Perry Confident Romney Can Win Hispanic Vote

Gov. Rick Perry speaks with a reporter on Feb. 21, 2012, a month after dropping his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Gov. Rick Perry speaks with a reporter on Feb. 21, 2012, a month after dropping his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Gov. Rick Perry defended his support for Mitt Romney, predicted more minority voters would support Republicans in November and bragged about the state's economic development efforts in a live taping of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson on Wednesday.

Robinson, a former speechwriter for both Vice President George H.W. Bush and President Ronald Reagan, asked Perry how he reconciles his endorsement of Romney with his conservative reputation when Romney has not proposed any reforms “as sweeping and deep” as Perry and other conservative governors have implemented.

Perry argued that the president should not be making sweeping reforms, but that those decisions should be left up to the states.

“We need a president that respects the 10th Amendment and Constitution, and starts rolling back programs imposed on the state. President Romney is going to roll back Obamacare,” Perry said. “He understands that is a great move into the states' sovereign rights to deliver services they should be doing, not the federal government.”

Robinson also asked Perry about Romney's chance at winning over more Hispanic support leading up to the election, citing a poll that put President Obama ahead of Romney 70 percent to 14 percent among Hispanic voters.

Perry said polls are only a “snapshot in time,” and said the tide would turn by election time.

“You can spin it as many ways as you want, but at the end of the day, this administration that is currently in power has America on a downward trajectory — no sugarcoating it,” Perry said. “Whether you're Hispanic or African-American, is that the way you want this country to go? I would suggest it will be a overwhelming no."

He shrugged off Robinson's suggestion that Texas could become a majority Democratic state as Hispanics begin to outnumber Anglos in the coming decade, saying that as Hispanics become wealthier and more educated, they will turn to the Republican Party.

“We will become majority Hispanic, but they will become Republicans,” Perry said. “When you delve into the character of Hispanics in Texas, these individuals are incredibly patriotic. When we look at the young men and women serving our country, we see a substantial number of Hispanics. You see people with strong familial ties and values of the Catholic church that are very much in line with the values of the Republican Party.”

Texas Democrats took issue with that.  

"We're seeing that Republicans in Texas are increasingly hostile to the Hispanic community," said Rebecca Acuña, a spokeswoman for the Texas Democratic Party. "Democrats are better for Hispanics, and as we mobilize and work on getting out the Hispanic vote, Democrats will do better across all states. I think without a doubt that Texas will become a Democratic state, and that's because people are feeling the consequences of devastating Republican policies."

Perry also took the opportunity to reassert that the Texas economy is doing well relative to other states in the nation, citing 3,600 jobs Apple is set to bring to Texas with its expansion, and the state's recent "Golden Shovel Award" from Area Development magazine for attracting new businesses and encouraging business growth.

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