A top Democrat on Friday accused presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of having a problem with Hispanic voters that rivaled alcoholism.
“Mitt Romney has a Latino problem,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, told Univision News. “And like those who are alcoholic and go to Alcoholics Anonymous when they’ve got a problem, Mitt Romney should go to a place where he could learn what his problem is and really try to change his ways. You’re not going to get rid of that disease that infects you if you don’t treat it and you don’t believe it.”
During the Republican primary battle, Romney had courted conservative voters with anti-immigration positions. He called Arizona’s tough immigration law a “model” for the country; he promised to veto the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act; and he said that undocumented immigrants should self-deport.
But now that the former Massachusetts governor has pivoted to his general election campaign, he is considering support for a version of the DREAM Act sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and insisting that he only supported the uncontroversial parts of the Arizona immigration law.
The Washington Post noted that Becerra’s comments came as Romney was trying to appeal to Latino voters with Spanish-language TV ads.
A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (PDF) indicated that only 27 percent of Hispanic voters supported Romney, compared with 61 percent who supported Obama.
Romney’s campaign said Becerra’s comments reflected the “desperate and negative reelection campaign” of Obama.
“Democrats are lashing out with outrageous rhetoric because they’re frustrated at the reality that President Obama broke his promise to Hispanic voters while his party controlled Congress,” Romney adviser Albert Martinez told Univision.
With prior reporting by David Edwards
[Rep. Xavier Becerra via the Knight Foundation, Creative Commons licensed]