Four strikes for Romney as he woos Latino vote
IT’S THE sort of efficiency they taught Mitt Romney at Harvard Business School. The Republican presidential candidate hit at least four birds with one stone yesterday in his address to the Latino Coalition’s business summit.
In less than an hour, Mr Romney managed to strike back at President Barack Obama’s 10-day-old crusade against his corporate record, stroke the business community, pander to Hispanics and deliver another instalment in his plodding series of theme-driven campaign speeches, this one on education.
The themes overlapped, as when Mr Romney slammed Mr Obama while expressing solidarity with persecuted businessmen: “In recent days, we’ve heard a lot about business from the president and if you’re feeling like you deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act, I can’t blame you,” he said.
“President Obama has decided to attack success.
“Make no mistake, when I am president, you won’t wake up every day and wonder if the president is on your side . . . Dividing people and pitting one side against another produces nothing but failure and mediocrity.”
The audience laughed at Mr Romney’s joke: “Some of my liberal friends love the economy; they just don’t like business . . . Sometimes I think the guys in Washington don’t like you very much. I love you.”
Mr Romney told a morality tale in which business, parents and state governments were heroes, while unions, the federal government, Mr Obama and Democrats were villains.
Inside the opulent dining room at US Chamber of Commerce headquarters, just across Lafayette Park from the White House that Mr Romney so wants to inhabit, the audience groaned when he quoted “a long-time president of the American Federation of Teachers” who allegedly said: “When children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of children.”
Teachers’ unions “wield outsized influence in elections”, Mr Romney said. Some teachers “are forced to pay almost $1,000 in union dues” he added in a scandalised tone. The two leading teachers’ unions take in $600 million each year.
“And 90 per cent of those funds went to Democrats.”
Mr Romney pretended to give Mr Obama the benefit of the doubt. He “must be troubled by the lack of progress,” Mr Romney said. But teachers’ unions were some of Mr Obama’s biggest donors.
“So President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses – and unwilling to stand up for kids . . . We have to stop putting campaign cash ahead of our kids.”
Mr Romney railed against “federal micromanagement” – seen in the “82 programmes in 10 agencies that spend $4 billion on teacher quality”.