Republican challenger Mitt Romney knows he needs a big chunk of Hispanic voters in order to beat President Obama in November, but as a story in the Christian Science Monitor laid out, Romney’s task is nearly insurmountable after he spent months bashing Hispanics with anti-immigration rhetoric in order to win the Republican nomination.
Recent polls have shown that Obama holds an enormous advantage over Romney among Hispanics: An estimated margin of 61-27. Political experts on the Hispanic vote say that Obama’s biggest problem with Hispanics will be apathy, particularly since the economy is hitting them so hard and there’s a sense that Obama, though he inherited most of his economic problems, has not done more to help them.
This is where Romney sees his biggest opening—hammering home Obama’s failures on the economy in hopes that Hispanics will forget all the harsh rhetoric he was spitting out during the Republican primaries. Romney has rolled out a new slogan, Junto Con Romney (Together with Romney), that he hopes will show Hispanics that he’s serious about courting their vote. The campaign has hired an Hispanic advisor—just a week after hiring an African-American advisor—and his spending a lot of time with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is clearly trying to position himself to be chosen as Romney’s running mate.
Campaign watchers will have their eyes focused a June 21 speech Romney will be giving to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. This will be his chance to demonstrate that he’s willing to move beyond the right-wing rhetoric of his party and offer immigration reform and other measures that would be amenable to Hispanic voters.
President Obama speaks to the same group the next day.