MEMO FROM THE BANKUNITED REPUBLICAN CENTER, WITH MUCH BEWILDERMENT, FEAR AND LOATHING by Ismael Santos

Where were you, young’ins, when Romney slithered into town; BankUnited Center, September 19, 2012. At the invite of some Miami Lakes relatives, working for the Romney Campaign, I passed into the Field House, where the Univision-held event was taking place.

The student section, full of Young Republicans and the subversive Obama fans, did not play much of a part in the event, except for cheering when Romney made the U-sign towards them, and the pandering towards them was good enough to get some cheers. However, this is not the focus of the article; I am, if nothing else, a journalist, so let’s straight to the point:
The Romney interview was a horrific circus of old wealth cheering, while Romney helped circumscribe around questions and give long, belated answers that didn’t amount to anything, let alone to convince me nor the students at the BankUnited Center to vote for this man.

Let me lay out my biases in the open, so that detractors and political commentators won’t reach out for straw man arguments: I am not a Romney fan. I am, also, neither an Obama fan, due to reasons of continued drone strikes and continued Afghanistan pig-headedness. With that out of the way, the facts can be clearly shown:

Romney, only offering 35 minutes of his time and with a bad fake tan spray covering his face, said more with the things he didn’t say than with his carefully though out answers.

The introduction that Univision anchors, Maria Salinas and Jorge Ramos, gave for the program had to be re-done; Romney, as reported in BuzzFeed and ThinkProgressive(watchdog websites), was reported to have been upset with the fact that the anchors would start off with that fact, due to Obama giving more time to the program than the Romster. Sources close to Univision, via these same watchdog websites, reported Romney having a “tantrum” backstage and came close to cancelling the entire event.

With that little faux pas re-done, the program started off with a question about Romney’s comments about the “47 percent being lazy and voting for Obama”. Romney, as any other politician would do, waved off the question with how his campaign was for “the 100 percent of America.”

Mitt decried about the increased “divisiveness that is tearing apart our country.” During the first question, Romney went from talking about the increased number of people having to depend on food stamps to how harder life has become in the last four years under Obama. That being said, he circled around to the nut of the question: “Now I know that I’m not going to get 100 percent of the vote. And my campaign will focus on those people we think we can bring in to support me.”

This first question set the proverbial outline/framework for how the rest of the answers would be given by Mr. Romney: go on about how life has become terrible for Americans the last four years, talk about how much better he would be as President, get back to the question at hand, go back to how he worked with a “Democratic legislature during my time as Governor of Massachusetts.”

The fact that this pattern emerged was not the worst thing to happen at the interview; no, the Romney supporters were the worst thing to happen at this interview. In actuality, the event was supposed to only be occupied by students from the U. However, due to low turnout, Romney was reported to have “bussed in old, rowdy Romney supporters into the event.” This was done for one purpose: to make the impression, on National Television, that Romney had a lot of support as the Hispanics’ choice for President. The Romney crowd really gave it their all, in terms of rowdiness and support; From the first question onward, they heckled anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Salinas, and even shouted out disgusting, bully-like things at the students brave enough to go on with their questions, about education, towards Romney. Some, in my section of the crowd, even shouted out obscenities toward Obama and clapped so much that Romney’s answers couldn’t be heard all too well.

They disregarded the fact that the Univision staff had specifically requested for “quiet, and no applause”. As a journalist taking down notes, the whole scene was a miserable circus, and the Univision reporters sitting in front of me looked ashamed to be there. I can’t blame them for that.
Questions and answers followed, and some other issues were touched upon:
When asked about “Obamacare”, Romney shot down Obamacare…sort of.

“Well, first of all, I would repeal all of Obamacare….the President says I’m the grandfather of Obamacare{Romney’s term as Massachusetts Governor when implementing “Romneycare”}… but we didn’t have to cut Medicare by $716 billion to do that {Obamacare}. We didn’t raise taxes on health companies by $500 billion as the President did.” Romney chalked up his “health care reform” plans as “one which will give individuals choice as opposed to government choice.” He smiled and waved, and then it was time for a commercial break.

The question of Mexican cartel drug-and-gun running came into question, as well. Romney talked about a “partnership with Mexico and with other countries”, along with not “overstepping” our role in said future potential partnership.

