News / USA

Obama Addresses Hispanic Organization, Responds to Romney Criticisms

Members of the audience take photographs as President Barack Obama shakes hands at The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ Annual Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, June 22, 2012.Members of the audience take photographs as President Barack Obama shakes hands at The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ Annual Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, June 22, 2012.
x
Members of the audience take photographs as President Barack Obama shakes hands at The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ Annual Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, June 22, 2012.
Members of the audience take photographs as President Barack Obama shakes hands at The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ Annual Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, June 22, 2012.
WHITE HOUSE - In a speech to a major Hispanic organization in the key election battleground state of Florida, President Barack Obama sought to solidify his support among Latino voters, a group that will be crucial to his hopes for re-election in November.  

Hispanic voters may well determine who wins the White House.  They could swing the election to either candidate in key battleground states such as Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia in the East, Colorado and Nevada in the West.

Mr. Obama last addressed NALEO, an organization representing elected Latino officials, more than three years ago pledging to be a partner in the White House for Hispanics.

In 2008, he won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote and opinion surveys show him with an overwhelming lead over Romney among Hispanics.  But Republicans in Congress have blocked his efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.

Speaking to the conference on Thursday, Mitt Romney criticized Mr. Obama's executive order ending deportations of thousands of children of illegal aliens, saying the president only did so to win Hispanic votes.

Mr. Obama said while not a "permanent fix" his decision was the right thing to do.

"They are Americans, in their hearts, in their minds, they are Americans through and through, in every single way but on paper, and all they want is to go to college and give back to the country they love," said President Obama. "So lifting the shadow of deportation and giving them a reason to hope, that was the right thing to do, it was the right thing to do."

Mr. Obama noted Romney's pledge to veto the DREAM Act, legislation blocked by Republicans that would give young immigrants a pathway to citizenship.

"Your speaker from yesterday has a different view," said Obama. "In his speech he said when he makes a promise to you he will keep it.  Well, he has promised to veto the Dream Act and we should take him at his word."

In his speech on Thursday, Mitt Romney did not specifically mention the Dream Act.  He described Mr. Obama's decision as a "stopgap measure" but did not say if he would reverse the policy if he is elected president.

Romney said Hispanics have a real alternative to casting their votes in November for Mr. Obama, who he asserted has failed to fulfill his promises to the nation's Hispanic voters.

"I believe he is taking your vote for granted," said Romney. "I have come here today with a simple message.  You do have an alternative.  Your vote should be respected and your voice is more important now than ever before."

Also addressing the Hispanic organization on Friday was Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who is a potential Romney vice presidential running mate.

He suggested that Mr. Obama used his executive order to end deportations for political reasons, asserting it wasn't a "coincidence" that the president had not spoken to the Hispanic organization in three years.

He decried the use of the immigration issue for political reasons by both political parties, urging what he called a balanced approach.

"There are too many people that have concluded that this issue unresolved is more powerful," said Rubio. "They want it to stay unresolved.  It is easier to influence elections, it is easier to use to raise money.  The only way to solve it is a balanced approach that recognizes that this is complicated."

In his remarks on Friday, President Obama said the Dream Act and immigration reform in general continue to be blocked by "stalemate" in Congress.  Republicans who had worked in the past for reform were "driven away from the table by a small faction in their own party".

Mr. Obama said as long as he is president he will not give up the fight for immigration reform.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid