(CNN) - Mitt Romney has caught the attention of Latinos with campaign ads that highlight the significance of Sonia Sotomayor's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court - but it may not be the kind of attention he wants.
In a pro-Romney radio ad released this week in Ohio, conservative Jay Sekulow says that Rick Santorum's 1998 vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the federal circuit court "put her on a path to the Supreme Court."
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Sekulow heads the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative advocacy group founded by Pat Robertson that regularly files appeals to the Supreme Court on a range of hot-button issues, including same-sex marriage, affirmative action and abortion.
When Santorum voted for her confirmation in the late 90s, Sotomayor had been elevated by President Bill Clinton from the federal district court to a seat to the 2nd Circuit U-S Court of Appeals, based in New York.
In 2009, she was still a federal appeals judge when President Barack Obama nominated her to the Supreme Court. And by then Santorum had left the Senate.
In the ad, Romney notes that 29 of Santorum's colleagues voted against Sotomayor in 1998. The criticism echoes Republican attacks on "activist" or liberal judges.
But, that's not how it's being taken by some Latinos. "This unprovoked attack is another example of how Romney and the Republican Party are pushing the Latino vote to Obama," Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy said in his daily online message to pundits and press. "They forget that Judge Sotomayor is an icon for the Latino community. It's like attacking Martin Luther King or George Washington, for blacks and whites."
Back in February, Romney used a similar tactic in a Michigan television ad that asked if Santorum is ready to be president. In making its case, the ad uses as evidence that he voted for "liberal judge Sonia Sotomayor" and adds that Santorum "opposed creating E-Verify, a conservative reform to curb illegal immigration."
The Democrats jumped on the issue. "Mitt Romney has shown time and again that he is after the Tea Party vote, not the Latino vote, and with each attack he locks himself more to his extreme positions," Juan Sepulveda, Democratic National Committee Senior Advisor for Hispanic Affairs, said in a statement.
The tactic also caught the attention of Latino press. Univision's Tumblr reported on the ads and noted that the last direct attack on Sotomayor came when former candidate Rick Perry called her Montemayor accidently.
The Romney campaign responded to the Univision report with this statement from spokesman Albert Martinez: "Once again President Obama and his liberal allies are resorting to dishonest smears in an attempt to distract Hispanics from his abysmal record as President. Sonia Sotomayor is an activist judge who was handpicked by both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama because of her liberal sympathies and confirmed because Washington insiders like Rick Santorum did nothing to oppose her. This attack says a lot about how President Obama views the Hispanic community, as just another group of Americans he can pander to and divide for political gain."
Romney's not the only Republican to attack Sotomayor. Before he was a presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich was criticized by some Latino leaders and members of Congress when, during her confirmation hearings, he tweeted in 2009 that she was a racist for having once said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
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Gee, I was not aware that all hispanics are liberals? Why would conservative hispanics (yes, they DO exist) be upset with the correct portrayal of Sotomayer as a liberal?
Yes, it's just ONE MORE attempt by the race baiting Democrats to interject race into politics. The Democrat Party is truly the party of division and hate mongering. There is no limit to how low they will go, even if it means causing racial tension in the country.
How dare you say anything against The Wise Latina....
Somebody get this guy some tape – so he can put it over his mouth. Is his campaign just stupid or what? Like standing on a soapbox and saying MLK was a commie on MLK day. If his organization can't figure this out, he has no business being elected leader of the free world. He loses just on being dumb.
"Like standing on a soapbox and saying MLK was a commie on MLK day."
You do know that Dr. King was a Republican, right?
Na na na, they call him the Gaffer. He has divided the republican party with negative ads, now it is time to divide the rest of the population.
WOW! Mitt is talking crazy. So let me get this straight... POTUS thinks the supreme court should "more" reflect the populations of the USA by nominating a Hispanic Judge to the court. This action acknowledges the fact that the Hispanic population is growing and that they should have a representation on the Supreme Court. However, this act my Obama is seen as pandering?
My guess is that Romney can't name a single case in which he has publicly disagreed with Sotomayor's vote.
What an empty suit.
Well this latina is gonna spread the word to my other fellow latinos....This idiot just buried his campaign...SMDH
Fair is Fair asked
How dare you say anything against The Wise Latina....
Why do you have to say anything against her at all? Conservatives are redefining Webster's Dictionary's definition of single-mided ignorance. (Not you, but the ad.) How does attacking Sotomayor create jobs, balance the budget or fix the economy? It doesn't. It is a play on people's emotions and latent hatred.
Despite what Truth says, it is conservatives who are making this divisive attack to incite anger and excite the base. Democrats didn't run the ad. It was run by people in support of the Republican Party's crown prince, Mitt Romney.
