Key Republicans Try To Clean GOP Image On Spanish-Language Television

Earlier today, the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel reported that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele “distanced the Republican Party from SB-1070” in an interview with Univision. Steele attempted to reassure Latino viewers that Arizona’s new immigration law is not “a reflection of an entire country, nor is it a reflection of an entire political party.” Over the past week, at least two other Republicans have appeared on Spanish-language television echoing Steele’s remarks: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Florida senatorial candidate Marco Rubio (R).

Rubio took to the Spanish-language airwaves to unambiguously affirm that he does not support gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum’s (R-FL) efforts to bring SB-1070 to the state of Florida. Rubio stated that though he thinks the law is okay for Arizona, he does not think other states should “imitate it,” particularly, Florida.

In English, Rubio has been less outspoken on the topic. A couple weeks ago, he declined to even take a stance on it. A spokesman for Rubio simply told Politico, “He believes the best approach is for the federal government to deal with border security and immigration, and he hopes state efforts like Arizona are a wake-up call for Congress to get its act together.”

Meanwhile, this weekend, Diaz-Balart also frowned on McCollum’s Arizona copycat bill in an interview with Al Punto’s Jorge Ramos. However, Diaz-Balart insisted that such efforts have “bipartisan support.” More specifically, Diaz-Balart was attempting to justify why he still supports McCollum’s bid for governor. According to Diaz-Balart, it’s because “there is no difference” between Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink and the two other Republican gubernatorial candidates on the issue of Arizona’s immigration law. Diaz-Balart stated outright that Sink has said she is in favor of SB-1070 and, that as governor, she and McCollum would be pretty similar on the issue.

However, Wonk Room could only find evidence that suggests otherwise. Shortly after SB-1070 was signed into law, Sink stated that it “unfairly discriminates against U.S. citizens, residents and lawful visitors.” Sink also has affirmed that she opposes bringing Arizona’s immigration law to Florida, saying, “I don’t think that the Arizona law is right for Florida, given the potential economic losses and the need for our local law enforcement to focus on fighting violent crime.” According to Sink, it would be very, very bad for Florida.”

Watch this week’s Spanish-language interviews: