Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich’

What is going on here? Has the Luis Fortuño love for Mitt Romney gone sour?

Really, Luis? That is how you treat a friend?

Just last month, the pro-statehood and Republican governor Fortuño traveled to Florida during the height of the Sunshine State’s GOP primary to endorse Mitt Romney. This week, with Republicans now campaigning in Puerto Rico for a March 18 primary (yes, in Puerto Rico, you can vote in primaries but you can’t vote in the national November elections), Fortuño held a meeting with Santorum today. Huh?

This is what happened today in San Juan at La Fortaleza, according to El Nuevo Día (original report is in Spanish, and we have provided a rough translation of the quotes), after Santorum met with Fortuño (press access was limited):

  • Santorum assured that he would support statehood for Puerto Rico if the Puerto Rican people chose that option in November’s plebiscite and he is elected President. “It is the responsibility of a U.S. President to hear the voice of all Americans, including the territories,” Santorum said. “Puerto Rico is a very important part of the United States and I will take the responsibility to represent all Americans.”
  • Santorum also talked about how he is good friends with Fortuño, since they both attended the same church in the Washington DC area. Santorum said that he was a key player in bringing Medicare to the island and that he has a good relationship with the current Resident Commissioner, Pedro Pierluisi (a Democrat) as well as Pedro Roselló, an ex-governor of Puerto Rico and a pro-statehooder.
  • When he was questioned about Fortuño’s endorsement of Romney, Santorum said that said many other governor have done the same. Santorum will visit several churches on the island and also meet with other pro-statehood leaders, including Jennifer González and Thomas Rivera Schatz.
  • END also confirmed that Romney will visit the island later this week and that Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are considering visits.

Maybe Romney will have some words for Fortuño. Like, hey, dude, why you dissing me?

As for Santorum, his position is clear: you want to be a state, Puerto Rico? English has to be the primary language. Sorry.

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2012 is a critical year for national politics, but it is also one for the island nation of Puerto Rico. The prize? A governorship and a non-binding vote to check in on the country’s preference for political status.

Most Americans on the mainland have no clue about the history of Puerto Rico, its relationship with the United States, the fact that Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and that Puerto Rico is going through a social and economic crisis that has resulted from decades of bad politicians and a passive electorate.

This Sunday, March 18, the Republican Party will hold its primary in Puerto Rico, which is ironic, since Puerto Ricans (although they are US citizens) can’t even vote in the November election. Mainstream media will gloss over the coverage, ignorantly making the whole Puerto Rican dilemma a one-issue situation (political identity) and “proving” that the GOP is seriously taking the US Latino vote into account.

That is the mainstream media’s view, and it is so far from the truth.

The reality is this: politics in Puerto Rico is a game, and a bad one at best, one that has reached high school levels. If you used reality shows to compare the US primary season with that of Puerto Rico, the US would be THE APPRENTICE while Puerto Rico would be JERSEY SHORE. You think Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are criticizing Mitt Romney, who by the way is being endorsing by pro-statehood and GOP Latino Darling Governor Luis Fortuño? Come down to Puerto Rico, where the fight has moved to social media. In one corner, Fortuño, the new GOP Latino IT Guy vs. Alejandro García Padilla, his opponent from the island’s Popular (pro-commonwealth) Party. Will these guys be doing viral videos of shooting laptops soon?

Example One: Fortuño’s Campaign Gets Into a Stupid Twitter War with Reuters:

So what does the PNP do? Post an image on Facebook and they go on Twitter to call Long an “activist of Occupy Wall Street.” So, when in doubt, personally attack a reporter. That won’t play well, will it?

Granted we could be snarky and ask the PNP to actually edit their spelling errors in Spanish (Espana, pais), but we won’t. However, we do find it laughable and sad that a 15.2% unemployment rate is being seen as “good news” for the island. In addition, the chart also confirms that Puerto Rico’s credit rating is pretty low as well. Finally, the chart does nothing to combat the original findings of the December report.

