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September 19th, 2012
01:18 PM ET

Romney's 'helpful to be Latino' comment met with sarcasm, humor

By Alicia W. Stewart, CNN

(CNN) - Just as Mitt Romney's campaign ramped up outreach to Latino voters at the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, his "off the cuff comments" that it “would be helpful to be Latino" to win the presidency were met with sarcasm and humor.

"Pobre guey! What Mitt doesn't realize is that if he were Mexican, there's a 94.6% chance that he would've already been deported by his opponent,” CNN Contributor Ruben Navarette wrote on his Facebook page.

Opinion: Romney better off as a Latino?

"It's a terrible joke," said Matt Barreto, author of “Ethnic Cues: The role of shared ethnicity in Latino political participation.” "There is no evidence that Latino candidates have an easier time getting elected. As someone that studies this professionally, this is not true. Minority candidates have a much harder time of winning elections."

In a secretly recorded video obtained by Mother Jones, a liberal magazine, the presidential candidate spoke to donors at a private fund-raiser last May on a variety of topics.

Secretly taped comments put Romney back on defense

One comment generating response: that had his father been "born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this," Romney joked. "I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino."

"Pulling an Elizabeth Warren," an attendee responded in the video, citing Elizabeth Warren's controversial claiming of Native American heritage.

Who's Native American? It's complicated

"As a community organization, we know that there is tremendous power in the Latino vote," said Eric Rodriguez, vice president at the National Council of La Raza. "Between 2010 and 2011, there were 300,000 Latinos in the U.S. lifted from poverty largely from working. If that is truly what candidate Romney believes, the evidence shows that he is off base."

Romney makes case to Latinos, vows 'reasonable solution' on immigration

Critics say the comments, which Romney defended in a press conference and interview, are symbolic of the campaign’s disconnect with Latino registered voters, who favor President Obama 68%-26%.

It's a point Romney concedes in the video. "We are having a much harder time with Hispanic voters, and if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African-American voting block has in the past, why, we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation," Romney said.

Opinion: Can Romney connect with Latino voters?

The Romney campaign has released Spanish-language ads highlighting the Romney's ties to Mexico, and as recently as Monday, Romney cited that history in his remarks to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Presidential candidate has relatives south of the border

Interest in the presidential candidate’s history even prompted a parody Twitter account, @MexicanMitt:

In January, when Univision anchor Jorge Ramos asked if Romney could be considered the first Hispanic president, Romney clarified, “I don't think people would think I was being honest with them if I said I was Mexican-American."

Cindy Rodriguez contributed to this report.

soundoff (16 Responses)
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    August 5, 2013 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. Steve Johnson

    His Latino vote was really a racist slur if you stop and think about it. He was questioning th IQ of BOTH blacks and Latinos. He was implying that the only reason Obama gets the black votes because he is black... so if he were if he were Latino, then they would all be so stupid as to vote for him... not being racist myself, just understanding what he is saying. Does anyone else read it that way?

    September 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jorge

    And these socially challenged, self-absorbed, obnoxious d0rks want us Latinos to play their Uncle Tom games and "assimilate" into their vision of us as perpetual second-class citizens while at once giving them our vote????

    September 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jrdz

    Looks like Mitt Rom Bot 2.0 is failing time for an upgrade not. This idiot would say anything to anyone and promise them the moon to get their vote than turn around and say he did not say that. What a joke he is onto himself.

    September 20, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. jubilirao

    Romney is making clear his views step by step......1 During the convention he asked the voters to assess whether the President looks like him indirectly showing his racial slant and this was pointed out by Clinton in his convention speech. 2 In his fund-riser video he commented about the 47% 3. Now in the Univision meeting he talks about his chances if were a Latino. How dumb a Presidential candidate can be. Let us laugh all the way to the Ballot box on Nov 6.

    September 20, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. rbj

    Should we recheck his birth certificate?

    September 20, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. mcskadittle

    what is really sad is rubio, he has sold his soul to be the republicans token

    September 20, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. Phi Thomas

    listen to the contents of the tap there is nothing funny about his comments, he is so dishonest with the Nation about his plans but the guy was an open book for 50K. The tone, contents and the way he was talking to that closed door audience lets you know regardless of how its framed the guy had malicious intent in his words. Nothing Funny Period

    September 20, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Mitt is continuously showing his REAL beliefs on all aspects of our society. He hates anyone who isn't like him... Über rich, white, and Morman. Sleep with your backs to the wall! Ha ha.

    September 20, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    Thats ok, Im latino and I'm laughing because even if Rommey was latino he still would not get the majority of the latino vote. Latinos support the middle class.

    September 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Maybe Romney could make a bunch of empty promises to the Latinos, for their votes. It worked for Obama in 2008, when he made a bunch of empty promises to win the election.

      September 19, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • jenni

        Oh, you mean like Bushy did???

        September 20, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. judy

    mitt has no clue and if left alone will screw up his own campaign. He has no idea what people in the middle class or the poor look think or act like. We are all invisable to him. Forward

    September 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. drake mallard

    Surprising that the mitt romney isn't mentioning that his great grandfather, and his FIVE wives, fled TO Mexico, .Or that when his grandfather was thrown OUT of Mexico, the family went on welfare.

    Romney favors a U.S.-Mexico fence, opposes education benefits to illegal immigrants and suggests those here illegally should deport themselves by leaving the country voluntarily

    September 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • jenni

      Exactly. Revisionist and selective self-promotion of his very own log cabin story. I'm embarrassed for him and his family. Go away, Dimwit.

      September 20, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ray

    "if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes committed to the Dems as the African-American has in the past, why, we're in trouble as a party and as a nation," Romney said.

    So according to Mitt, USA's troubles is due to African-Americans and perhaps Latinos.

    Way to go Mitt. Tells us how you really think.

    September 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |