Huffpost Politics

Julian Castro, San Antonio Mayor, Enters National Spotlight With Democratic Convention Speech

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San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro entered the national spotlight with his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night.

Castro didn't mince words in criticizing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He argued that the former Massachusetts governor's policies would "dismantle" the middle class.

"We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don't accept is the idea that some folks won't even get a chance," he said. "And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican party are perfectly comfortable with that America."

The AP reports:

Castro also taunted Romney for his shifting positions on issues like abortion rights, gay marriage and his own push for universal health care as governor of Massachusetts.

"Gov. Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it isn't pretty," Castro said.

The Romney campaign shot back at Castro's claim the GOP presidential nominee is insensitive to the middle class.

"Middle class families understand that they are not better off than they were four years ago because President Obama's liberal policies have failed to turn around the economy," spokesman Ryan Williams said.

The San Antonio Mayor was introduced by his twin brother Joaquín Castro, who currently serves in the Texas state legislature.

The AP reports:

The Hispanics with the highest profiles in this year's political conventions, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, stand as opposites in a cultural and political split that has divided millions of U.S. Latinos for decades.

Republicans chose Rubio, who is Cuban-American, to introduce Mitt Romney at the party's convention last week. Democrats, meeting this week in Charlotte, N.C., picked Castro, who is Mexican-American, as keynote speaker, the role that launched a young Barack Obama to national political prominence.

Although they often are lumped together as Hispanics, Rubio and Castro are emblematic of acute political distinctions between Mexican-Americans, who are the largest Latino group in the U.S., and Cuban-Americans, who are the most politically active. Despite their shared language, these two constituencies have different histories in the United States and are subjected to distinctions in immigration policy that go easier on Cuban immigrants.

Castro told the AP, "Historically, many Cuban-Americans for the last few decades have tended to be a little more conservative. So it's not surprising that you would see Sen. Rubio and the Republican nominee for Senate in Texas, Ted Cruz, running as Republicans." He added, "And I don't begrudge them for that. I think the policies they espouse are wrong, are not the best ones. But, you know, they're doing what they believe. And I applaud them for that."

Watch Castro's speech at the Democratic National Convention above.

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