ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
ORLANDO, Fla. — A liberal super PAC is using the contentious issue of immigration to highlight what the group sees as Mitt Romney’s “two faces to the Hispanic community.”
The super PAC, Priorities USA Action, released a memo on Saturday contrasting Romney’s statements about immigration policy while campaigning outside Florida with those he has made in the state ahead of next Tuesday’s primary here.
“A lot of people just come here or come across or walk across the border, that have no skill, no education, and are looking for a free deal,” Romney said at a September 2011 campaign event in New Hampshire.
But at a Univision forum in Miami earlier this week, Romney, sought to make it clear that he was “pro-immigrant.” He used the venue to hit back at rival Newt Gingrich who has been saying the opposite: “We don’t attack each other with those terrible terms. I’m not anti-immigrant. I’m pro-immigrant. I like immigration,” Romney said.
The memo, penned by Priorities USA senior strategist Bill Burton, accuses Romney of “pandering” to Hispanics after spending years trying to “appeal to the worst nativist fears of some Republican primary voters.” Burton writes that even before Florida “Romney had already done permanent and irreversible damage to himself with Hispanic community.”
The group, along with the Service Employees International labor union, is running a Spanish-language ad on Florida radio hammering home the notion that Romney has “two faces” (or as the ad says, “dos caras”) when it comes to immigration.
A poll released this week by Latino Decisions for ABC News and Univision showed that if the general election were held now, Romney would claim only 25 percent support from Hispanics nationwide, compared to 67 percent for President Obama.
“If he succeeds,” in winning the nomination, Burton writes, “Mitt Romney will be performing substantially worse with America’s fastest growing group of voters than any recent Republican nominee.”
Read the full memo.