’s population in 2011, and the Pew Research Center has predicted nearly a third of the U.S. population will be Hispanic by 2050, a projection that Biden says Americans have embraced.

“The rest of America is beginning to understand that your success is America’s success,” Biden said.

With both parties aiming to attract the Latino vote this election cycle, the vice president touted the progress the administration has made to advance Latino causes, including improving access to education.

Biden expressed pride in the president’s executive action that halted the deportation of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to this country as children and promised there is more work to be done to ensure a path to citizenship is provided for those students.

“Look how the American people reacted to President Obama’s executive action lifting the threat of deportation from the Dreamers.  It had to be emotional, fill all of you with pride how that first day those Dreamers were eligible to apply for deferred action, thousands lined up, block after block after block,” Biden said. “I’m proud of my president, I’m proud of what the president did and I know you’re equally proud.”

“Everyone in this room, maybe more than anyone in the country understands we’ve got a lot more to do. And we will not rest in this administration until we find a permanent path out of the shadows for those who spent their lives living in fear, a path to citizenship,” Biden added.

Biden lauded the work of the CHCI in providing scholarships and grants to Hispanic youth, and the vice president stressed the importance of promoting educational and job opportunities within the growing Hispanic population, whose leaders are ensuring Hispanics achieve their “rightful place in American society.”

“The contribution of the Hispanic community has been incredible, but you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Biden said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Immigration Overhaul Is a Question of When, Not If, DNC Panel Concludes

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- "It's not if, it's when," Rep. Xavier Becerra told ABC News' Jake Tapper in response to a question about passing immigration overhaul. "It makes no difference if it's a Democrat in the White House or a Republican, we're going to get immigration reform."

Becerra of California was one of several Hispanic leaders who joined Tapper, National Journal's Ron Brownstein and Univision's Maria Elena Salinas at Wednesday's panel event in Charlotte, N.C., titled "Tomorrow's America: The Hispanic Surge and the New Landscape in American Politics."

The other speakers at the event were Los Angeles Mayor and DNCC Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa, Frank Sharry, the founder of America's Voice, National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia and San Antonio Mayor and DNC keynoter Julian Castro.

Villaraigosa agreed with Becerra's take on the issue, saying on immigration, "They [Republicans] will do it because they have to."

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised to pass new immigration legislation. It's a promise that has so far not been kept, although the president announced in July an executive order to stop the deportations of many young, illegal immigrants who came to the country as children.

While Castro, Villaraigosa and Becerra were careful not to criticize Obama for not passing immigration legislation this term, Sharry did not mince words about the president's lack of follow-through in this area.

"Barack Obama mishandled this issue," Sharry said. "Let's be honest, let's give the 'dreamers' the credit they deserve in forcing him into action. It wasn't a good idea that came from the White House. It was an inevitable idea that came from the grassroots."

Sharry said that, ultimately, Obama's failure to push through a comprehensive immigration bill would not cause him to lose the Hispanic vote, because Romney's policies in comparison are more troubling to many Latino voters.

"The Latino voter who cares about immigration has a choice now between someone who didn't keep his promises, but who put some skin in the game at a tough moment, and a candidate who wants to veto the Dream Act," he said. "The contrast couldn't be clearer. … People are disappointed in Obama, but terrified of Romney."

Latino voters are a fast-growing demographic -- a young Hispanic turns 18 every 30 seconds -- and both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to court them. Obama enjoys a strong lead in the polls with Hispanics, which Castro highlighted. "The issue is the policies, that's why Obama is leading 75 percent to 25 percent in polls among Hispanics," Castro said.

But Republicans do hold one advantage that was highlighted on the panel: There are more Republicans elected to high-level, statewide offices than there are Democrats. Although Becerra and Villaraigosa both pointed out that there are more Hispanic Democrats who serve in elected office in general, they acknowledged the strong Hispanic leaders on the other side of the aisle, and addressed the need for Democrats to catch up in that area.

"Republicans have a long way to go, but good for them, they have high-ranking Latinos in their ranks and shame on Democrats if they don't see that we have to do the same thing," Becerra said.

Villaraigosa said, "I've said this before, [Sen.] Marco Rubio and [Gov.] Susana Martinez were the best speakers at that [RNC] convention, bar none, but the soaring rhetoric doesn't match the policies and it doesn't match the platform."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Spanish Ad Blasts Obama as ‘Deporter-in-Chief’

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A Spanish-language TV ad from a Nevada conservative group is taking direct aim at a top source of Hispanic angst about President Obama: his first-term record of unprecedented immigrant deportations.

The 30-second spot - “No More Lies” – blasts Obama for failing to keep his 2008 campaign promise to enact comprehensive immigration reform and calls his recent deferred action order for young illegal immigrants too little, too late.

It also raises what is among the sorest spots in the Hispanic community’s relationship with Obama – the 1.2 million immigrants deported, more than any other president in U.S. history.

“With friends like these, who needs enemies? In November, make your vote count,” the narrator says.