Willard doesn't have to wonder why he's trailing the President by 20 points in New York.
edog - WOW! Mitt is talking crazy. So let me get this straight... POTUS thinks the supreme court should "more" reflect the populations of the USA by nominating a Hispanic Judge to the court. This action acknowledges the fact that the Hispanic population is growing and that they should have a representation on the Supreme Court. However, this act my Obama is seen as pandering?
Well, if Obama put her on the USSC because she was hispanic then he WAS pandering. The MOST QUALIFIED person should be nominated without regard to race. You do know there are laws against racial discrimination right?
Is Romney trying to lose this election or what???
Romney seem to say many things without thinking about how they will be interpreted by others
Can he really be that clueless? Why say something that might alienate a vital voting bloc in your upcoming election process?
Why is Willard lying again.He is also a liberal.You republicans understand you are running a liberal for a republican nominee.
Fair is Fair – You do know that J. Edgar Hoover thought that MLK and the the civil right movement was a commie plot right?
Besides, Stephen was using that as a simile. I'm sure you know what that is.
Here are a few examples:
George W. Bush is like the republican version of Jimmy Carter
Mitt Romney is like the republican version of John Kerry
Ron Paul is like the republican version of Dennis Kucinich
All these are results of going negative instead of being positive. What I don't understand is: what is wrong of doing an ad without personal attack as none is clean.
That's it, Romney – try stealing some of that right-wing vote away from Santorum. Telegraphing to the far right that (like Santorum) you are also a racist would be one way of doing so.
What happened to the Danforths, the Scowcrofts, the Bush 41's, and the Christopher Shays that were in the GOP??? The moderates (Snowe) are leaving, while the bigoted (dimwit) Southern talk radio people gain even more power. Scary.
The Latino vote alone can determine the next President. Romney should be kissing their behinds, but this just goes to show how little his respect for the latino community that the GOP has.
I do not know whether it is the Romney campaign or the candidate himself that throws these terrible remarks out to the public, but the result is a carefully aimed and crippling shot to his foot. The remark was unnecessary. Worse, it makes no sense because Mr Obama was the sitting president and he alone was empowered to make that nomination, and traditionally in the end the opposing party approves those nomnations. What it says to me is that this candidate lacks regard for the latino commuity, lacks respect for the office he seeks, and lacks sufficient mentality to serve as president of the United States.
But I'm sure that the GOP is just waiting for Rush Limbaugh to say what they can't. He can afford it! Come on Rush, say something about the Latinos now! You can do it!
Republican or not, they still called MLK a communist. Though MLK may have been a republican, he still voted across party lines. Not like these phony republicans today. Will vote against their better interest, Just to hold the party lines. Their party has nothing to offer America. Nothing.
You do know that Dr. King was a Republican, right?
His father was a Republican, but Dr. King, Jr. was a Democrat, though. In fact, most black voters up until the 1960s were Republicans because it was the party of Lincoln. That was until the Civil Rights Movement, which changed the political demographics in this country forever. Southern Democrats, known at the time as 'Dixiecrats", opposed the Civil Rights Act.
The Civil Rights Act had nearly unanimous support, except for those politicians from south of the Mason-Dixon line. Most of these politicians were Dixiecrats. In fact, Republicans had a higher percentage of members voting in favor than Democrats because of the Dixiecrats. The Dixiecrats left the party, and joined the Republican Party. The Republican Party evolved for the next 15 years until Ronald Reagan came along an found a message that unified the diametrically opposed factions within the ranks.
Meanwhile, the new generation of black voters who were enjoying their newly discovered right to vote joined the Democrat Party who sponsored the Civil Rights Act. The rest is history. Your remark is misleading. Today's Republicans would kick their beloved Ronald Reagan out of the party.
Mr Personality is tanking with the woman vote, tanking with the black vote, tanking with the latino vote, tanking with the Cristian vote, tanking with the workin man vote, tankin with the southern vote, MAN, I am prayin this guy is our competition come Nov.
Nobody knows what to do with this clown He is an idiot and hopfully the spanish vote will see this. I guess now we start attacking the judges. How many groups can the repos attack. Gays, librals, Hispanic, women ,,,enviormentalist,auto workers ,union workers middle class, non christians. Lets see whats left? oh yeah right wing neanderthals. Obama 2012
So many lies about a woman. She is NOT activist, not like those corrupt hack Thomas, Scalia, Roberts (who lied repeatedly during his confirmation) and that punk Alito.
The right wing has nothing but lies.
coy4one - The Latino vote alone can determine the next President.
Only if the 20-30 million illegal aliens get to vote, which is what the Democrat Party is trying to accomplish with the banning of voter ID.