Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that handing the vice presidential nomination to Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) would be an "insult to Hispanics." The Washington Times reports:
"I think it would be an insult to the Hispanic community to choose Senator Rubio if the thinks that that is somehow—if Governor Romney thinks that's sort of a get-out-of-jail-free card for all of the things and the positions that he's taken," Mr. Axelrod said.
Mr. Rubio, considered a rising star in Republican circles, is Cuban-American and has become a major voice for the GOP's efforts to win over Hispanic voters and to project an inclusive image to the country as a whole.
Hispanics broke for Obama 67 to 31 percent in 2008. In 2012, Obama may be more vulnerable. His attempt to force Catholic institutions to pay for birth control could alienate the Latino population’s devout following.
The economy could open up even more doors for Romney. Unemployment among Hispanics rose from 10.3 in April to 11 percent in May, nearly three points higher than the 8.2 percent unemployment rate of the general population. Those numbers are not expected to get any better before November, even by the estimations of prominent Democratic allies.
Hispanic unemployment is projected to remain above 10% through 2012 in 14 states—including the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, according to the liberal Economic Policy Institute in Washington.