Mitt Romney’s hardline stance on immigration has left supporters concerned that he is in danger of losing the highly coveted Latino vote in the upcoming presidential election. When questioned on the issue, however, Romney appeared unconcerned by the potential ramifications of alienating Latino voters.
“I’m sorry, what are you asking?” Romney responded to a reporter at a recent fundraiser in Sioux City, IA. “The Latino vote? What is that?”
The reporter attempted to clarify her question and was interrupted by the presumed GOP presidential nominee.
“Latinos can’t vote, can they?” Romney asked. “I mean, don’t you have to be a US Citizen to vote? I strongly believe that illegals should not be given voting rights,” he said firmly.
“I also stick by whatever it is I may have just said,” Romney added.
When pressed on the issue during an interview later that week with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Romney did begin to backpedal slightly.
“Latinos can vote? Really?” he asked incredulously. “I’m surprised by this. I mean, I’m just saying, my lawn guys wouldn’t even take a check,” he said, referring to an investigation by the Boston Globe in 2006 which found that Romney had employed a lawn care company that regularly hired illegal immigrants.
The candidate then paused, listening intently as an aide whispered in his ear. The aide’s comments were not picked up by Romney’s lapel microphone, but Romney himself could be heard murmuring, “So there are legal Latinos? In America? Ok…ok…Fine.”
“This interview is over,” he told Wolf Blitzer, then turned to the camera.
“Vota por Romney!” he said with a wide smile. “Me encanta los latinos.”