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Republican National Convention: Day 1

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RNC Day 1I’m in Tampa with my colleague, Maribel Hastings covering the Republican National Convention. Here’s our roundup of what happened in immigration yesterday — the sort-of-official-but-mostly-cancelled first day of the RNC:

Protesters from Occupy Wall Street, labor, and immigrant groups joined together despite the inclement weather to rally outside the convention:

Despite the reduced numbers from what was expected, they managed to articulate opposition to a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from corporate greed, to funding education, from defending women’s rights to union, student, and workers’ rights….

Among the more interesting signs, “Romney. Great for ‘68” and “If Liberals Hated America, We’d Vote Republican.”

Craig Romney, Mitt Romney’s Spanish-speaking son and one of his very few claims to the Latino vote, released a Spanish-language radio ad playing up the fact that Mitt Romney’s father was born in Mexico.  Seems a pretty weak way to try and win a sliver of the Latino vote.  Here’s the translation of the ad, courtesy of Talking Points Memo:

Hello. I’m Craig Romney. I want to tell you about my father, Mitt Romney. He is a man of great convictions.  He has been married to my mom for more than 40 years. Together they have five sons and 18 grandchildren. My father loves our country greatly. What he has achieved in life, he has done so by working hard. And it is with that same dedication that he will fight to put our country back on track and create jobs. He greatly values that we are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather George was born in Mexico. For my family, the greatness of America is how we all respect each other and help one another. It is the dedication, the sacrifice, and the hard work of those who struggle to achieve that dream for their families.  But on the path our country is on, each day it’s harder to achieve.  My father knows how to revive the American Dream and he needs your help to do it.  I invite you to get to know him and listen to his ideas.

Could the pandering be because Mitt Romney needs to win such a high percentage of the white vote—61%, among the highest a Republican challenger has ever won with that demographic—that he’s desperate to peel off any amount of Latino numbers away from President Obama?  That would also explain the need for the Romney campaign to be insanely optimistic about how it will do with Latino voters in the fall:

Jose Fuentes, a co-chairman of Romney’s Hispanic leadership team, told the Hill the campaign’s target number is 38 percent, roughly consistent with 2008 nominee Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) results with Latinos. That could be a harder target for Romney, though, given his views on immigration and other issues. While McCain was a supporter of immigration reform — a position he backed away from, but didn’t drop, during the election — Romney opposes paths to citizenship and the Dream Act, which a strong majority of Latinos support.

Thirty-eight percent is pretty far away. Nearly every poll puts Romney far behind President Barack Obama among Latino voters, 63 percent of whom support the president, according to the poll released Wednesday. That gap hasn’t closed since Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate.

Which further explains the need for Jose Fuentes to cite a bit of revisionist history yesterday during a Hispanic press briefing.  Here he is claiming that the 2010 DREAM Act failed in the Senate not because of Republican opposition, but because of Democratic obstructionism:

Mmm, yeah.  Media Matters and FactCheck.org are going to have to call you out on that:

Obama supported and lobbied for the DREAM Act, which would have created a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. The bill passed the House in December 2010, but failed in the Senate largely because of Republican opposition.