For Immediate Release
The Two Faces of Mitt
WASHINGTON - Earlier today, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina participated in a telephonic news conference hosted by America’s Voice, and which also included Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. The following are Medina’s remarks:
“I must say that I am absolutely amazed that, when it comes to Latinos, how culturally tone deaf, divisive and strategically challenged the Romney campaign is. He has unfairly used immigrants as campaign fodder in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination.
“While this is unworthy of a candidate who seeks to become the president of all of the people, this tactic also makes no sense.
“The issue of immigration, as continuously shown by opinion polls and exit polling is not a top priority for voters, with the exception of Latinos. It was not in Iowa or New Hampshire and it is not in Florida. What voters care about is jobs and the economy, not immigrant bashing.
“However, after watching his performance during the last week, Mr. Romney has proven that he is not only ignorant about the Latino community, he is ‘un candidato de dos caras,’ a two-faced candidate. He says one thing in English and another thing in Spanish, all in one day.
“On January 11, Mr. Romney’s campaign aired its first Spanish ad in Florida called ‘Nosotros.’ It was an ad full of pictures of happy Latino families, workers and young people in graduation gowns. The ad features his son and three Cuban American members of Congress, and it assures Latinos that he believes in the values of liberty and opportunity; that everything is possible in the United States; and that ‘he believes in us.’ A very simple message that says ‘I am on your side; vote for me and I will make your life better.’
“However, on the same day, in English, Mr. Romney issued a statement embracing the endorsement of anti-immigrant hate promoter Kris Kobach, stating that ‘Kris has been a true leader in securing our borders; I am proud to earn his support and I look forward to working with him to support states like South Carolina and Arizona that are stepping forward to address this problem.’ These are states that have enacted draconian anti-immigrant laws that have created a climate of fear, legalized racial profiling, and driven Latinos out of their homes. And these laws have been enjoined by the courts.
“Mr. Romney also has vowed that if elected president, he would veto the DREAM Act, a proposal that would create a legal pathway for smart, articulate and brave young people who grew up in the U.S. and are undocumented through no fault of their own.
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“So this is a tale of the two Mitts – one who ‘believes in us’ and promises to create opportunities for Latinos, and the other who is proud to join with the father of SB 1070 to support states in persecuting immigrants and denying opportunity to young people.
“Apparently, Mitt believes that because he is speaking in English, Latinos will not catch on to his real agenda.
“Unfortunately for Mitt, Latinos do speak English and he is not going to get away with talking out of both sides of his mouth.
“Latinos are paying very close attention to what the candidates are saying to them and about them. We are tuned in and we will turn out in November.
“Mr. Romney and his consultants forget one of the cardinal rules of campaigning: If you are in a hole, stop digging. And right now, Romney is in a deep hole with Latinos, and unless he changes course, he is destined to join Tom Tancredo, Meg Whitman, Sharon Angle, Carly Fiorina and John McCain in te political elephants graveyard.
“Romney needs at least 40 percent of the Latino vote to win in November. As of today, I think he will be lucky to reach the low 20s.
“People are looking for candidates who will be straightforward, honest and consistent, regardless of the language they use to communicate their message.
“Mr. Romney is failing on all counts and while he is having his say now, Latinos will have the last word in November.”
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With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.