President Barack Obama made one candid admission in an interview with The Des Moines Register that originally was off-the-record but subsequently released after some pressure by the publication.Here’s the key quote:
“The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee [Mitt Romney] and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it’s the right thing to do and I’ve cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.”
Obama has a point. In the 2000 election, Bush garnered 35 per cent of the Latino vote. Four years later, he captured a record 44 per cent for a Republican, trailing Democratic nominee John Kerry by only nine points. Bush’s ability to capture a larger percentage of the Latino vote is a major factor (if not the major factor) why he won two extremely close elections.
But in the years that have followed, Republicans haven’t built on that progress. And in the latest polls of Latino voters, Obama has a commanding lead on Romney by a 45- to 50-point margin.
Much of Romney’s trouble with Latino outreach has come in his immigration position, which he has attempted to moderate as the campaign has progressed.
Lionel Sosa, a top Latino outreach director for President Ronald Reagan’s campaigns, warned in June that the Republican Party would have to soon reconsider its immigration stances.
“As the election goes on, I think we’ll see a softening in his position and a massive outreach by Romney to Latinos,” Sosa said then of Romney’s immigration platform. “It’s essential — not just for his election, but for the future of the Republican Party.”
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