Romney echoed the Reagan Revolution of the ‘80s when going on about drugs: …The President of the United States must make a priority of helping reduce demand in this country, and communicating to our young people, and older people, that when they use these illegal drugs, they are contributing to the deaths of people around the world. So I’m going to make that a priority. That’s number one.”

However, he mentioned about another kind of partnership with Mexico: the economic kind. “The oil resources that Mexico has, that’s one of the reasons that I know that we can be able to achieve North American energy independence in eight years.” The economic benefits play as much of a part as the “humanitarian” benefits, in this case.

With regards to gay marriage, he said that “a domestic partnership of sorts would be fine”, but that “Marriage, to me, is between a man and a woman.” Whoops of applause came from the crowd, along with boos toward Salinas and Ramos for even asking the question.

Romney, when pressed to explain just how exactly he would create 12 million new jobs as President, went over his five-point plan. He didn’t go into extensive detail, however. “And so my plan has five major parts, and I know you don’t want me to go into detail on all five. I’d take over the whole show. But let me describe what they are…”
1) “Taking full advantage of oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables will create about four million jobs by itself”
2) “The opportunity to add more trade, particularly in Latin America, where there’s a natural advantage in time zone and language for us….we’ve got to crack down on China and any other nation that cheats on trade.”
3) “We have to make sure that our people have the skills to succeed. I want to make sure our kids in school get the kind of skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.”
4) “We’ve got to get America on track to a balanced budget. And jobs won’t come here if they think we’re on the road to Greece{bankruptcy, enormous debts}, and that’s where we are today.
5) “We have to have a pro-small business agenda…Hispanic Americans lead in creating small businesses over the population at large.”

During the course of the evening, Romney was hit with some questions by a few of the students over Pell Grants, scholarships, student debt, and so on. His answer on student debts, a real reach-around answer, to say the least, came out about “my job, for the economy, is creating the kind of jobs that make sure that people coming out of college can get good jobs.” So, once again, everything fell back on the economy and his promise of “12 million new jobs.”

Regarding his VP, Paul Ryan, and his stance on the Pell Grant, Romney went into general answer mode: He mentioned about how, as “Governor of Massachusetts”, he had instituted a free four-year scholarship ride known as “the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship.”

Not one to let things stand with a specific answer, Romney continued with the general outline of the evening: “I think it’s important in higher education that we get serious about the fact that the inflation of tuition…. my view is we have to hold down the rate of tuition increases and fee increases in higher education. Sorry, President.”

The last “Sorry, President” snipe was another in the long line of snipes at President Obama; this reflects how, over the course of Romney’s campaign, Romney has been only focused on two areas of campaigning: the economy and “reigniting it”, and how President Obama has been awful as President.

The one thing that could be considered as out-and-out factual was proclaiming that Obama had “failed when it came time to immigration.” Obama admitted as much the next day during his own Univision event. However, Romney backtracked on subjects and comments he had made over the year; when confronted with his belief that the Arizona model was a good model for immigration, Romney shook his head and said that he was “not going to deport 12 million immigrants overnight. That’s not happening.”

With questions out of the way, Romney, fake tan and CEO smile at the ready, got up in front of the camera and gave out his ending speech:

“I’m concerned about America. I’m concerned about the direction of America…The President’s policies, and I think while well intended, haven’t done the job that needs to be done….Washington is broken. I will go to Washington and with every ounce of my energy bring this country together… I will get the job done. I’ll create jobs, I’ll solve these issues. We’ll have a brighter future for ourselves and for our kids. And I appreciate your vote. I need your vote.”

And with that, the evening was over.

The crowd cheered him on, and he shook the hands of every Univision staffer/reporter, supporters, his own son, and a few others, before heading out with a final wave. “Romney! Romney! Romney!” My section of the crowd cheered. Someone behind me shouted out a confession: “I love you, Romney!” Someone else shouted out that Romney was “Mr. Fantastic.” With that, everyone dispersed; another Romney had come and gone, and had anything been answered? Had anything been done? Besides a hysterical, weird crowd with menacing vibrations to journalists, not much had been done. But, what do I know: I’m just a simple student journalist, who probably has no idea when candidates evade, backtalk, double-speak, flat out lie, and so on. 2012 election; be there or be square, like a rectangle.

Back home, typing all of this up, the words that ring most in my mind are the final words of Romney’s speech. He sounded so desperate; so Nixon-ish. “I need your vote.” Cazart.

Full transcript

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