The group airing the ad, American Principles in Action, is a conservative nonprofit advocacy group that is going for the jugular in trying to raise doubts about Obama’s commitment to Hispanics.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Gabriela Domenzain responded to the new ad by putting the focus on presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who she said espouses “extreme positions on immigration.”

“While Romney would have the most extreme immigration platform of any presidential nominee in recent history, the president and his administration have made significant progress in implementing immigration policies that reward hard work and demand responsibility,” Domenzain said, noting Obama’s recently announced administrative relief for DREAM Act-eligible illegal immigrants.

“President Obama is committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act, proposals that would be the law of the land today if Republicans, who once supported these sensible solutions, were less concerned about pandering to the far right wing of their base,” she said.

The spot is airing for two weeks in Las Vegas on the top two Spanish-language stations, Univision and Telefutura.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama, Romney Battle for Hispanic Votes in Swing States

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and their respective allies are kicking off summer with a push to court Hispanic voters in states where Hispanics could play a decisive role in November's election.

Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC, and Service Employees International Union, one of the nation's largest labor groups, joined the fray Monday with a $4 million Spanish-language TV ad campaign attacking Romney's economic experience.

The 30-second spot -- "Mitt Romney: En Sus Propias Palabras" -- is reported to be one of the largest-ever independent Spanish-language presidential ad campaigns. It will run in Colorado, Nevada and Florida, the group said.

"This ad is part of a broader effort to ensure Latino voters know the stakes in this election, and who has been on the side of Latino families and who will continue to stand with them in the coming years," said SEIU political director Brandon Davis.

Obama for America, the president's re-election committee, has been on the air in the same states since late April. It has run three flights of Spanish-language TV ads that feature Hispanic supporters testifying to the positive impact of Obama's first-term policies.

Meanwhile, Romney and Republicans have stepped up their appeals to what is the nation's fastest-growing voting bloc, launching a national Hispanic outreach effort led by Carlos Gutierrez, who served as Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush. The push includes a series of web and TV ads with an economic pitch.

"The Hispanic community has been especially hard-hit by President Obama's policies," Gutierrez said in a statement. "We need a leader who will bring back jobs, help small businesses, and ensure that the American Dream remains for future generations."

The intensifying focus on Hispanics by both campaigns underscores their looming influence in key general election battleground this fall. An estimated 12 million are expected to go to the polls in November, up 26 percent from 2008, according to projections by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.

While Hispanics have long been a strong Democratic constituency, Republicans believe that if they can woo enough voters from Obama's side, they can tilt the balance in Romney's favor in states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida, where the race is close in early polls.

Obama leads Romney nationwide among Hispanics, 67 to 26 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll. And many Republicans acknowledge that Romney faces an uphill battle with the constituency headed into the fall.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican and possible Romney running mate, recently said that Latinos "have been alienated" over the course of the GOP campaign this past year, even taking aim at Romney's immigration policy of "self-deportation."

Most political analysts say 40 percent support is a watermark for any successful candidate for the White House. (George W. Bush won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004; John McCain got 31 percent in 2008.)

President Obama's campaign faces the challenge of mobilizing and energizing Hispanic voters to turn out in the same numbers as they did in 2008 despite high unemployment within the Hispanic community, lingering disappointment with administration's deportation policies, and failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform as promised in the last campaign.

The unemployment rate among Hispanics was 11.0 percent in May, up from 10.3 percent in April, according to the Labor Department. The Obama administration also continues to deport record numbers of undocumented immigrants, while an effort to delay removal of aliens without criminal records has had a relatively small impact, according to numbers from the Department of Homeland Security.

By focusing on the economy, Romney is asking Hispanic swing voters to choose their pocketbooks and social values over immigration-related issues, while underlining Obama's unfulfilled promises.

The Spanish-language version of Romney's first general election TV ad, "Dia Uno," focuses on steps a President Romney would take to boost the economy on his first day in office. It's airing in Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio, the Romney campaign said.

Obama and Democrats, meanwhile, are highlighting Romney's past statements on immigration and the alleged negative impact of his economic policies on the middle class, arguing a Romney presidency would be bad for Hispanic families.

Both candidates are expected to head to Florida later this month to address the National Association of Latino Elected Officials at a conference in Orlando. The event will serve as a backdrop for broader messages to the Hispanic community.

For Obama, the speech fulfills a 2008 promise he made to the group to return as president. It also offers him a chance to tout policies from his first term that have benefitted Latinos. It will be the first time he and Romney will address a major Latino organization back to back.

The president will also return to Florida on June 26 to court Hispanic donors at a splashy Miami Beach fundraiser hosted by singer/songwriter Marc Anthony.

"Latinos are a force that can and will help decide this election. And it's a good thing that we've got so much to say, right?" Anthony says in a new web video for Obama's campaign. "We have jobs, the economy, education. President Obama is on our side on all of them. We just have to make sure that he gets four more years to make more progress. The president has our back."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Pitches to Hispanic Voters, Vows to Be President of ‘All Americans’

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- Making a rare stop in the Lone Star State Tuesday, Mitt Romney made a direct appeal to Hispanic voters, vowing that if elected, he would be the president of "all Americans, Hispanic and otherwise.”

