A top adviser to President Barack Obama said Mitt Romney would "insult" the Hispanic community by choosing Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as his running mate.
David Axelrod's interview with the Spanish-language network Univision over the weekend comes as the Hispanic community is shaping up to be a hotly contested voting bloc in the general election this fall. While polling shows Latinos favor Obama over Romney, his popularity has slipped amid criticism that he has failed to make immigration reform a top priority.
I think it would be an insult to the Hispanic community to choose Sen. Rubio if he thinks that that is somehow -- if Gov. Romney thinks that's sort of a 'get out of jail free' card for all of the things and the positions that he's taken.
- David Axelrod
Univision host Jorge Ramos stated that Obama "broke a major campaign promise" on immigration reform and asked Axelrod if Romney could potentially win the Latino vote with Rubio as his running mate.
"I think it would be an insult to the Hispanic community to choose Sen. Rubio if he thinks that that is somehow -- if Gov. Romney thinks that's sort of a 'get out of jail free' card for all of the things and the positions that he's taken," Axelrod said.
Axelrod noted that Romney opposed the proposed DREAM Act, which would have offered undocumented young people a path to citizenship if they go to college or join the military.
"I think if people vote their self-interest, there's no question -- no matter who's on the ticket with Gov. Romney -- that the choice is clearly to vote for President Obama," Axelrod said.
"I don't think Marco Rubio will exonerate Gov. Romney for the very, very extreme positions he's taken on immigration and for his bad economics when it comes to the interests of the Latino community," he added.
In his boss's defense, Axelrod blamed Republicans for the failure to pass immigration reform and the DREAM Act, saying "it was the policy of the Republican Party to pander to the nativist vote within their party."