Today, Mitt Romney’s campaign released a new Spanish-language ad featuring Mitt’s son Craig Romney, speaking to the camera in Spanish, along with images of the Romney family and people assumed to be Latinos. Despite being entitled “Nation of Immigrants,” the ad continues the Romney campaign’s strategy of ducking behind gauzy platitudes on immigration rather than disavowing his actual immigration promises: self-deportation for undocumented immigrants, a veto of the DREAM Act, and support for Arizona’s approach to immigration as a “model” for the nation. Like Romney’s recent NALEO speech and his muted reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s SB1070 law, the ad is further evidence that Romney is trying to avoid reminding Latinos of his extreme promises on immigration now that he’s campaigning in the general election. Released on the same day as a new nationwide poll of Latino voters conducted by Latino Decisions, which shows he trails Obama with Latino voters 22%-70% (up from a 23%-66% margin in June), the ad is unlikely to help close the gap.
Below is a transcript of the ad translated into English by America’s Voice, along with some helpful context.
CRAIG ROMNEY: “I’m Craig Romney. I want to tell you what my father, Mitt Romney, thinks. He values very much that we are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather George was born in Mexico.”
America’s Voice interjects – Hmmm, I thought you weren’t going to play the “Mexican card,” Mitt? Isn’t that what you told Univisión’s Jorge Ramos just a few months ago, when asked about your father’s birthplace and said you “would love to be able to convince people” that you are Mexican-American, “particularly in a Florida primary,” but that would be “disingenuous”? You jokingly told Ramos “Just wait. We’ll get that quote out there where you say I’m Mexican-American, and I’ll do a lot better.” A few months later, and it’s showing up in ads.
CRAIG ROMNEY: “For my family, the magnificent thing about the United States is how we all respect and help each other, no matter where we came from. As president, my father will work toward a permanent solution to our immigration system—”
America’s Voice interjects – Is this “permanent solution” the infamous self-deportation approach that Romney promised during the Republican primary? Or is it the comprehensive immigration reform that Romney once supported, but now vehemently opposes? Is it any wonder Romney fails to explain? Not if the goal is to keep anti-immigration hardliners happy without further alienating Latinos. However, he seems to forget that the Republican primary season stretched from spring 2011 through spring 2012 and provided plenty of information about his immigration position that Latino voters already seem well aware of, judging by recent polling.
(SCREEN: “BIPARTISAN SOLUTION FOR IMMIGRATION”)
America’s Voice interjects – Romney and other Republicans are always in favor of a “bipartisan immigration solution”—that is, until it comes time for a vote. For example, the traditionally bi-partisan DREAM Act would be the law of the land if Republicans had not voted against it by a 36-3 margin in the Senate (along with 160-8 in the House) in December 2010. The same with comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. In 2006, a comprehensive bill did pass the Senate with bipartisan support, but it was blocked by Republicans in the House.
CRAIG ROMNEY: –“working with leaders of both parties. I encourage you to listen to him.”
America’s Voice interjects – We agree – you should listen to Mitt Romney’s avowed stances on immigration. If you cut through Romney’s recent vague platitudes on the topic, you’ll find that he provided plenty of substantive remarks on immigration in the primary season and remains tethered to these hardline approaches. If you listen to Romney on immigration, you’ll hear a candidate who pledged to veto the DREAM Act; who views state laws like Arizona’s “show me your papers” SB 1070 as a “model” for the nation; and who thinks that smart immigration reform is constructed around a “self-deportation” policy for the entire nation.
MITT ROMNEY: “I’m Mitt Romney, and I approve this message.”
America’s Voice interjects – And, until we hear otherwise, Romney also still approves of the hardline immigration stances he took in the primary season.