Posted on January 25, 2012

Newt Gingrich Removes “Anti-Immigrant” Romney Ad After Scolding by Sen. Marco Rubio, Other Hispanic Leaders

Marc Caputo, Miami Herald, January 25, 2012

Sen. Marco Rubio scolded Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign over a Spanish-language radio ad that accuses rival Mitt Romney of being “anti-immigrant.”

“This kind of language is more than just unfortunate. It’s inaccurate, inflammatory, and doesn’t belong in this campaign,” Rubio told The Miami Herald when asked about the ad.

“The truth is that neither of these two men is anti-immigrant,” Rubio said. “Both are pro-legal immigration and both have positive messages that play well in the Hispanic community.”

By mid-day, Gingrich’s campaign said it would pull the radio ad out of “respect for the senator’s wishes.” About the same time, former Sen. Mel Martinez and a group of Hispanic leaders aligned with Romney in issuing a letter demanding Gingrich remove the ad.


Earlier, Gingrich defended the ad during an interview at Univision where he attacked Romney as being too hardline and too unrealistic about immigration.

“He certainly shows no concern for the humanity of the people that are here,” Gingrich said.


Both Romney and Gingrich are in Miami on Wednesday for speeches about Cuba and Latin America.


Already, about 54,000 early ballots have been cast in Miami Dade, where nearly three-quarters of the Republicans are Hispanic.


Democrats and liberals have tried to paint the Republican candidates as anti-immigrant or even anti-Hispanic for opposing legislation such as the DREAM Act, which provides a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants — mainly college students and soldiers.


Earlier in the campaign, Gingrich was accused of sounding like a Democrat when he bashed Romney’s time leading Bain Capital, a private-equity firm that, at times, had profited from restructuring companies and laying people off.

Despite the condemnation from conservatives, though, Gingrich went on to surge in South Carolina, where he drubbed Romney on Saturday.

Two days before, Gingrich began running his Spanish-language ad, which begins in shocking fashion by playing an excerpt of Fidel Castro repeating his trademark line: “Patria o muerte, venceremos!” — Fatherland or death, we shall overcome.

Romney in 2007 had mistakenly associated the Castro line with a call for a free Cuba during a speech. Some in the crowd of the Cuban-exile community were aghast.

“Unlike Romney, who uses statements from Castro, Newt Gingrich has fought against the regime,” the ad says, noting that Gingrich helped pass the Cuba-trade crackdown law, Helms-Burton.


Rubio bears no personal ill-will to Gingrich, who helped support him when Rubio was Florida House Speaker in 2007 and 2008. Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush are headlining a Friday Hispanic Leadership Network event where they’ve invited all the major GOP candidates. Gingrich on Monday night began airing a new, positive Spanish-language TV ad.

The candidates Republican candidates initially balked at attending a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce forum tied to Univision, but Gingrich and Romney have decided to attend today. {snip}