Former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart says Mitt Romney needs to adopt Ronald Reagan’s policy of "open arms" to attract more Hispanic and minority voters. The Cuban-born attorney, who retired from public office in 2010, tells Newsmax.TV it was Reagan’s optimism that compelled him to leave the Democratic Party and become a Republican in the 1980s.
“We saw the contrast of Ronald Reagan and then Jimmy Carter. It was really dramatic. In other words, Carter had left this country so demoralized, the economy was in shambles, but what was worse was what Carter had done, which I think was almost inexcusable, there was a lack of hope.
“Reagan personified what, not only was best about this country, but that this country could be better than ever, and that there would be more opportunity for more people than ever before," Diaz-Balart said.
During an exclusive interview from his Miami office, Diaz-Balart also said:
• Sen. Marco Rubio, would make a “tremendous vice presidential nominee”
• President Obama has “failed to lead” on immigration reform
• The United States’ economy is on the verge of “taking off and being stronger than ever,” if Romney, and a Republican led Senate are elected
Watch the exclusive video here.
When asked if he sees any parallels between this election year and 1980, Diaz-Balart said: “I think, you know, the key is that Reagan meant opportunity. He meant the opportunity not only to get a job, but to start a job, the opportunity to start a small business. And he was able to explain to the American people that that’s where our greatness has always been.”
Diaz-Balart, who represented Florida’s 21st Congressional District in Miami for 18 years, likened President Barack Obama’s policies to Jimmy Cater’s, and says they have led to a “lack of hope.”
“We need to avoid that. Really I think to a certain extent, to a great extent rather, that’s what this election is about and I think Gov. Romney, as the weeks and months progress, is going to be able to make the case to the American people that this is really a decisive election.”
Romney’s eventual vice presidential selection will, of course, contribute to his ability to make that case.
When asked if the possible selection of Sen. Marco Rubio (whose parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba) would resonate with all Hispanics, Diaz-Balart said: “The similarities and what unites the different Hispanic communities is much more significant than any division. You know, the fact that Marco is not only fluent, he is eloquent in Spanish in addition to being eloquent in English. When you’ve come from a Spanish speaking country that has an impact. You’re proud of someone whose parents made the decision to come here with nothing and yet look where Marco is.
“I’m not saying he’d be the only excellent vice-presidential nominee, but I know him well and we’re all very proud of him. But all Americans would be proud of him. Now yes it would be impactful for Hispanics, not just Cuban-Americans to have someone like Marco on the ticket.”
On the topic of immigration, the former congressman blasts President Obama for failing to lead. Diaz-Balart recalls the efforts of a bipartisan working group of which he was a member from 2008-2010, focused on immigration. He says President Obama never took the group seriously.
“We met every week sometimes once, often more than once and we worked out a comprehensive immigration bill that secured the borders, that made sure that no one who is legally waiting in line . . . would get ahead of them, but rather that those who had been waiting would have priority, legally waiting would have priority to try to bring them out of the shadows.
“He [Pres. Obama] knew about the existence of that bipartisan working group. He could have engaged us. He could have met with us or he could have appointed, like President Bush did, a couple members of his cabinet to try to tackle this issue. President Bush really tried to tackle the issue and President Obama did not. So that’s the real record. It’s a record that I think should speak for itself.”
In 2010, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into line, Diaz Balart predicted the health care law would “weaken the country.” Now he fears his prediction is coming true.
“First of all, we don’t even know how much it’s going to cost. and we don’t how were, if it were to remain on the books, we don’t know how it would be able to be paid for, except with new and extraordinary taxes. So that is going to weaken the American economy and, thus, the United States.”
Diaz-Balart continued to explain how the taxes included in the Affordable Care Act along with the president’s recently announced tax policy will also weaken the U.S. economy.
President Obama called an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, but only for those who make less than $250,00. The White House, however, failed to gain full support from Democrats. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, called for extending the cuts for those who make less than $1 million.
Many Republicans have dismissed the president’s tax proposal as a campaign talking point. Diaz-Balart said it illustrates his lack of business experience and the need for change in the executive branch.
“We want to see people hired. We want to see new businesses start. We want to see those trillions of dollars on the sideline being invested in the United States in new small businesses. So it’s a fundamental difference of approach but it really will make a difference. And this country’s on the verge of taking off and being stronger than ever but we need to make the right decisions and a key decision, now, in my humble opinion, is electing Romney president,” Diaz-Balart says.
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