Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, Thursday, April 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Mitt Romney’s campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom caused a kerfuffle recently by saying that in the general election Romney could simply erase his extreme conservative positions from the primary “almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
Now that Mitt Romney is combining his campaign operations with the Republican National Committee, he is, for all intents and purposes, the nominee. And so the process of erasing extremism has begun.
As Daniel Libit reports in the Daily, the RNC intends to introduce a major initiative to appeal to Latinos. “The RNC will unveil a Hispanic coalitions team with state directors in Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and New Mexico,” Libit writes. “The swing-state undertaking is part of a larger effort to stem the tide of Latino disaffection with the Republican brand—at least enough so that trouble doesn’t turn into certain disaster in the general election…. Perhaps most noteworthy of that operation is its emphasis in reaching out to voters in Spanish, at times exclusively, despite the calls of some conservative activists and Republican lawmakers who are currently to pushing English-only legislation in Washington.” The Romney campaign has plenty of room for improvement in its Spanish language outreach. Currently there is no Spanish language version of its website.
Democrats are determined not to let Romney run away from his positions on immigration that are wildly unpopular among Latinos. For example, Romney opposes the Dream Act, which enjoys support of 90 percent of Latinos. The Democratic National Committee is organizing conference calls for reporters with Latino Democratic congress members nearly every day. On Friday morning they gladly pulled one together after Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senator who wrote that state’s draconian anti-immigration law, said that he and Romney have an “identical“ position on immigration. “Romney’s locked into the most extreme position on immigration,” said Representative Charlie Gonzales (D-TX) on the DNC’s Friday call. “He supports states passing laws [similar to Arizona’s] meaning we could have 50 [state] immigration laws.”
Romney and his Republican supporters are also attempting to avoid responsibility for their opposition to women’s rights. Throughout the primary season Romney has pandered to opponents of women’s rights in the most cowardly and dishonest manner. He refused to state in a debate whether states should be allowed to ban contraception, pretending that even though he went to Harvard Law School he is unaware of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut that overturned state laws against contraception use. In a later debate he insisted that his healthcare reform law in Massachusetts did not require Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception for rape victims, as if such a requirement would be a bad thing. He was timid in his criticism of Rush Limbaugh’s sexist smearing of contraception advocate Sandra Fluke. And Romney promised to end funding for Planned Parenthood.