Example Two: Take Your Fight to Facebook and Look Like High School Girls In the Process:

Someone, anyone, who has a clue about political campaigns needs to send a memo to Fortuño and García Padilla: social media is NOT the place to attack your opponents, it is not the place to “celebrate” your popularity (look at all the LIKES we got), and it is definitely not the place to post pictures that can easily be downloaded and screen captured and shared worldwide. Are these guys STATESMEN or are they really 14-year-olds? Based on their social media silliness, we chose the latter. Here is just one visual from Fortuño’s Facebook page (over 55,00 likes):

Governor Fortuño and His Wife, bad cell phone pic and all.

Granted, we will give AGP some Facebook credit (also around 55K likes). At least the photos they post aren’t that bad. But then you get status updates like these from AGP (we have translated): “I present ideas, they respond with insults. And then they come after my family. I am not going to shut up. They only have 8 more months. Instead of insults, ideas.” (btw, that status update got over 1,073 likes).

Wait, maybe these two candidates understand social media, more so that others. Maybe they know that Puerto Rican voters LIVE on Facebook. And when you get stories about AGP being at a “strip club,” you know that this will only get uglier. (BTW, AGP said he spent 50 dollars in a Seattle sex shop in 2006 to buy a gift for his wife.)

And by the, García Padilla is no angel himself, since his party is slinging mud about $1,398 in Krispy Kreme donuts spent with campaign funds of pro-statehooder and House of Represenatives President Jennifer González.

But the fact remains, this is still so HIGH SCHOOL, it is sad. Puerto Rican politics has become one giant social media circus. Yet the sadder thing is that the electorate is responding. And somewhere in heaven, Albizu Campos is shaking his head. What have we become? Where are the real leaders? Will they ever show up? Do they even have a Twitter account?

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Never underestimate the power of an active Puerto Rican who is passionate about politics. Today at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference in Miami, the issue of the island’s political status and how poorly CNN handled it last night was front and center. A new post by Univision News presents a very detailed account of what both GOP candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney had to say about the upcoming November plebiscite question.

Americans will never accept a flag with 51 stars in it?

Here is what was said and guess who was in the middle of it all? Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder, the CEO of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce in Florida and an self-described Fortuñista. Here is an excerpt of what Unvision reported. It started with Gingrich bringing up the CNN question:

…Gingrich noted that the question was “one that unfortunately was not covered very well last night and I regret that Wolf Blitzer did not turn and ask the rest of us.”

“I have had a firm position on the right of the Puerto Rican people to have a referendum,” Gingrich said to applause. “I am not dictating the outcome of the referendum because there are several options and the Puerto Rican people have to make that decision.

“But I think they have every right and I support their right to have a referendum to decide on statehood or not and that is something which I would actively support as their right to have a referendum and then, as every other state has, to negotiate the process of accession if that’s what the people of Puerto Rico want to do,” he added.

Then it continues when Cuevas-Neander jumps in.

“Mr. Speaker, I am the lady of the question,” she said, standing up in the front of the audience. “Our Puerto Ricans have given more men and women to the United States Armed Forces than any other state in the union. We have four million Puerto Ricans in the United States who are voters. We have 52 percent of our children who are in poverty. The question is very simple – you want our vote, yes or no?”

“The question is do you believe that we are able to be a state or not? Simple.”

“I just said what I believe and if you don’t like it I am sorry we disagree,” replied Gingrich. “I believe the people of Puerto Rico should make the decision.”

“What I’m telling you is if the people of Puerto Rico make the decision that they want to be a state,” Gingrich continued to applause from the crowd, “I will work actively to help them negotiate the process of accession to the United States, but the people of Puerto Rico have to decide their future. I would welcome them if they make the decision, but I will not tell them what decision they should make.”

An hour later, according to Univision News, Mitt Romney talked about Puerto Rico. Romney supports statehood.

An hour later, Romney addressed the issue in his remarks at the conference, receiving a warmer response from the crowd, including from Cuevas-Neunder, who stood and applauded the former Massachusetts governor.

“I’m looking forward to the time when the people of Puerto Rico make their decision about becoming a state,” he said as the audience cheered. “Wow, we’ve got some friends here.”

“I think it’s in November you’re having a referendum and I expect the people of Puerto Rico will decide that they want to become a state and I can tell you that I will work with [Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño] to make sure that if that vote comes out in favor of statehood that we will go through the process in Washington to provide statehood to Puerto Rico.”


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