Latina GOP governor takes dig at Romney’s “self-deportation” plan
Scratch New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s name off Mitt Romney’s list of potential running mates.
If you weren’t sold on New Mexico GOP Gov. Susana Martinez’s denial of interest in serving as Mitt Romney’s running mate, her most recent comments should seal the deal.
In a profile set to appear in this week’s edition of Newsweek, the nation’s first Latina governor scoffed at Romney’s suggestion that undocumented immigrants should “self-deport” and said it’s not surprising that many Latinos were turned off by the Republican presidential primary debate:
As we sit down at a local Starbucks, I ask about immigration. It’s a topic she has been reluctant to discuss since winning the Republican primary in 2010, so what comes next is surprising: a battle plan that contradicts nearly everything the GOP has been doing and saying since 2007, Romney’s “self-deportation” strategy included. “‘Self-deport?’ What the heck does that mean?” Martinez snaps. “I have no doubt Hispanics have been alienated during this campaign. But now there’s an opportunity for Gov. Romney to have a sincere conversation about what we can do and why.”
Martinez says that the Republican Party must offer up its own comprehensive solution on immigration that extends beyond just the DREAM Act, which the current debate is centered around while exploiting President Obama’s record on immigration, which includes record numbers of deportations.
But the Democrat-turned-Republican, added that her party’s problems appealing to Latino voters — who traditionally side with her old party — extend beyond the immigration debate:
“We’ve got to stop with the rhetoric,” Martinez says on her way out of Starbucks. “I’m so tired of the rhetoric. ‘Lower taxes,’ you know. ‘More opportunity.’ Da da da. It’s this five-liner of nothingness. There have to be some distinctions for people to latch onto.”
That’s a lot of straight talk coming from a rising star whom party officials are counting on to serve as a key surrogate to Latino voters in the fall.
And although Martinez would “check a lot of boxes” (to use a tired phrase) for Romney if she were on the ticket (female, Latina, hails from a battleground state), it would be difficult to imagine Romney’s campaign aides trying to justify their differences on immigration policy.
Instead of strengthening Romney’s ability to appeal to a key voting group (Latinos), it could instead highlight one of his most glaring weakness.
(Photo: Flickr, Albuquerque Public Schools)