Florida’s heavy Cuban-Republican flavor made it tougher for Obama to win the state in 2008. Exit polls show he still carried the Hispanic vote by a sizable 15-percentage-point margin – but that’s less than half of the margin by which he beat McCain nationwide among Hispanics. President Bush won Florida in 2004 and carried the Hispanic vote by 12 points.
The Hispanic vote is growing in Florida — and disproportionately growing independent of the two main political parties, making it appear more up for grabs. Polls show Hispanic voters are like everyone else: overwhelmingly concerned about the economy, which is what Romney wants to talk most about these days.
But Hispanic voters are also more likely than non-Hispanic whites to favor the DREAM Act and oppose tough legislation like Arizona’s immigration crackdown. Romney favors the latter and opposes the former. He said during the primary that he would veto the DREAM Act and supported laws that would make life so uncomfortable for illegal residents that they’d “self deport.”
About that time, both Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush generically expressed concerns about the tone — not necessarily the substance — of the immigration debate among some in their party.
“I can’t stand to hear immigrants described in terms more appropriate to a plague of locusts than human beings,” Rubio writes in his new autobiography, An American Son, in which he faults liberals and conservatives over immigration. “I begin to wonder if some of the people who speak so disparagingly about immigrants would be just as worked up if most of them were coming from Canada.”
Romney hasn’t gone that far. But he has allied himself with immigration hardliners vilified by the left.
Since the primary, though, it appears Romney has opted to tone down the immigration talk to the point of silence.
On Sunday, in an interview with Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation, Romney was asked about Obama’s new policy, which the Republican had noted a few days before “can be reversed by subsequent presidents.”
Would Romney reverse it, just like he would veto the DREAM Act?
Romney wouldn’t say.
Paging Marco Rubio. Romney appears to be asking the question again: WWRD?