Romney in Miami: Ich bin ein Fidelista

posted at 6:00 pm on March 19, 2007 by Allahpundit

It’s always gratifying when political pandering on ethnic lines backfires. Even if it’s one of our own guys who ends up taking the shrapnel.

Coming soon: Mitt tells the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League he’s going to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

People chuckled when presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon raised in Michigan and elected in Massachusetts, bungled the names of Cuban-American politicians during a recent speech in Miami.

But when he mistakenly associated Fidel Castro’s trademark speech-ending slogan — Patria o muerte, venceremos! — with a free Cuba, listeners didn’t laugh. They winced.

Castro has closed his speeches with the phrase — in English, ”Fatherland or death, we shall overcome” — for decades…

Romney punctuated his speech with ”Libertad, libertad, libertad!” to show his support for freedom in Cuba. But to some, he was echoing a line from Scarface, a movie notorious for its stereotyped portrayal of Cuban immigrants.

State Rep. Rene Garcia, for one, said he was ”unimpressed.” The Hialeah Republican grimaced when Romney called the state House Speaker ”Mario Rubio” — his first name is Marco — and mispronounced the names of U.S. Reps. Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

”He used the Cuba issue way too much,” Garcia said. “I don’t want to judge a man based on one speech alone, but it bothered me that he didn’t get the names right.”

Exit question: Is it really possible for a man hovering around single digits to be “hurt” by a gaffe?


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It might be a strategy to get attention. Pronoucing marco as mario is terrible language skills. That’s not news to me, but it is interesting.

Ouabam on March 19, 2007 at 6:09 PM

Is it really possible for a man hovering around single digits to be “hurt” by a gaffe?

In the single digits, is there anything called “bad publicity” – more people hear your name now than heard it before.

Thompson/Gingrich – 08! :P

lorien1973 on March 19, 2007 at 6:12 PM

Doh!

Nonfactor on March 19, 2007 at 6:13 PM

“Aye Carumba!”

Kini on March 19, 2007 at 6:13 PM

Exit question: Is it really possible for a man hovering around single digits to be “hurt” by a gaffe?

Hell, it might get him a bump…not unlike the prairie dog that rears its ugly head one last time before circling the drain.

I’m going to cash in on my Absolute Moral Authority as a conservative Hispanic; and proclaim utter joy at the fact that such blatant pandering blew up in somebody’s face. Oooohhhhhhh yeeeeaaaahhhhh………

Kid from Brooklyn on March 19, 2007 at 6:19 PM

‘’He used the Cuba issue way too much,’’ Garcia said. “I don’t want to judge a man based on one speech alone, but it bothered me that he didn’t get the names right.’’

Perhaps it’s because he hasn’t bungled the names of any of my pet people/causes yet; however, I find it hard to believe that any adult is actually going to be bothered by the fact that a man didn’t pronounce some names correctly.

Perhaps I have been vetting my candidates on the wrong issues. Maybe I should give them a list of my family genealogy and verify that they get all the names right. Be forewarned, there are some doozies in there, courtesy of the German side of my family.

JadeNYU on March 19, 2007 at 6:21 PM

He said that he would not rest until those infamous Mario Brothers were brought to justice.

right2bright on March 19, 2007 at 6:27 PM

If a poll falls in South Florida, and nobody cares to even read it, did it happen?

So long Mr. Romney – say, where is that Thompson fellow right about now?

major john on March 19, 2007 at 6:36 PM

¡Romney es El Panderista!

Ali-Bubba on March 19, 2007 at 6:46 PM

He said that he would not rest until those infamous Mario Brothers were brought to justice.

right2bright on March 19, 2007 at 6:27 PM

Snicker

Cuban’s aren’t Mexicans, they take pandering as an insult from what I can tell.

- The Cat

MirCat on March 19, 2007 at 6:51 PM

I think conservatives are especially sensitive to misspeaking and bad communications skills due to the Bush administrations tin ear. If George Allen hadn’t lost his seat he still would have been hampered by the insensitivity of the macaca comment.

I am not ready to give up on Romney, yet. But Thompson/Gingrich is sounding more and more pleasing to the ear.

Bill C on March 19, 2007 at 6:55 PM

Stick to English, please.

tommy1 on March 19, 2007 at 6:59 PM

Please, Fred. Pleeeeease.

Mark V. on March 19, 2007 at 7:24 PM

Speaking as a 50% Cuban, I just want to know what’s up with these Mormon undergarments I keep hearing about.

Enrique on March 19, 2007 at 7:27 PM

“And as for the terrorists, Say hello to my leetle fren!”

mikeyboss on March 19, 2007 at 7:28 PM

It’sa politically tone deaf and Florida is a swing state. Just ask the Goracle.

aengus on March 19, 2007 at 7:42 PM

prairie dog

Kid from Brooklyn at 6:19 PM

HAWWWW HAWWWWW HAWWWWWW

dyin’ over here. LOL!

RushBaby on March 19, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Exit question: Is it really possible for a man hovering around single digits to be “hurt” by a gaffe?

Only if someone puts him on the “ticket”….

PinkyBigglesworth on March 19, 2007 at 9:29 PM

Pienso que el no sabe el Espanol…

Mojave Mark on March 19, 2007 at 10:31 PM

It’s always gratifying when political pandering on ethnic lines backfires.

I agree. Now if boilerplate would just backfire every time a pol starts to speak that way.

Florida is a swing state. Just ask the Goracle.

aengus on March 19, 2007 at 7:42 PM

Just what I was going to say. Every Republican vote you can get in Florida is important. I couldn’t believe this happened.

Over at Babalu Blog, this was headlined as Mitt Romney Loses 2008 Florida Vote, in 2007!

INC on March 19, 2007 at 11:51 PM

Or instead of just accepting what the MSM said he said, you could actually find out what he said:

“I said at the outset that the threat in Latin America is unprecedented. I say that because the Castros have a second tyrant and he has great wealth, from oil. We must stand just as firm against Caudillos like Hugo Chavez, tutored by Fidel Castro. Chavez and Castro are brothers in blood, intent on personal gratification at the expense of their people. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro have stolen the phrase – ‘Patria o muerte, venceremos.’ This phrase should not be used by dictators, but by liberators.”

Seems like another MSM hit piece that’s suckering in the lazy conservatives too.

Sebastian on March 20, 2007 at 2:51 AM

Sebastian,

Thanks for setting the story straight on what Romney said. So that leaves us with him mispronouncing some names. And?

I don’t understand where all this anti-Romney sentiment is coming from. He has a brilliant track record.

Thompson is a big McCain supporter which lowers him a lot in my estimation, and while I love Newt, the reality is that he is unelectable.

Buy Danish on March 20, 2007 at 8:14 AM

You’re probably too young to recall JFK’s famous “Berliner” gaffe. Though that was more whimisical.

honora on March 20, 2007 at 9:53 AM

A couple of my best friends are Cuban. I can tell you that Cubans were probably more interested in what he was saying, than how he was saying it. He should’ve just stuck to English. He probably screwed that one up.

amerpundit on March 20, 2007 at 10:26 AM

I don’t understand where all this anti-Romney sentiment is coming from. He has a brilliant track record.

Apparently some of it comes from Hot Air and Michelle Malkin. Michelle has a long piece at her site only directly quoting all the negative feedback from the MSM and bloggers. Plus she adds that Romeny used a Spanish accent. Does Michelle have some audio of the event that the rest of us don’t know about?

This was a speech given on March 9th. Yet the story doesn’t break till March 19th. So did the Miami Herald sit on the story, or did it take the MSM over a week to drum up some offense?

I expect better reporting from Hot Air and Malkin than just the knee jerk. Maybe it shows their own bias.

Sebastian on March 20, 2007 at 3:09 PM

Sebastian on March 20, 2007 at 2:51 AM

Can you link where you got that quote from?

csdeven on March 20, 2007 at 3:44 PM

Which quote? The excerpt from Romeny’s speech came from his website . The comment on anti-Romney sentiment came from Buy Danish here five posts up.

Sebastian on March 20, 2007 at 4:09 PM

The Mitt Romney Encylopedia has a bit different speech.

“I said at the outset that the threat in Latin America is unprecedented. I say that because the Castros have a second tyrant and he has great wealth, from oil. We must stand just as firm against caudillos like Hugo Chavez, tutored by Fidel Castro. Chavez and Castro are brothers in blood, intent on personal gratification at the expense of their people. Hugo Chavez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase – ‘Patria o muerte, venceremos.’ It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba.”

This seems to be closer to what the Miami Herald is quoting.

The same day coverage from CBS doesn’t hint at any controversy.

The next day coverage from the Miami Herald leads with “A little-known presidential candidate seeking a toehold in the nation’s biggest battleground state, Mitt Romney railed against Cuban leader Fidel Castro but did not repeat prior calls for a crackdown on illegal immigration in a speech Friday to the Miami-Dade Republican Party”

There seems to have been a video on youtube of his comments that has been taken down.

Googling around, I don’t see any negativity towards his speech until yesterday, 10 days after the event. Who exactly sparked the outrage at his remarks?

Sebastian on March 20, 2007 at 4:42 PM

Michelle has the Boston Herald cover on her blog with Romney photoshopped as a communist. She doesnt seem to realize this is standard operating procedure for the Boston newspapers. Romney had hostile press the whole time he was govenor. It is just now Romney has national attention.

How many times does Michelle complain about the MSM? Isn’t that the whole reason HOTAIR is here? Then she goes and falls for crap like this like a sucker?

I have no inside info but it is supereasy to see where this “controversy” came from. “Live Free or Die!” is the NH state motto, quite famous around these parts. If Cubans in Miami don’t relate to this that is a simple cultural misunderstaning which could be easily explained. Instead of explaining that, it took a week for the media to find a way to manufacture it into a controversy.

Resolute on March 20, 2007 at 6:16 PM

The original coverage of the speech by the same Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald mentions no gaffes. The only controversy is Mitt’s position on illegal immigration.

A cuban-american blogger who attended the speech the next day mentions no gaffes.

If Hillary, Kerry, Obama or McCain make a gaffe we hear about it the same or next day. I’ve looked through the major cuban-american blogs and the MSM coverage of the event and there is no mention of gaffe. Why did it take 9 days for Beth Reinhard to find this gaffe with Romney?

Sebastian on March 20, 2007 at 8:34 PM

AP, did you blow it here?

csdeven on March 20, 2007 at 10:13 PM