Tampa, Florida – Last night Ann Romney’s speech was mainly meant for women. Today Mrs. Romney focused on another important voting block - Latinos. In her outreach, though, Mrs. Romney did not mince any words about why she thinks the Republican message has not reached Latinos.
“It really is a message that would resonate well if they could just get past some of their biases that have been there from the Democratic machines that have made us look like we don’t care about this community,” Romney said. “And that is not true. We very much care about you and your families and the opportunities that are there for you and your families.”
Romney added Latinos have to “wake up – and really look at the issues this time.”
Elizabeth Chalas Berman, who came to the convention with the New York Republican delegation, says she loved Mrs.Romney’s speech last night, as well as her address today. “I think Ann Romney brought the human side of the Romney family to all of us,” she says. ”Many of us can relate to her as a mom, as a wife, and the message she brought out is we have to think of our children and the next four years.”
Sylvia Manzano, a political scientist for Latino Decisions, says Mrs. Romney has a point about party generational loyalty – but it happens in both parties.
“Some Puerto Ricans or Mexicans in the Northeast or West might be pulled by Democratic loyalties, just the same as a Cuban-American in Miami might be pulled to vote Republican,” Manzano says.
Manzano says the party loyalty argument does not apply to many newer Hispanic families who have not been in the country for generations. ”Some Hispanics do not have that party loyalty, and in fact, I think Republicans have missed the opportunity to really reach out to this group of Hispanics,” she adds.
Today Mrs. Romney sat down with Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart, and stressed that Latino entrepreneurs and small business owners would be better off under her husband. “I really believe this guy (Romney) can do it,” she said.
In the Latino Coalition luncheon today, some Latinos – as well as non-Latinos – thought it was a bit awkward when Ann Romney referred to Puerto Ricans and Latinos as “you people” – even though everything she said when she made those comments was positive and warm.
“I had the most rocking time in Puerto Rico at a political rally. You people know how to party,” Mrs. Romney said, adding “the passion I saw on that little island” was the best of America. “I love your hospitality and warmth,” she added.
“I did not think it was demeaning, but I did think it was a poor choice of words, and she should probably lose that from her vocabulary,” said a Latina professional who says she was initially surprised at the choice of words. ”I’ll just chuck it to inexperience,” she adds.
Mrs. Romney is incredibly fond of Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuno and his wife, Luce Vela Fortuno, so much so that Mrs. Fortuno was chosen to introduce Mrs. Romney on the national stage last night.
It is worth noting Mrs. Romney has used that phrase before – and gotten into hot water. In a recent interview Mrs. Romney said she and Governor Romney were not going to release any more taxes, saying in an ABC interview “you people” (journalists) had gotten all the information they were going to need.
“She just loves using that phrase,” someone commented following her comments.