Tag Archive | "Presidential Election 2012"

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Hartford Helps To Re-Elect President Obama, Make History


Updated:Nov. 10, 2012, 1: 58 p.m.

By Ryan Grace and Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writers

The country has spoken. The state has spoken. The city of Hartford has spoken.

Hoping to bring the American Dream closer to an American reality, voters re-elected President Barack Obama on Tuesday for four more years to complete what he started: bolstering healthcare reform, bringing the war dollars home, ensuring college affordability, and improving the economy.

Obama defeated former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by nearly 100 electoral college votes, 332 to 206. The president attained 50.4 percent of the popular vote and won seven of the nine “swing” states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania. Romney received 48.1 percent of the popular vote.

For more than 51 percent of the American electorate,  Tuesday was about moving the country forward. Here in Connecticut, a majority of voters echoed that sentiment.

“I believe Obama is not finished,” said Hartford resident Radames Vasquez as he walked out of the polling booth on Pavilion Street on Tuesday.

Hartford City Councilman Kyle Anderson “hopes and prays”  that Obama “can complete his goals for moving this nation forward.”

Samuel C. Hamilton, executive director and CEO of Hartford Economic Development Corporation, concurred.

“I am hopeful that the things Hartford has been trying to put into place will become realities,” Hamilton said. “Education and jobs are at the top of Hartford’s agenda, as well as, the Obama Administration’s agenda. This holds well for the city of Hartford.”

In a “thank you” e-mail that President Obama sent out to the voters who supported him he said, “I want you to know that this wasn’t fate, and it wasn’t an accident. You made this happen.” And Hartford helped in delivering that victory, which seemed inevitable to Hartford City Councilman David MacDonald.

That’s because “Obama always led; and even though Romney closed the gap he never took the lead in any battleground state,” McDonald said.

According to the unofficial city of Hartford candidate votes, of the 34,037 men and women who voted on Tuesday, Obama took home 93 percent of the popular votes, defeating Romney, 31,735 to 2,138.

Statewide, Connecticut gave Obama a 51 to 48 win over Romney.  Early reports put overall voter turnout in the  state at 79 percent.

Connecticut has gained 202,000 new voters since January — and nearly 100,000 over the last several weeks, according to Secretary of State Denise Merrill.

The total number of active  registered voters is about 2.1 million. Of that amount, there are  872,243 unaffiliated voters, 767,693 Democrats and 430,439 Republicans.

In a statement released after the elections, Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. said: “Today we saw voters turn out in near record numbers and, while I am not satisfied with all of the results, I believe that speaks to the enduring strength of our American democracy.”

According to the Hartford Registrar of Voters, there was  65.14 percent of eligible voters participated in the 2012 presidential election.  This was a record turnout. Voters stood in line at City Hall for three hours after polls closed at 8 p.m. Voter turnout for Hartford exceeded the 2008 presidential election turnout. Residents lined city hall’s on the first floor and in the basement, some registering to vote on site.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra responded to the long line on his Facebook page, saying:

“After a night to digest and analyze what happened yesterday and last night, I am buoyed by joy and excitement. While I am thrilled that President Barack Obama and VP Biden were re-elected, Chris Murphy is headed to the U.S. Senate and Elizabeth Esty to Congress, what impressed me the most was the patience and understanding that thousands of Hartford residents displayed waiting to vote.”

He urged residents to increase civic participation beyond voting by volunteering to serve on city  boards and commissions.

“I hope that those who sacrificed hours to wait in line will begin to pay closer attention to local government. It is here, in the rooms and public meeting spaces of City Hall, where important decisions are made that directly impact you, your neighbors and friends.”

Additional reporting by Fran Wilson, Ann-Marie Mesquita.

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Missing Out: Political Ads, Spanish-Language TV and the Latino Vote


 By Joseph Torres and Josh Stearns

Latino voters will play a critical role in the 2012 presidential race. An estimated 12 million Latinos will cast ballots this November, making up a significant portion of the electorate in swing states like Colorado, Florida and Nevada.

