Published October 19, 2012
Comedian Paul Rodriguez is not joking.
The man who made his mark in Hollywood finding humor in just about everything is – in a deadly serious way -- hitting back at fellow Latino celebrities Eva Longoria and Rosie Perez for their recent biting jabs at Mitt Romney.
"When it gets personal, like they did, it goes below the belt,” he said.
Rodriguez is featured in a new Latino-targeted ad for Romney, whom he is supporting after what he says is disappointment over President Obama. Rodriguez says he’d been a lifelong Democrat and voted for Obama in 2008.
Longoria drew fire Thursday from Romney supporters for her retweet of a lewd message about Romney.
The actress, a co-chair for Obama's campaign, retweeted a tweet that read: "I have no idea why any woman/minority can vote for Romney. You have to be stupid to vote for such a racist/misogynistic tw*t."
She later deleted the retweet and apologized. That came days after Rosie Perez, the actress, who has been very active in supporting Obama, appeared in a YouTube video mocking Romney.
In an interview with Fox News Latino hours after Longoria’s Twitter controversy, Rodriguez said that while Longoria and Perez have a right to support any presidential candidate, they do not have a right to “strike below the belt and be mean-spirited” in attacking Romney.
"If I said mean-spirited things about President Obama I'd be called a racist, a bigot," Rodriguez said.
He says Perez and Longoria are part of the rich Hollywood elite, and that it is hypocritical of them to blast Romney as an out-of-touch rich man.
“Rosie Perez is not poor,” he said. “They’re a lot richer than I am.”
“They don’t know the issues, they don’t know anything about foreign policy,” he said. “I’ve been to Afghanistan, I’ve served my country. I’m not some someone who’s lying around my Hollywood pool and thinking about how I can get some publicity."
Trevor Neilson, Longoria's political advisor, had little to say about Rodriguez's comments.
"Eva loves Paul Rodriguez very much. She has worked with him, and respects his political views and opinions," he said. "Paul is obviously well educated and respected, and Eva supports anyone who is involved in their civic duty."
Last year, Rodriguez appeared in a movie, "Without Men," that starred Longoria and Christian Slater, that was about "women living in a remote Latin American town who are forced to pick up the pieces and remake their world when the town's men are forcibly recruited by communist guerrillas," according to IMDB.
"She's a beautiful woman," he says. "I've known her for many years. She's enthusiastic about her man [Obama]. She's sincere about her enthusiasm. I would just ask my fellow Latino celebrities to respect my enthusiasm for my candidate."
Efforts to get a comment from the Obama campaign were not successful.
In Perez’s video, backed by a super PAC-powered campaign tied to the Jewish Council for Education and Research and the American Bridge 21st Century, the actress takes shots at Romney’s comment at a private fundraiser earlier this year in which he said that attracting more voters might be easier if he were Latino.
Perez laughs at the comment, then says: “Think of all of our Hispanic-American presidents. From Jorge Washington to Jorge Bush. And who can forget Presidente Jimmy Smits” referring to the character President Santos on the show “The West Wing.”
“What if you were just a little bit gay, Mitt,” Perez says. “Think of all the advantages that would provide.”
She adds: “Unfortunately for you Mitt, you were cursed with the hard-knock life of growing up as the son of a wealthy governor and auto executive.”
Rodriguez appears in a new ad, released Thursday, in which he says that Romney would be better than Obama at handling the economy -- which, he says, will benefit Latinos.
Rodriguez, who was born in Mexico to farmer parents and raised in East Los Angeles, says he became frustrated by Obama when minnows were classified an endangered species, prompting water supply crucial to many farmers to be cut off in the San Joaquin Vallen in California. Rodriguez became active in the cause, saying crops were dying and farmers were struggling as a result.
The comic says that pleas by him, political leaders and farmers in the area were ignored by the Obama administration.
He says he met with Romney this year, and that the candidate assured him he would address the problem facing the farmers.