Rubio: Romney's Latino comment was 'joke'
September 19th, 2012
05:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Rubio: Romney's Latino comment was 'joke'

(CNN) - Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was joking when he said at a Florida fundraiser last spring that he would have a better shot at winning the presidency if he were Latino, Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday.

On a conference call with reporters, Rubio said that the comments - recorded secretly and published earlier this week along with other clips of the same event by a left-leaning magazine - were intended to be a line of humor.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

"Well I think he meant it as a joke," Rubio said. "At least, that's how most reasonable people would take it."

In the fundraiser, Romney said, "My dad, you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico.

"Had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this, but he was unfortunately born of Americans living in Mexico," Romney said to laughter at the fundraiser. "They'd lived there for a number of years, and I mean I say that jokingly, but it'd be helpful if they'd been Latino."

Rubio, who is Cuban American and a rising star in the GOP, and Romney acknowledged the candidate was on the list of people he was vetting to join his presidential ticket.

The Senator from Florida said Romney has made a similar reference or joke like that in the past.

Romney is to speak Thursday evening at a forum hosted by the Spanish-language television network Univision, then hold a rally in Miami, Florida.

Also see:

– Eastwood: If they were 'dumb enough to ask me…'

– In new tape, Romney casts doubt on peace in Israel

– Obama camp wastes no time highlighting Romney tapes

– Hatch might 'die before his term' ends, opponent charges

– Biden on Romney tape: 'words speak for themselves'

Filed under: 2012 • Marco Rubio • Mitt Romney
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    please stop defending the guy's comments...he said em...own em!

    September 19, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. Bill

    No, Rubio, the joke is your candidate for president.

    September 19, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Mark

    Yes massa...

    Come on Rubio....that had to hurt....

    September 19, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Moe Truth

    What about the part he was talking about the Latino vote was dangerous for the party, and the nation? Why can't he specify what he would do about immigration and the dreamers?

    September 19, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. Woman In California

    It was a joke alright. Willard has never wanted to be anything other than what he unfortunately is, a crooked, cold hearted, greedy white male with millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts and healthy sons who beat the drums of war, but will NEVER volunteer in our military. Great life if you're a TP bigot.

    September 19, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. PJ

    Thanks, Marco. Now, was Romney's comment about "if he were the Ayatollah, he would give some of" his bomb
    stuff "to Hezballah and tell them to go bomb Chicago", also a joke????
    I'm not laughing.

    September 19, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |

    If it was a joke, then he should switch professions because he sucks at politics. Plus his jokes are CORNY!!!

    September 19, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Georgia Girl

    I think he meant it. Notice he didn't say "I wish I were Latino because they are a beautiful people with a wonderful culture". Instead he said it would make his winning the presidency a lot easier....tsk tsk tsk, this man is just plain insensitive and stupid. If we think GWB embarrassed us, just put Mitt the twit in that office and we will be the laughing stock of the world.

    September 19, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Darn, that Mittens is funny. Thanks Rubio for voting against the veterans' jobs bill today.

    September 19, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |

    Phew! Good thing Romney got a Latino to say it was just a Joke, now Romney is in the clear. NOT! Republicans SMH

    September 19, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. thanks, but no thanks

    Yep, do not wait for my vote to be a joke Rubio. l know who is my candidate. For sure not silver spoon Mitt...

    September 19, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  12. Richard T.

    Absolutely correct. Racism is very often presented as a joke. But joking about one's ethnic racism remains racism.

    September 19, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. thanks, but no thanks

    wow... Rubio do not wait for my vote to be a joke. l know who my candidate is, and not silver spoon Mitt... Mitt you are just a disgrace to our country.

    September 19, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. Larry L

    When do we reach the point where Republicans realize Romney is too out of touch with regular people to be President? As a person who has been rich and spoiled all of his life he spends all of his time trying to cover up stupid comments. It's like Rick Perry – magic underwear and with a different accent. Yesterday he called most disabled veterens part of the 47% too lazy and irresponsible to worry about. "Oops"... "I like firing people"... "Oops"... "Idon't worry about the poor"... "Oops". The man's a moron.

    September 19, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. Sharon

    Marco, as a Cuban, can consider Mitt's comment a joke. Speaking with some friends of Mexican descent at lunch, I heard how hard it was for their families to come to the US and work in the fields back in the early 20th century. After their great grandfather became a citizen, he brought over his wife and older childre and other family from their village where they were basically indentured servants to the property owners. Now they have someone whose family purchased property the Mexicans themselves couldn't buy make a 'joke'. I think it is a joke that Mitt's great grandfather left Mexico and went on welfare to support his family, taking every cent he could from the US government.

    September 19, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. 333maxwell

    Of course it was a joke.. no one disputes that...

    It was a mean spirited, opportunistic, nasty jab of a joke indeed.

    September 19, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. realitybite

    No it wasn't. Listen to the tape again Mr Rubio. His final comment was serious, and he explicitly said that he was being serious after the joke.

    September 19, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Joyce

    Why is it every time Mitt Romney says something that insults someone it was meant as a joke?

    September 19, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. Jesus

    It would be an advantage if I was white + made hundreds of millions by any means necessary solely to make a profit .... but I unfortunately I am not 🙁

    Relax guys – it was a joke.

    September 19, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. The Koch brothers picked a loser

    I've never seen such a nose dive in a political campaign. Independent voters in the swing states are tired of Lyin' Ryan and a campaign with no specifics. Romney's platform of promises without any specifics won't wash with anybody but the Republican base of under-educated and bigoted voters. Republican obstructionism is not a virtue when people are looking for jobs and trying not to lose their homes. Romney is finished.

    September 19, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. D Silver

    Beyond the 'joke' that reasonable people would find funny, I'm curious what Rubio thinks of Romney's other comments about latinos:

    "So we can capture women's votes, we're having a much harder time with Hispanic voters. And if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting bloc has in the past, why we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation."

    September 19, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. Four and The Door

    Unfortunately, it may be true that some American voters know so little about the responsibilities of the Commander in Chief that ethnic origin clouds their voting behavior. Hopefully Mitt Romney has done a good job of defining the huge differences in philosophy between his team and Obama that people can look at the issues and figure it out. It should be very obvious for anyone watching the debates that the voter should not rely on ethnic origin to pick who to vote for. We have real and authentic issues that affect every American now and for decades forward.

    September 19, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. Uhm!

    HaHa! My vote for Obama is not a joke...

    September 19, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. Martha in CF

    A JOKE!!!!!!! Not all Americans have a sense of humor!!!!!!!!! It is too bad that you have to explain what comes out of Romney's mouth all the time....

    September 19, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. The REAL Truth...

    Willard's jokes have killed his campaign. Oh wait.. IT is the joke!

    September 19, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5