During the GOP presidential primary, Newt Gingrich called presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney the “most anti-immigrant candidate” in the race and ran Spanish-language ads calling Romney “anti-immigrant,” and it appears that Gingrich was right to worry that Romney’s policies would turn off Latinos in the general election. A recent poll shows that only a quarter of Latino voters see Romney positively.
Now that the primary’s over, however, Gingrich suddenly wants to sing a different tune. In an interview with Meet the Press’ David Gregory last Sunday, Gingrich claimed that by emphasizing his economic and education policies — which include massive cuts to education in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy — Romney can erase nearly all of his deficit among Latinos:
GINGRICH: The question is, if you campaign on those issues…does that overcome whatever the Democratic attack is? And I think he’ll probably get the same percent that George W. Bush did, which will be up in the 40s.
It’s unlikely that Latino voters, or any voters, for that matter, will embrace Romney’s less-education-and-more-tax-cuts-for-Donald-Trump polices if Romney campaigns openly on what he stands for. Such an open campaign appears unlikely, however. Romney has already attempted to obfuscate his views in the general election by trying to Etch-A-Sketch away the hardline immigration policies that he espoused during the GOP primary before he needed to woo moderate voters.
Back in January, Romney said his immigration plan would be to make undocumented immigrants “self-deport.” And he proudly accepted the endorsement of Kris Kobach, the anti-immigrant author of Arizona and Alabama’s immigration laws, who is still advising the Romney campaign about immigration. Since he effectively locked up the nomination, however, Romney tried (and failed) to distance himself from Kobach and a Republican Party official even tried to claim that Romney is “still deciding what his position on immigration is.”