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Obama, Romney Set to Address Latino Leaders

by Jane Susskind, published

Much like last week's "dueling speeches" on the economy, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both scheduled to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) at the largest gathering of Latino political leaders in the country.

Taking place in Florida, the NALEO conference is the "premiere Latino political convention," attracting more than 1,200 Hispanic lawmakers searching for solutions to policy issues.

President of the NALEO, Sylvia R. Garcia speaks to the importance of the conference.

Like many Americans, the Hispanic community is facing a number of challenges, making it critical for the candidates to present real strategies that will make the American dream more accessible to this growing population group.

Romney will speak first, addressing the conference later today. And falling one week after Obama's announcement of immigration reform, the pressure's on.

On his campaign website, Romney highlights raising visa caps for highly skilled workers, securing the border, and granting permanent residency to eligible graduates with advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering as solutions to the issue of immigration. His stance on immigration, however, is anything but clear.

On Sunday's "Face the Nation", Bob Schieffer asked Romney on four separate occasions if he would repeal Obama's immigration decision. And on four separate occasions, Mitt Romney dodged the question. Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald explains Romney’s predicament:

He can’t praise Obama, but he can’t slam the new policy too hard and risk looking like he hates Latinos.

So what will he discuss? A source familiar with Romney's plans revealed that while Romney would hit on the issue of immigration, he would focus more on the economy, relating economic recovery to the Hispanic community.

“Mostly he’s going to talk about the economy and the focus is going to be jobs for Hispanics."

The source continued,“He is going to talk about immigration and he’s going to propose some solutions that he hopes to enact in a bipartisan way,” adding that there will be some "new stuff" addressed on Thursday's speech. His concludes, “Obviously he will attack the president on the political executive action that he just issued. We’re not going to shy away from attacking the president even if it’s at NALEO.”

In an op-ed for Calbuzz, Dan Schnur speculates that both candidates will talk less about immigration, and more about each other. Obama will attack Republicans for opposing immigration reform, and Romney will attack Obama's intentions, much like he did at Le Claire Park & Bandshell on Monday.

We will be updating you with live coverage of Romney's speech today, so tune in on Facebook, Twitter, and IVNetwork!

Will the speeches result in partisan attacks, or will Romney and Obama successfully outline solutions to the issues facing the Hispanic community?


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