msnbc | July 08, 2012
>>> very proud of our new venture, nbc latino .com just launched this past week and office politics , i talked with the man at the top, chris pena. we discussed the effects of a potential marco rubio veep pick but i began by asking him how mitt romney 's stand on immigration is playing out in the latino population.
>> hasn't gone over well, if you look at the numbers. really when latinos are asked about just on a straight party basis to vote forth republican candidate would you prefer the democratic candidate for president, they are leaning by almost 40 points toward president obama .
>> can mitt romney pivot and gain the latino vote? has the die been cast there?
>> mitt romney has the ability to reach certain groups within the latino community. and perhaps it's the puerto rican electorate in central florida , perhaps more conservative mexican-americans in nevada, mexico and certainly arizona a flash point with immigration. in targeted ways, mitt romney can have success with latinos as long as is it is not target the latino vote, it is more about the issues.
>> what about his time in mexico and his family's affiliation with mexico ? do you think that's lost on the sfloefrnlts i believe he mentioned it once recently, within the last month. but that's been -- that is a fascinating story about how his father, mitt romney 's father was born in mexico and how there is a thriving community of romneys just across the border. that would make him more relatable with latinos . but perhaps put him in a situation where he may get push back and some people would say why are you more sympathetic or why are your positions more sympathetic toward immigrants and latinos overall?
>> were that to change if he would were to pick marco rubio as his vice president?
>> the $800 million question. i go back and say most of the latino voters not cubans. and this will solve all of the problems. marco rubio does have recognition issues within the latino community. there aren't many latinos who don't know who marco rubio is and have to double check this but one poll that only showed 40% of latinos heard of marco rubio . he has only been a senator for two years. prior to that he was speaker of the house in florida, representing -- representing a district in miami.
>> with regard to the percentages, i know you are not a pollster, but they say that mitt romney needs to gain at least 35% of the latino vote to have a chance of this election.
>> maybe little too late and i think that number came from george w. bush gaining 35% of the latino vote, the last time he was elected. and so that seems to be kind of a magic threshold and you can't win the general election with less than 35% of the latino vote. looking like he can't get to that -- to that number, especially with what's happened on the immigration front are especially with the president running an end-around on congress and really seizing an issue that hispanics care about so much. so it's definitely an uphill battle for romney to get to 35% of the latino vote.
>> when you are not toiling away at 30 rock you are a proud dad of two kids, son 19, a daughter, 11, going on what?
>> the joy of my life. my parents wanted a better life for me, way and the the best life possible for kmirn. my son wants to be a certified registered nurse a necessary threatist.
>> awesome. and my daughter wants to be on stage some house, singing, dancing, which is why she is at arts camp this summer. but they keep me busy. they make me incredibly proud. my son finished his freshman year of college and he played high school football .
>> seeing him get beat up on the field?
>> that was really tough. now, my girl wants to play football. up next weekend, my colleague melissa harris-perry.