Rove: GOP's Rhetoric — Not Policy — Turning Off Hispanics

Thursday, 31 Jan 2013 11:20 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The GOP’s “harsh rhetoric,’’ not its policy, is to blame for the party’s lackluster appeal in the Hispanic community, Republican powerhouse Karl Rove says.

“Republicans have a perception problem with Hispanics,’’ the political strategist writes in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal.

“The major impediment is the harsh rhetoric of some Republicans regarding immigration. The solution is less about policy than about respect for the Hispanic community.’’

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The former chief political adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush says the GOP earned 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 and it can do so again “with the right policies, many more Hispanic candidates, and better messaging.’’

According to Rove, if the nation’s immigration laws are overhauled with major Republican support, the GOP will be able to “consistently’’ earn 35 percent to 40 percent among Hispanic voters.

He writes in the Journal that “having [Florida] Sen. Marco Rubio as the GOP spokesman on immigration issues will hasten the GOP recovery’’ as well.
Rove doesn’t believe President Barack Obama has “locked things up’’ among Hispanic voters, either, despite winning 71 percent of their vote in last November's election.

He says while Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney received only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote nationwide, he took 32 percent in the seven battleground states with exit polling, including 42 percent in Ohio.

In addition, Rove noted that Romney attracted more Hispanic votes than Arizona Sen. John McCain did in the 2008 presidential race in California and Nevada.

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