Some political pundits have recently speculated that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wouldn’t add great value as a running mate to likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, because his status as a conservative Cuban-American wouldn’t attract the broader Hispanic demographic.
Rubio took strong umbrage to such thinking in an interview with Politico
“I’ve never said that me or anybody’s last name ends in a vowel automatically guarantees anything,” he said. “I’ve never claimed that and, more importantly, I would say that’s borderline offensive.”
Dividing Cubans against other Hispanics is absurd, Rubio said. “I mean, my wife’s not Cuban. Her family’s not Cuban.” he said. “I’m surrounded by neighbors, friends, co-workers. I don’t live in a bubble, especially in Miami, where we’ve got people from all over Latin America that are our neighbors, our friends, go to school with our kids.”
Rubio has urged the Republican Party to tone done its immigration rhetoric to avoid alienating Hispanics. He doesn’t see Democrats having any lock on the demographic.
“The Hispanic voter is just as well-informed as any other voter in the country, and it has to be earned, and it has to be earned through a message and a vision and a set of policies that inspire people and unite people and move people forward. And I’ve always said that’s what Republicans need to do,” Rubio said.
It’s the White House that seeks to divide Hispanics, Rubio said. “This notion of dividing Hispanic groups against each other is par for the course of this administration that’s constantly dividing women against men, poor versus rich,” he said.
“This administration can’t help itself in terms of dividing people against each other because they know they can’t win on their record, including their record with the Hispanic community.”
Last week, Rubio proposed an alternative to the DREAM Act, which would provide short-term residency rights for the children of illegal immigrants. The Democrats’ version offers permanent residency.
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