Wednesday, September 26, 2012

‘Mexican Mitt’ Romney can’t shake the fake in face-off with Latino TV  

Despite stacked crowd and ‘tan‘ his campaign stumbling in pursuit of Hispanic votes

Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 1:21 PM

 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney responds to question from Univision interviewers Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas.


“Fake tan. Fake fans. Really sad.”
That’s how a Facebook friend described Mitt Romney’s (“I wish I were Latino”) latest Hispanic misadventures.
The posting was referring to last week’s Univision interview with an unnaturally tanned Republican candidate, which led many to believe that Romney was wearing dark makeup to “identify” with Latinos. After all, as everybody knows, all Latinos have a swarthy complexion.
Univision has denied this really happened, but looking at “before” and “after” photos of a Mitt eager to ingratiate himself with Hispanic voters — who overwhelmingly favor Obama — the suspicion remains.
The interview, a two-part series titled “Conozca a los candidatos” (Meet the candidates), took place at the University of Miami. It aired on Wednesday and on Thursday it was President Obama’s turn to submit to probing questions from Univision anchors María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos.
But Romney’s campaign stumbled against an unexpected obstacle. By all accounts, even after pleading with every conservative group on campus, the Republican hopeful couldn’t find enough sympathetic students to fill the auditorium, as had been agreed between the network and the candidates.
This may come as a surprise to the TV audience who were treated to a room brimming with boisterous Romney supporters who cheered his every word and booed practically every question from Salinas and Ramos. Such a rousing response was, to say the least, a rather rare spectacle, since the GOP standard bearer usually generates as much fervor in his audiences as a dentist’s drill.
So when Salinas declared after the interviews that Romney’s campaign had threatened to “reschedule” if it wasn’t allowed to bus in activists and supporters to fill the many empty chairs at the auditorium, the audience’s enthusiasm was revealed to be as much of a fake as Romney’s strange orange glow.
“We were a little bit thrown because it was supposed to be a TV show, it wasn’t a rally…It was a little bit of disrespect for us,” Salinas said in an interview with BuzzFeed.
More than a little bit, I would say, and it didn’t end there. Actually “Mexican Mitt” himself threatened to walk out minutes before the interview was to begin.
The reason? Ramos had said at the opening of the program that the GOP candidate had given Univision only 35 minutes, while the President had agreed to a full hour the next night. A testy Romney did not appreciate this fact being made public and demanded the introduction be re-taped or he would not go on stage.
“It was a very awkward moment, believe me,” Salinas told BuzzFeed in what could have been the understatement of the year.
“Last week’s forum was the perfect example of Romney’s Latino outreach strategy: ‘cherry-pick Latino supporters, have them cheer loud enough to drown out Romney’s vacuous responses, and declare victory after the fact,” said Frank Sharry, America’s Voice executive director.
A strategy that hasn’t helped him one bit with Hispanics. They have not forgotten Romney’s extreme anti-immigration stance during the primaries, his anti-labor agenda and his intention to gut Medicare in the name of balancing the budget while vowing to preserve tax cuts and all kinds of privileges for those who, like him, possess insane oodles of money.
According to the latest impreMedia/Latino Decisions tracking poll, Obama now leads Romney 69%-24% and enthusiasm for going to the polls is growing among Latino voters. Not good news for Republicans and one more proof that, contrary to what the Romney campaign seems to believe, Latino voters are not stupid.
“Fake tan. Fake fans. Really sad.”
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