Before we got a chance to write about it, Newt Gingrich yanked a Spanish-language radio ad off the airwaves in Florida. The reason: No, it wasn’t a stellar fact-checking by journalists. Rather, it was Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s complaint that the ad’s criticism of Mitt Romney was “inaccurate, inflammatory, and doesn’t belong in this campaign.”
Gingrich’s ad had called Romney “the most anti-immigrant candidate,” a claim to which Rubio strenuously objected. He told the Miami Herald: “The truth is that neither of these two men is anti-immigrant. Both are pro-legal immigration, and both have positive messages that play well in the Hispanic community.”
Gingrich took the ad off the air out of “respect” for Rubio, his campaign told the Herald. The camp also said it would re-run an edited version of the ad.
Click below for an English-language transcript of the ad.
Castro recording: Fatherland or death, we shall overcome.
Announcer: Surprising enough this statement was also made by Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is a government liberal, from the state of and similar to Kennedy. He is the most anti-immigrant candidate. Mitt Romney may have the fame, but he does not have the substance to be our President.
In contrast, Newt Gingrich is a candidate that has committed himself to the Hispanic community. A Republican similar to Ronald Reagan, with experience. Unlike Romney, who uses statements from Castro, Newt Gingrich has fought against the regime with Lincoln and Ileana to approve Helms-Burton; he supported the formation of Radio and TV Marti; and is in favor of holding the Castro brothers accountable for the shooting down of the Brothers to the Rescue airplanes.
Newt Gingrich has given his word to the Cuban American community in writing and will not let us down. This January 31st vote for Newt Gingrich by punching number 12 in your ballot. [/TET]
Gingrich has criticized Romney for saying that under his immigration plan, illegal immigrants would leave the country by “self-deportation,” after they are no longer allowed to work in the United States without proper documentation. Gingrich told Univision, a Spanish-language network: “For Romney to believe that somebody’s grandmother is going to be so cut off that she is going to self-deport, I mean this is an Obama-level fantasy.”
That prompted Romney’s camp to point out that a Gingrich spokesman once used the same phrase to describe what would happen to the majority of illegal immigrants under Gingrich’s plan:
Concord Monitor, Nov. 29, 2011: “It’s likely the vast majority of them would self-deport,” said spokesman R.C. Hammond. He said a “very small percentage” of people would end up staying in the United States under the Gingrich proposal.
It just so happens that quote appeared in an article about how Romney was criticizing Gingrich for holding a view Romney himself once expressed: allowing some illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. while applying for citizenship.
So, to recap: Gingrich criticizes Romney for the same “self-deport” language his campaign once used, which appeared in an article saying Romney was criticizing Gingrich for the same immigration policy he once espoused.
Still following all this?
Whatever their past proposals, Romney now takes a harder stance on illegal immigrants (not those who are here legally), saying that illegal immigrants would have to return to their home countries before applying for citizenship. Gingrich says those who have been here for many years and are law-abiding, church-going productive residents should be allowed to stay.
The radio ad is perhaps more noteworthy for using a clip of Fidel Castro saying “patria o muerte, venceremos” (fatherland or death, we shall overcome) and then claiming that Romney “uses statements from Castro.” That’s a reference to a 2007 flub by Romney, in which he mistakenly thought the famous Castro phrase was a rallying cry for a free Cuba. Romney said that Hugo Chavez was trying to “steal an inspiring phrase.” Not in the way Romney thought.
As for the rest of Gingrich’s ad, it makes several accurate statements about Gingrich’s positions. It says he “has fought against the [Castro] regime” in getting the Helms-Burton law passed. That 1996 legislation called for economic sanctions against the Castro government, and Rep. Dan Burton has supported Gingrich’s claim that he helped push the law through. The ad also says Gingrich “supported the formation of Radio and TV Marti,” which are Voice of America Spanish-language broadcasts to Cuba from the U.S. The legislation funding Radio Marti was enacted in 1983, passing the House by a 302 to 109 vote, and funding for the television broadcasts was enacted in 1990. It passed the House with a voice vote. Finally, the ad says Gingrich “is in favor of holding the Castro brothers accountable for the shooting down of the [U.S.-based humanitarian organization] Brothers to the Rescue airplanes,” a 1996 incident that occurred shortly before President Bill Clinton said he would support the Helms-Burton legislation.
— Lori Robertson