Election 2014  
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Moyers: The Rise of Hispanic America

The growing electoral clout of the Latino constituency is getting harder for national politicians to ignore.

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BILL MOYERS: Have you seen the ad done, the one of his sons, to reach the Hispanic--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Right.

BILL MOYERS: Have you seen that ad?

JORGE RAMOS: Yes, yes.

CRAIG ROMNEY speaking in Spanish: “I’m Craig Romney. I would like to tell you how my father, Mitt Romney, thinks. He values very much that we are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather George was born in Mexico. For our family the greatness of the United States is how we respect and help each other, regardless of where we come from. As President, my father will work on a permanent solution to the immigration system, working with leaders of both parties.”

CRAIG ROMNEY speaking in Spanish: “I invite you to listen to him.”

MITT ROMNEY speaking in Spanish: “I am Mitt Romney and I approve this message.”

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It's very good, it's very, very good. Now, if all Latino voters were to base their decision solely on this one ad, I think Romney's numbers would be much higher. Because he touched upon the fact that his father was born in Mexico, he touched upon the fact that his father wants a permanent solution to the immigration issue. But once they see interviews like ours, once somebody asks to be more specific about Latino issues, that's where he doesn't come through.

JORGE RAMOS: At the end we are getting smarter. The Hispanic community is getting smarter, and more powerful. And stronger. Because just a few years ago, a few elections ago, we would've bought anything. And by that I mean--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: A few words in Spanish here and there.

JORGE RAMOS: --few words in Spanish. We just wanted it to say, "Hola, buenos noches," just to hear something in Spanish.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Wow, he spoke to us in Spanish--

JORGE RAMOS: George W. Bush, he was incredibly effective. But I used to say, that he was the first U.S. President who thought that he spoke Spanish. But he made so many mistakes in Spanish. But he really didn't care, because he made true, honest effort to communicate in Spanish, and it worked for him. Not only that, he had the right idea on immigration.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Exactly.

JORGE RAMOS: But now we appreciate ads in Spanish, but it's not enough. You have to give us much more than that true idea, a promise, a plan, a program.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It's a much more sophisticated electorate than you had seen before.

BILL MOYERS: When you press these candidates journalistically do you do so knowing that you're constantly referred to as the voice of Hispanic America which you have been referred to? Do you frame your questions that way? And you I mean, “Washington Monthly,” very respected influential magazine in Washington this summer, the headline, "Forget Rachel Maddow, Bill O'Reilly, Anderson Cooper, Sean Hannity. The broadcaster who will most determine the 2012 elections is Jorge Ramos."

JORGE RAMOS: It's a stretch. No, but you know, I still remember--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Well, you know--

JORGE RAMOS: You know, did you get to know Oriana Fallaci, the Italian journalist--

BILL MOYERS: I did, enviously because she could ask questions in a ferocious way.

JORGE RAMOS: And I think I learn from her a lot. I once saw her at the Iraq war and I just didn't have the courage to say-- to tell her that because of her I became a journalist. But if you remember Oriana Fallaci and her wonderful Interview with History. She used to say that the interview should be like an arm, like a weapon and that in an interview an interview is a war between the interviewee and the interviewer.