Former AG Gonzales: Don't Count on Hispanics to Save Obama

Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 08:21 PM

By Todd Beamon and Kathleen Walter

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Hispanics are a crucial voting bloc in this presidential election, but that’s no assurance they will turn out in large numbers on Election Day, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tells Newsmax TV.

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“The Hispanic vote may become critically important, though it’s going to be interesting whether Hispanics are going to come out and vote,” Gonzales, who served GOP President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “It’s one thing to talk about Hispanics being an important voting bloc, but can we get them to come out and vote? We haven’t been that successful in the past, and so it remains to be seen how engaged they are going to be in this election.”

Urgent Poll: Election Day Is Next Tuesday. Obama or Romney?

Gonzales said that Hispanic voters are favoring President Barack Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney because of the positions many GOP candidates took during the presidential primaries.

“The truth of the matter is that I don’t think Republicans, particularly in the primary season, did ourselves any favors by some of the things that were said and the tone that these things were said with, particularly relating to immigration,” he said. “Generally, Hispanics believe in the rule of law, believe in the secure border, believe in law and order.

“But many Hispanics, even though they are here lawfully, they have friends or they know friends that know friends – people who are here undocumented that have been here for many, many years – that have been productive members of society and not engaged in any crimes.

“That kind of rhetoric, in my judgment has been harmful – and, of course, Gov. Romney has had a very, very tough primary fight, and his comments about self-deportation, have been, quite frankly, not very helpful,” Gonzales said. “What you see today is Gov. Romney attempting to take a softer tone on various issues that may resonate with the Hispanic community. In terms of how much progress he has actually made in that respect, it remains to be seen.”

Turning his attention to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, Gonzales said the uncertainty still surrounding the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other is going to affect whether voters back President Barack Obama at the polls next week.

“We are not quite sure yet what happened, who is responsible. If, in fact, there were bad decisions made, it’s not yet clear who made those bad decisions. It’s not yet clear what the president’s role was. Those questions will not be answered before the election.

“The American people are going to default to the domestic issues that remain at the forefront of this election,” Gonzales added. “People that are upset about Benghazi and that are being critical and vocal about it are predisposed to vote for Gov. Romney in any event. I’m just not sure it’s going to have much of an effect until we know exactly who is responsible for what.”

Urgent Poll: Election Day Is Next Tuesday. Obama or Romney?

Overall, on Benghazi, Gonzales said: “A lot of serious questions remain, and it’s imperative for the United States to understand exactly what happened and to find those responsible and hold them accountable. If we don’t do that, then no diplomat, no person from the State Department around the world is going to be safe.

“We know that al-Qaida is striving to attack U.S. interests and U.S. personnel, and it’s one of the reasons they felt emboldened to attack the US on 9/11 because we really failed to respond strongly to the attacks on our U.S. embassies in Africa and the 1993 US Trade Center bombing and, of course, the Cole bombing,” Gonzales added, referring to the suicide attack of the Navy destroyer USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 that killed 17 American soldiers and injured 39 others.

“It’s a serious situation and we really need to get to the bottom of it.”

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