Korn to Newsmax: GOP Must Reach Out to Hispanics

Friday, 09 Nov 2012 10:58 AM

By Todd Beamon and John Bachman

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Jennifer Korn, executive director of the American Action Network, tells Newsmax TV that “if you want to expand your voting bloc, then you need to just start talking to other people than yourself.”
“That’s what conservatives and Republicans need to do,” Korn, who leads the organization’s Hispanic Leadership Network, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview.
“They need to go into those Hispanic communities — not be afraid to go into areas that are heavily Democratic and talk about the issues, because Hispanics, yes, they might identify as Democratic — maybe over 60, 65 percent — but when you actually look at the issues on education, on the economy, on jobs, they’re pretty conservative.”
Korn, who served on George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, said that Hispanics played a key role in delivering Florida, Nevada, and Colorado to President Barack Obama on Election Day — “and as we look at the numbers even more closely, you’ll probably see that in Virginia and Ohio, Hispanics also made a difference, even though they are only about 5 percent of the Hispanic vote.

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“In the last election cycle, Barack Obama got 67 percent and McCain got 31 percent. That’s an 8 percent spread of Hispanics going for the Democrats.”
Tone and rhetoric are crucial when trying to reach Hispanics, Korn said.
“Something that we always advise for conservatives is that they talk about immigration reform. Even though it’s only — depending upon which poll you’re looking at — second or fourth on Hispanics’ minds as important, it’s the tone that we use, and we sort of turn off Hispanics when we use harsh rhetoric. And so we can talk about immigration reform in a better way.
“We can talk about national security. Hispanics would like a secure border. The myth that Hispanics want amnesty is ridiculous. We talk about having a guest-worker program. We can talk about re-hauling our visa system right now, which is a mess.
“We have something called the [Diversity Visa Program], where 50,000 people get to come here just randomly,” Korn added. “Why don’t we put those in the ‘family’ and ‘work’ categories where they belong, so the visas system reflects the needs of the United States?”
And any comprehensive immigration reform should center on these areas, Korn said.
“What we’d like to see is that President Obama be a leader, like he did not do in the first four years. He’s going to have to change his tone first. He’s going to have to work with Republicans.
“Those issues we can get bipartisan support on,” she added. “But the president has to stop talking harsh rhetoric against Republicans and blaming them for everything. And then, the Republicans need to come to the table and work with him.”


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