One might assume that the presidential candidates, political parties and Super PACs would spare no expense to win over Latino voters. After all, Latinos make up 17 percent of the U.S. population. But so far, that has not been the case.

While analysts project that more than $3 billion will be spent on political ads this year, a relatively paltry amount has been spent on Spanish-language ads. This is particularly the case when it comes to ad spending by Super PACs and other third-party groups.

A new Free Press report, “Missing Out: Political Ads, Spanish-Language TV and the Latino Vote,” studied ad spending in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida and New Mexico. We found that outside groups bought very few political ads at the 11 Spanish-language stations we visited in these three states.

Free Press staff traveled to Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, Denver and Miami in August and September, visiting Univision, Telemundo, Telefurtura and other Spanish-language broadcasters. We were there to examine the stations’ political files, which contain information on who is behind all those political ads flooding our airwaves, and how much they are spending. We had to visit those outlets in person because the Federal Communications Commission’s new online database of political ad data does not include information from Spanish-language stations, which do not need to post their files until 2014.

We found that the presidential campaigns made some ad buys at the 11 stations we visited. But there was very little spending from third-party groups, except for the Service Employees International Union.

The SEIU spent more than $450,000 to run 2,079 ads on five Spanish-language TV stations in Denver and Colorado Springs from July through September. To put that in perspective, a Free Press report released in October found that the five major Super PACs spent more than $6.5 million to air close to 5,000 political ads on English-language stations in Denver in August and September.

And a study released last month from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce reported that close to $360 million was spent on political advertising in 10 states from early April through September, but just $16 million — or 4.6 percent of the total — went to ad buys on Spanish-language TV.

While we believe broadcasters should not allow false or misleading ads on their airwaves, what we know about political ads on Spanish-language stations raises a different — but equally significant — set of questions. Is the Latino community better off with fewer political ads given how many are misleading? Or does the dearth of political ad spending harm the Latino community?

Professor Federico Subervi, the director of the Center for the Study of Latino Media and Markets at Texas State University-San Marcos, noted the importance of using Spanish-language advertising to engage Latino voters. “It can have a positive effect of saying we’re considered a valuable group of potential voters,” Subervi said.

Meanwhile, Sylvia Manzano, a senior analyst at the political opinion research firm Latino Decisions, noted “[It’s] not a good thing that Latino voters aren’t being approached in as many ways as possible.” Latinos see ethnic advertising, she added, as a “gesture of goodwill.”

Latino Print Network President Kirk Whisler provided an additional perspective. He criticized both the Obama and Romney campaigns for failing to appreciate the value of using Hispanic print publications to reach Latino voters. “I don’t think either the Romney people or the Obama people have a true understanding of the Hispanic community in the first place,” Whisler said, “let alone of the importance of Hispanic print.”

The question remains: Do political TV ads serve the best interests of the Latino community? National Institute for Latino Policy President Angelo Falcon isn’t so sure, citing the predominance of negative ads — and the general failure in political advertising to address substantive issues.

For Falcon, the lack of political advertising on Spanish-language TV reflects a broader socioeconomic problem. Latinos, Falcon said, lack the financial resources to fully engage in the political process. The Citizens United decision, he noted, has allowed “political inequality” to “fester.” This reveals the need, Falcon notes, for reform efforts like public financing of elections.

Andrea Quijada, executive director of Albuquerque’s Media Literacy Project, is concerned that the Latino community often does not have enough information to place an ad’s message in its proper context.

“If the only information people are getting about the campaign is through the ads, that’s damaging … that’s true for any community,” Quijada said. “Anytime we are advertised to for anything … and there isn’t other information out there, it has the potential to … create misinformation and misunderstanding, whether or not the product is food or the product is a candidate.”

Given the nation’s changing demographics, it’s hard to imagine that political campaigns and third-party groups won’t ultimately devote more financial resources to winning the Latino vote. While many Latino leaders believe more Spanish-language ads are critical to engaging Latino voters, some may have second thoughts once viewers are inundated with political ads.

