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Friday, November 16, 2012
Republican Governor, Susana Martinez, has choice words for Romney and GOP
Martinez has generated buzz as a rising star despite her low national profile. | AP Photo
Susana Martinez criticizes Mitt Romney comments, maps way forward
James Hohman, 11-16-2012
LAS VEGAS — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the GOP’s most prominent Latina, chastised Mitt Romney’s rhetoric Thursday and called on the Republican Party to play ball on immigration reform.
“We have to start electing people who look like their communities all the way from city council to county commissioners to county clerks all the way through the state and up into national politics,” she told POLITICO and Yahoo News at the conclusion of the Republican Governors Association meeting here.
“We need to embrace them not just at election time,” she added. “We visit them, and they don’t appreciate that. And I don’t blame them for not appreciating that. We should not visit them when we need their vote and then walk away. And then four years go by and we go visit them again. We have to make them part of the solution, and the way you do that is by listening to them.”
She expressed disdain for Romney’s claim this week on a conference call that Obama won reelection because he offered “gifts” to minorities and younger voters.
“That unfortunately is what sets us back as a party — our comments that are not thought through carefully,” she said.
Martinez, born in El Paso and of Mexican descent, has generated buzz as a rising star despite keeping an intentionally low national profile. She has maintained sky-high favorability ratings in a blue state that President Barack Obama carried by 10 points last week. She also calls immigration “a problem that can be tackled.”
She’s been publicly critical of Romney before. In a May interview, she criticized his embrace of “self-deportation.” In September, she criticized the failed GOP nominee’s caught-on-camera assertion that 47 percent of voters are dependent on government, and returned to the topic here — but using harsher terms.
“It’s a ridiculous statement to make,” she said. “You want to earn the vote of every single person you can … It doesn’t matter whether individuals are in need of assistance of the government or individuals who are in college, it doesn’t matter. Why would you ever write off 47 percent?”
In August, Martinez introduced Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. She did a little bit of surrogate work for the campaign in Nevada and appeared alongside Romney at an October rally outside Denver.
As she did during her last appearance on the campaign trail with Romney, Martinez faulted Obama for not following through on his promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform in his first term.
“I offered early on — I think I was governor about a month when I met President Obama—and said, ‘I would like to visit with you in reference to border security, in reference to immigration. I’d like to be part of the discussion because I lived on the border all my life,’” she recounted just outside the casino at a resort owned by Steve Wynn. “I’ve never received a call.”
Asked why Obama increased his level of support among Hispanics nationwide from 2008, she pointed to the primary.
“You’ve got to get out of the primary as a Republican and then you’re now having to run against a Democrat and what you’ve said before and how that ties in,” she said.
Martinez believes that any solution needs to deal with those who have entered the country illegally but she noted that party leaders must carefully message it.