McCain says that Republicans need to talk about immigration in a “humane” way in order to win over Latinos. (Getty Images)
By JORDAN FABIAN
Happy Monday folks, here are some of the headlines that dominated the weekend in politics.
Associated Press: McCain Hispanic vote ‘up for grabs’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John McCain said Sunday that the potentially powerful Hispanic vote in the upcoming presidential election remains “up for grabs” because neither President Barack Obama nor Republicans have convinced these voters that they are on their side.
The one-time GOP presidential hopeful, whose own 2008 candidacy was shaped in part by immigration, said that large Hispanic populations in his home state of Arizona and elsewhere are listening carefully to what Republican candidates have to say on immigration and could become a “major factor” in 2012.
“I think that the Republican party has to discuss this issue in as humane way as possible,” he said. He later added, “the enthusiasm on the part of Hispanics for President Obama is dramatically less than it was in 2008, because he has not fulfilled his campaign promises either. So I view the Hispanic vote up for grabs.”
McCain’s line is true in some ways: Republicans could likely win over more Latinos by softening their tone on immigration. Democrats have used the Republicans’ tough rhetoric on immigration against them while appealing to Latinos, hoping to ingrain the GOP candidates’ harsh words into the minds of Latino voters before the general election.
But questions linger over how many votes they could actually gain. The party’s brand has been tarnished in the eyes of Latinos on other important issues such as the economy. Fifty-seven percent of Latino voters trust President Obama and the Democrats on the economy compared to only 24 percent who trust Republicans, according to a Univision News/Latino Decisions poll released last month.
McCain has also shifted on the immigration issue similar to the way other GOP candidates have this election cycle, such as Mitt Romney.
In 2007, he was a primary sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the Senate and stood behind the proposal, which nearly derailed his GOP presidential primary bid in 2008. Still, he received only 31 percent of the Latino vote in 2008 against Obama.
But running for reelection to the Senate in 2010, while facing a conservative primary challenger, McCain tacked to the right on immigration. He cut a campaign ad saying that he would “complete the danged fence” and threw his support behind the state’s controversial immigration law.