Senator Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and highly-attractive-but-firmly-reluctant pick for the upcoming Veepstakes, has so far stayed pretty mum about endorsing a candidate for the GOP nomination. The Gingrich camp's Spanish-language radio ads in Florida calling Mitt Romney "anti-immigrant" in Florida, however, were apparently outrageous enough to loosen the stoical senator's tongue:
“This kind of language is more than just unfortunate. It’s inaccurate, inflammatory, and doesn’t belong in this campaign,” Rubio told The Miami Herald when asked about the ad.
“The truth is that neither of these two men is anti-immigrant,” Rubio said. “Both are pro-legal immigration and both have positive messages that play well in the Hispanic community.”
Rubio’s sharp rebuke comes a day after he subtly corrected Gingrich for comparing Romney to former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, branded by conservatives as a turncoat who left the party before Rubio beat him in 2010.
It goes without saying that Newt has motive enough to doctor Mitt Romney's stance on immigration in portraying it to the Hispanic community in Florida, but in an open letter, the Mitt Romney campaign's Hispanic leadership team is calling the advertisement downright untrue:
Dear Speaker Gingrich,
Recently, you began airing a Spanish-language radio advertisement in Miami where you attack Governor Romney for being “anti-immigrant.”
This advertisement is untrue, offensive and unbecoming a candidate for the Republican nomination for President.
We are writing to you today to pull down this offensive radio ad. ...
President Obama and his liberal allies have worked hard to caricature all Republicans as being “anti-immigrant.” Your radio ad borrows from those talking points, hurts the progress that Republicans have made with Hispanics, and undermines our party’s efforts to win Hispanics over on economic and limited government arguments.
But it appears that the Gingrich campaign is already pulling down the ad. The campaign's chairman conceded that "We respect the senator's wishes" (but, not to be confused with Romney's wishes, right?), demonstrating a very valuable lesson for GOP candidates this year -- you would be wise not to rouse the ire of the conservative, Hispanic, all-around influential rockstar Marco Rubio.