Mitchell Reports | March 15, 2012
>>> if republicans want to win in key battleground states like florida, colorado, and nevada, they'll need to bring hispanic voters into the fold. but the 2012 primary campaign has alienated many in the hispanic community with republican candidates slamming everything from comprehensive immigration reform to decrying the dream act . joining me now to talk about it is politico's david cantonese. david, thank you for joining me. i want to talk about, yes, i know this is a problem for whoever the republican nominee is in 2012 , but in some ways, it's a bigger problem for the republican party as we move forward to 2014 , 2016 , 2020 . i don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but in 2008 , we saw republican john mccain lose the hispanic vote, basically 65/35. if that continues, the republican party is no longer a majority party in this country. am i correctly reading the demographics on that?
>> absolutely. remember, in 2004 , the last successful republican nominee for president, george with w. bush , carried about 42% of the hispanic vote. now a new fox latino poll is out showing mitt romney at just 14%. he cannot win a nationwide election just grabbing 14%. and it's republicans who are coming forward with this concern. you know, republicans that are in the romney camp, and also people on capitol hill , saying, this is going to hurt our candidates down ballot if we don't get this right.
>> one stat i was struck by, i'm a nerd, so i was looking through the 2010 census numbers, but of all of the growth in the united states , half of it came from the hispanic community, which i think frames the problem. as you've mentioned, there are some voices saying, wait a minute, fellas, we've got to be careful here. jeb bush , the florida governor of florida, before the florida primary , asked that the candidates tone down their rhetoric. and interestingly enough, newt gingrich had this to say recently about where the party is on immigration. let's play it and we'll come back and talk about it.
>> all i want to do is allow the grandmother to be here illegally, with some rights to have residency, but not citizenship, so that he or she can finish their life with dignity, within the law.
>> our problem is not 11 million grandmothers. our problem is -- all right?
>> you know, gingrich has also recently said that where the party is on immigration is a huge problem, his words, not mine. how do they solve it, dave? you know, 2012 doesn't certainly look like the time, given where romney and santorum have staked out illegal immigration . is this a 2016 issue?
>> first, there's going to be a pivotal to the general election at some point when we get through this primary race. the romney campaign hoping sooner rather than later. the romney campaign also says this. that immigration is not the top concern of hispanics. that his papanics are just like regular voter who is care about the economy, rising health care costs, education. they say it's not even in the top five. that's their response. but the undercurrent is there, as you said, the demographics are changing, and they know they have to get this right.
>> politico's dave cantonese, thank you for joining me.
>> sure. thank you.