The year dawned with the Republican primaries in full swing and a fierce general election campaign on the horizon. As the year comes to an end, we’re taking a look at some of our most memorable political stories, ranging from the incredibly important to the humorous gaffes and everything in between.
Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA): It rang across the political landscape and some call it the turning point of the election. President Obama issued an executive order providing work permits for eligible undocumented youth and gave so-called Dreamers a lifeline to stay in the United States. According to the most up to date deferred action statistics provided by the Department of Homeland Security, 367,903 undocumented immigrants have applied for the program, 102,965 have been approved and 157,151 are in the final stages of review.
Marco Rubio’s Ascent: The Cuban-American Republican has been on the radar of politicos since his 2010 Tea Party-fueled Senate win in Florida. But he broke out in 2012 as a high-profile surrogate for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and with the release of “An American Son,” his autobiography. Proof of his increased stature could be seen in a competing book released at the same time called The Rise of Marco Rubio, which painted a somewhat less rosy picture of Rubio’s life and career.
Mitt Romney Loves What?: Romney’s campaign had its strengths and weaknesses, but one negative was its propensity for gaffes, or at the very least, awkward turns of phrase. As part of his Latino outreach, Romney headed to a Miami radio station and spoke with Cuban-American hosts before a visit to a popular juice place. The hosts asked him what his favorite fruit was.
“They’re waiting for you with a mamey and a guayaba — Cuban fruits — here in Miami, do you like those?” host Carlos Santana said.
“I am a big fan of mango, papaya, and guava,” Romney replied, causing the host and translator to laugh.
“There are mangos there too,” Santana added, perhaps ribbing the former governor.
Why the reason for a laugh at Romney’s expense? Among Cubans, papaya is a slang word for female private parts.
Julian Castro’s Adorable Daughter Eclipses His Political Coming Out Party: Julian Castro, the San Antonio Mayor made a lot of noise as the first Latino keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention, wowing many as the Ivy League educated son of a Mexican-American civil rights activist, but it was his adorable daughter’s hair flip that caught people’s attention. As he gave his speech, cameras focused on his cute little daughter who noticed she was on camera and did a picture perfect hair flip, much to everyone’s delight.
Mary Gonzalez, the first openly gay person in the Texas State House: Mary Gonzalez told them she was the best candidate to represent them and El Paso voters agreed, but along the way, the 28-year-old doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin broke her share of barriers. “It’s an honor to have broken so many glass ceilings – as not only being openly gay but also the first woman to get this position in my district,” Gonzalez told NBC Latino.
The 47 percent: A secret video of Mitt Romney saying he would never get the votes of 47 percent of the country because they are dependent on the government was unearthed by Mother Jones as the election wound down and proved to be a huge gaffe for him. Romney apologized, saying his comments were inelegantly stated, but the damage was done as Democrats pounded him in swing state ads. After the election, Romney doubled down on his ideas about Obama’s coalition, saying he won because of “gifts” he gave minorities, women and immigrants. Of note: Romney’s final popular vote percentage when all the votes were counted nationally? 47 percent.
The Latino Vote: Obama was re-elected after a grueling campaign but our story of the year was the Latino vote, which increased to 10 percent of the overall electorate and backed the president 71 percent to 27 percent for Romney. Evidence of the importance of Hispanic voters could be seen immediately following the election when immigration reform began to receive support from bipartisan voices — something that had been lacking previously.