Eliott’s Insight: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich Visit South Florida

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Miami Herald Political Reporter Marc Caputo and Eliott Rodriguez

Miami Herald Political Reporter Marc Caputo and Eliott Rodriguez

Eliott-Rodriguez-600x450 Eliott Rodriguez
Eliott Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning journalist and respe...
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Miami Herald Political Reporter Marc Caputo sat down with House Speaker Newt Gingrich during the Republican candidate’s recent visit to South Florida. Caputo got a chance to ask Gingrich about his strategy to win over Florida Republican primary voters and his attacks on Mitt Romney’s record as a corporate takeover tycoon.

“He said he created 100,000 jobs. Well did he?” Gingrich said. “ He gets to assert it, nobody gets to ask about it and we’re supposed to trust him. This sounds a lot like Obama’s stimulus plan.”

While in Miami, Gingrich made the obligatory candidate pilgrimage to Versailles Restaurant for a cafecito with the Cuban-American Republican old guard. He was followed every step of the way by Miami Congressman David Rivera, who was probably glad CBS4 Investigative Reporter Jim Defede was not there. Defede has been reporting on the ongoing investigation into Rivera’s finances.

At Versailles, Gingrich and Rivera took turns bashing Fidel and Raul Castro and vowed to put pressure on the Cuban regime. Sounds familiar? This is a scene we’ve seen played over and over again. The fact is, Castro and his brother have been in power now for five decades and U.S. politicians have done little that impacts democracy or the lack thereof in Cuba.

Caputo points out that 72% of Miami-Dade Republicans are Cuban-Americans so the old tried and true strategy makes sense for Gingrich.

Romney, on the other hand, may have a problem with Hispanic voters in Florida. At a pro-Romney event Friday, Miami Congressman Mario Diaz Balart was heckled by a student who supports the DREAM Act, which would allow the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition and have a road toward citizenship. Diaz-Balart was asked why Romney is against the act.

The contradiction may hurt Romney among Hispanic voters in a general election, but it may be cause for little worry in a Republican primary.   

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