In other words, an increase in the number of political ads may not turn out to be a blessing. “It is great to be validated,” said Quijada. “It is disappointing if that is only happening through advertising.”

Free Press is a nonpartisan organization building a nationwide movement for media that serve the public interest. Joseph Torres is the group’s senior external affairs director. Josh Stearns is the organization’s journalism and public media campaign director.New America Media, News Analysis.

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Romney: The Mexican-American Candidate


Patrick Osio for HispanicVista, Op-Ed

Editor’s Note: As Gov. Mitt Romney trails in the polls in key swing states, a secret video released on Monday, is stirring more controversy in the Romney campaign camp. In the footage, which was filmed during a private fundraiser earlier this year, Romney told wealthy donors that his father grew up poor after being born to American parents living in Mexico. Romney then joked that it would be helpful to him if his father were Latino. Romney also commented that half of Americans “believe they are victims” entitled to government hand-outs, and that it is not his job to care about “those people,” the Associated Press reports.

Romney has mentioned his Mexican roots on the campaign trail, hoping to form a connection with Latino voters (Romney’s great-grandfather fled to Mexico in 1885 to escape America’s anti-polygamy laws. His grandfather grew up there and his father was born there.) Commentator Patrick Osio, editor of HispanicVista, says he supports Romney’s economic policies, but urges the GOP candidate to not forget Mexico’s tolerant stance toward his ancestors who sought refuge there to escape religious persecution.

In the late 1880s, Mitt Romney’s great-grandfather, Miles P. Romney, and a number of family members suffering religious persecution in the United States sought refuge in Mexico. Refuge was granted, and thus the Romney clan settled in Mexico. Mitt’s father, George, was born there.

Mitt Romney can’t escape the reality that his father was born in Mexico, making the elder Romney a Mexican citizen by birthright. In turn, this makes Mitt Romney a second-generation U.S. citizen of Mexican descent – commonly referred to as Mexican-American.

Romney accepts his father was born in Mexico, but he does not acknowledge his heritage and ignores the several hundred Romney family members who still live in the country. But, it doesn’t change the facts: He, like it or not, ignore it or acknowledge it, is a member of the U.S. Hispanic community.

Romney knows that his ancestors escaped religious persecution thanks to Mexico’s hospitality. Mexico, like the United States, forbade polygamy, but exercised tolerance and respect.

Why then would Romney, whose own family sought refuge and benefited from tolerance and generosity, support immigration policies that punish several million of Mexico’s poor who have over the years crossed the border illegally in search of a better life (economic refugees)? Would he at a minimum champion immigration reform?

To the dismay of many during Romney’s campaign for the nomination, he embraced states with mean-spirited and draconian laws, and personalities who promote and participate in raids netting any brown-skinned person be he U.S. citizen or not, making a mockery of civil and constitutional rights.

Now, as the Republican presidential candidate, Romney must adhere to the platform endorsed by his party. It calls for the harshest treatment of undocumented immigrants, so they will self-deport back to a life of poverty. It repeals higher educational opportunities for young people who came the United States as children. There will be no immigration reform, and no path to citizenship. The GOP platform allows immigration for the highly educated, but remains hostile to guest worker programs in the agricultural sector where there is a critical need.

Romney belongs to The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), a noble and compassionate religion. All Americans uphold the separation of church and state in politics, and so must Romney if he is elected, but religious teaching is also about morals and character. How does one separate from that? How does he justify his stance on immigration that is contrary to that of his religion’s? How does he justify his ingratitude to the people whose country once saved his family?

There is a great need for Americans to elect someone who is a tough businessman, who will stop the wild and irresponsible spending and continuing slide into Socialism. Romney is highly qualified and potentially he could put the United States back on track.

But if Mexican-American Romney reaches the White House without his moral compass, it will gain him and the nation little.

Patrick Osio, the editor of HispanicVista, can be contacted at Posio@aol.com

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