Election Day is fast approaching with just a month to spare. With the first presidential debate of the 2012 election now in the books, the candidates are facing their last few chances to sway voters in their favor. One key demographic both President Obama and Mitt Romney have tried to court is the Latino population. Many pollsters predict the Latino vote will make a difference in several of the most contested “battleground states”, so will Latino voters decide who will win in November? Soledad O’ Brien explores the possibility in depth in a new documentary, “Latino in America: Courting Their Vote.” She comes to “Early Start” this morning to discuss the issue.
Mitt Romney and President Obama have each spent this past week touting to Latino Voters. Mitt Romney addressed Hispanic voters during a “Meet the Candidates” forum co-sponsored by Univision and Facebook at the University of Miami Wednesday night. Last night, it was President Obama’s turn.
He commented on Mitt Romney’s “47%” remarks and answered tough questions about his lack of progress on immigration reform. CNN Contributor and Republican Strategist Ana Navarro attended both candidates’ events. Yesterday, she told us about Romney’s rapport with the Latino attendees. Navarro joins Zoraida Sambolin on “Early Start” live from Miami this morning to compare it with Obama’s appearance.
“There was a dramatic difference in the rooms,” during Obama’s even compared to Romney’s event. Navarro says the crowd was more enthusiastic and partisan during Romney’s forum. Navarro says. “Governor Romney got a lot of help from that crowd,” she says. “They broke into Romney chants. They applauded. The hissed and booed when they didn’t like the questions. They gave him a lot of energy, a lot of support.” Navarro described that Obama received a lukewarm welcome in comparison. “Yesterday’s crowd for President Obama’s event was eerily quiet, solemn, respectful,” she says, “which turned it into a very sober, very somber almost at point conversation and dialogue.”
The Univision moderator greatly pressed the president on immigration reform. The President admitted that his greatest failure was not having achieved immigration reform, to which the moderator said he was thereby admitting to a broken promise. Navarro says “it was a very chilling moment in that room.”
Sambolin points out, however, that Romney has not laid out a concrete plan on immigration reform either. “I think it when it comes to immigration, Latinos are in a tough spot,” Navarro responds. “Romney has not committed to any specifics or proposed a plan. But if President Obama is reelected, he’s going to have an extremely hard time getting anything done,” she says. Navarro explains that the president “hasn’t a presented a plan in the first four years,” and that he’s “in all likelihood going to be dealing with a Republican allies, and he has not been very good at cultivating congressional allies on either side of the aisle.”
The main goal of President Obama’s appearance was to encourage Latinos to go to the polls. “President Obama enjoys a wide lead right now with the Latino voters,” Navarro says, “but his big problem is turnout.” “And repeatedly throughout the hour, he made this kind of appeal, ‘it’s up to you, it’s you the voters who can make the change.’”
The Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez on Mitt Romney and President Obama's speeches to NALEO conference attendees.
Paul Steinhauser on the issues facing attendees at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed officials.