Jeb Bush: GOP needs to ‘stop acting stupid’ toward Latinos
Ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush reiterated his call Tuesday for the Republican party to “stop acting stupid” in its efforts to court Hispanic voters.
Bush, whose wife is Mexican, was put in the spotlight as the GOP positioned itself as a more diverse party than its voting record would indicate; according to the Miami Herald, Bush told the audience at a Hispanic Leadership Network event that the party’s future is to have an “open and hospitable” tone.
“The conservative cause would be the governing philosophy as far as the eye could see,” Bush said. “And that’s doable if we just stop acting stupid.”
Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, won 44 percent of the Latino vote en route to his reelection in 2004. Comparatively, recent polls show this year’s GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, has only won the support of 26 percent of that audience – nearly 40 percentage points less than incumbent President Barack Obama.
Though Republicans have been accused of racial bias for championing anti-immigrant legislation in states like Arizona and Alabama, some high-profile Latino Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have insisted on downplaying the topic, calling it “a gateway issue” to reaching their communities while emphasizing the economy as more of a key concern.
In trying to explain Romney’s inability to connect with Latino voters, some Republicans have blamed outside forces: Monday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said Obama’s commanding lead was due to “race-baiting.”
According to Politico, Bush made similar remarks in a separate interview with CNN host Piers Morgan.
“To answer your question about why it is that people may not relate to Mitt Romney, they’re seeing TV ads that make him into the devil incarnate,” Bush said, though he did not name a specific commercial. “And then he’s not been as comfortable with showing what’s in his heart and who he is, and that is what it is.”