One of the more humorous aspects of the many GOP debates thus far has been each candidate's attempt to break down the bad reputation that Republicans have among Latinos -- not to mention the many attempts at proving to be the most Latino-friendly candidate. And from botching the Spanish language to uniformly professing their love for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who ironically has often been anti-immigration, the candidates appear to be struggling.
To break down the struggle, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa faced off against former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday as Latino political insiders with opposing views.
Gutierrez went with the argument that Latinos are Republicans -- they just don't know it yet. He said that Republican values are "so similar" to Latino values of "family, faith, hard work," and that as soon as more Hispanic families enter the middle class, "they're going to realize that they want to keep the money that they've worked so hard for."
The Democrats have won over the Latinos with rhetoric, Gutierrez claimed, not with action. He said that President Obama has done nothing tangible for the demographic and that Gov. Romney has the solution: to "look first at the legal [immigration] system because the legal system is quite flawed."
For Villaraigosa's part, he responded: "American values are Democratic and Republican values." He then accused the GOP of being "way out of whack," citing Romney's vow to veto the Dream Act if it passed nationally.
Villaraigosa said that Obama has called on Congress "again and again and again to pass, not just the Dream Act, but comprehensive immigration reform" and that it was the lack of votes in Congress that has stalled action. He said that Latinos care about jobs and education in addition to immigration. He also defended President Barack Obama's record with Latino voters, adding that "It's the President who's help to secure two million jobs that Latinos have right now, six million overall with the Recovery Act."