Photo: Mitt Romney
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Wednesday presented “Juntos con Romney,” which will be in charge of efforts to attract the crucial Latino vote.
The group will be headed by Bush administration Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former Puerto Rico Attorney General Jose Fuentes and the former president of the Small Business Administration, Hector Barreto.
“The Hispanic community has been especially hard-hit by President Obama’s policies,” Gutierrez said. “Instead of spurring economic growth and creating jobs, President Obama has only expanded government and hurt job-creation.”
“We need a leader who will bring back jobs, help small businesses, and ensure that the American Dream remains for future generations,” the former commerce chief said.
The Romney campaign is making his experience in business his main argument for attracting voters, but among the Latino community, forecast to be a key voting bloc in the presidential election, the former Massachusetts governor still must make his case.
Romney “spent his life in the real world, creating jobs for middle class families and growing businesses,” another committee member, Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño said.
“As governor of Massachusetts, he turned a $3 billion deficit into a $2 billion rainy day fund. I can’t think of better qualifications than that to tackle our record unemployment and skyrocketing debt,” Fortuño said.
Juntos con Romney also includes New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Florida Sen. Florida Marco Rubio - touted as a possible vice presidential candidate - and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Jaime Herrera and Raul Labrador, among others.
According to the latest voter surveys, President Barack Obama maintains a broad lead over the Republican hopeful among the Latino community: 61 percent to 27 percent.
In addition, the Democratic incumbent has an approval rating of 61 percent for his handling of the presidency among U.S. Latinos, a good bit higher than the 48 percent approval he has among the population as a whole.
It is calculated that to win the presidency, a candidate will require at least 40 percent of the Latino vote, which is forecast to be key especially in swing states like Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico.
According to projections by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, Hispanic turnout in the November election will set a record with at least 12.2 million voters going to the polls.