“These have been particularly hard times,” said Romney, who spoke at the Hispanic-run Southwest Office Systems, the largest minority-owned, independent office supply dealer in the country.

“This Obama economy has been hard, particularly on Hispanic businesses and Hispanic-Americans, and I don’t know if you’ve seen the numbers recently, but did you know that the rate of unemployment among Hispanic-Americans rose last month to 11 percent?”

Romney, who has not paid an enormous amount of attention to the Hispanic vote during his campaign -- last month he dedicated an entire speech at the Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Luncheon to his education policy -- Tuesday honed in on the issues facing Hispanic voters. His campaign released a Web video called “Dismal” to show the impact of Obama’s economic policies on Hispanics.

But it’s an uphill climb for Romney with Hispanic voters, and that was palpable in Texas Tuesday, when a small group of protestors chanting “Education not deportation” disrupted the event. Romney’s immigration plan includes what he called "self-deportation” to get illegal immigrants to return to their home countries, where they can then apply for legal citizenship.

And in an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken earlier this spring, 73 percent of Latinos supported Obama, compared with 26 percent for Romney.

On Tuesday, Romney briefed the crowd on the economic challenges facing Hispanic-Americans.

“And that the people in this country that are poor, living in poverty, one out of three are Hispanic-American,” Romney continued. “And among young Hispanic-Americans the poverty rate is 30 percent. And Hispanic-Americans in large measure have looked to entrepreneurs and innovators and small business to get going, but this has been such an anti-anti-small business, hostile to small business environment that it’s been harder for those businesses to open up their doors and to hire more people.”

Then, specifically pivoting to attacks on the president, Romney asked the crowd of Obama, “So what’s he doing?”

“What’s he doing now? Well it’s amazing three and a half years in, three and a half years in as president, with America in crisis, with 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work, he hasn’t put forth a plan to get us working again,” he said. “Now I know we’re getting close to an election, so he’ll come out with one soon.”

Name-dropping Texan and former President George W. Bush, Romney suggested that Obama uses the former president as a scapegoat for the flailing economy.

“President George W. Bush was at the White House for the unveiling of his painting last week,” said Romney, as the crowd cheered at the sound of Bush’s name. “You know, he’s always an easy target and so he’s blamed. But after three and half years people have figured out this is Obama’s economy, not George Bush’s economy.”

A spokeswoman for the Obama re-election campaign tweaked Romney’s new campaign slogan, “Put Jobs First,” which hung in banner form over the candidate’s head as well as on a placard on the podium, following the event.

“In Texas today, Mitt Romney stood in front of a banner saying ‘put jobs first,' but we already know that he wouldn’t put jobs first as president,” said Lis Smith, Obama campaign spokeswoman.

"As a corporate buyout specialist, he didn’t put jobs first. His only goal was creating wealth for himself and his investors. And he certainly didn’t put jobs first as governor, when he drove Massachusetts down to 47th out of 50 states in job creation. Now he wants to bring back the same policies that crashed the economy and devastated the middle class in the first place: budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthiest on the middle class’ dime and letting Wall Street write its own rules. Romney economics didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Launches Second Round of Spanish Ads

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Continuing its effort to court Latino voters, President Obama’s re-election campaign Tuesday launched its second round of Spanish-language TV and radio ads.

The ads, which will air in Colorado, Florida and Nevada tout the president’s record on health care, including providing affordable care to up to nine million previously uninsured Hispanics by 2014.

The three 30-second clips feature Latino supporters of the president’s campaign speaking with community members about Obama’s health care accomplishments.

The campaign’s first round of Spanish-language ads, released last month, focused on the president’s record on economic and education policy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Boasts to Latinos: ‘I’ve Got Another Five Years Coming Up’

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(MIAMI) -- President Obama said his failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform during his first term shouldn’t disillusion Hispanic voters who supported him in 2008. “I’ve got another five years,” Obama boasted to the Spanish-language radio network Univision in an interview that aired Thursday.

“We’re going to get this done. And absolutely, we have strong support in the Latino community because they’ve seen what we’ve been working on,” he said.

Obama made the comments during a phone interview with host Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo taped Wednesday ahead of Obama's trip to Hispanic-heavy Florida today for a speech on the economy and three campaign fundraisers.

“Unfortunately, the Republican side, which used to at least give lip service to immigration reform, now they’ve gone completely to a different place,” Obama said, “and have shown themselves unwilling to talk at all about any sensible solutions to this issue, and we’re going to have to just keep up the pressure until they act.”

Obama did not mention the failure of the Democratically-controlled Congress of acting on immigration reform legislation during the first two years of his term or opposition from within his own party to a path to legal status for some of the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants.

“So far, we haven’t seen any of the Republican candidates even support immigration reform. In fact, their leading candidate said he would veto even the Dream Act, much less comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama said referring to GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney. “So the choice at the presidential level will not be that difficult.”

Obama won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008 to John McCain’s 32 percent. Recent polls show approval of Obama has slid significantly since 2008, though he remains favored nationally in hypothetical general election match-ups with Republican candidates.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio