Joel Benenson, President Barack Obama‘s campaign pollster, told reporters on Thursday that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s “pretty harsh” stance on immigration would work against him if he ends up competing against Mr. Obama in the November presidential election.
“If Mitt Romney puts a Hispanic candidate on the ticket, I don’t think Hispanic voters are going to look at that and say, ‘Oh, yeah,’ and ignore the fact’” that he is vehemently opposed to the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, Mr. Benenson said. The DREAM Act would allow illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors to gain citizenship if they graduate from college or join the military. “If you’ve been espousing the policies they have that are pretty harsh on immigration, to think that you can turn your vote numbers around by putting someone on the ticket because they’re Hispanic” will not sway voters, he added. Mr. Rubio, nicknamed the “crown prince” of the Tea Party, was born to Cuban immigrants.
Mr. Benenson said that the former Massachusetts governor had repeatedly shown that he was completely out of touch with ordinary Americans. In his view, this is Mr. Romney‘s weakest point.
“Mitt Romney has, kind of through earned media, earned his biggest vulnerability: he is not in touch with the lives of ordinary Americans and doesn’t really care about the struggles they’re facing,” Mr. Benenson said. “That’s happened in the earned media without much of a campaign coming at him from anyone else […] He had no qualms about bankrupting a company and walking away with millions of dollars,” he added.
In an email, Mr. Romney‘s spokeswoman Andrea Saul dismissed Mr. Benenson’s comments and wrote that Hispanics would actually benefit from a Romney presidency.
“Perhaps President Obama’s pollster should survey the opinions of the 24 million Americans who are either out of work or underemployed,” she said. “What he would find is that Hispanics and other minorities have been disproportionately impacted by Obama’s failed economic policies and they are desperately looking for someone like Mitt Romney to create jobs and turn around this bad economy.”
Mr. Benenson also told reporters that Mr. Obama would seriously struggle to win Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia on November 6.