Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Romney’s Weekend Rhetoric in Florida Targeted at State’s Key Constituencies

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Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, has spent the last three days campaigning in the crucial state of Florida. He had rallies in St. Petersburg on Friday, Apopka on Saturday, and Port St. Lucie on Sunday, reaching a total of 19 campaign events in the state since the Republican National Convention.

While in Florida, the presidential hopeful focused on three large constituencies within the state: the elderly, Latinos, and Jews.

Each site along his campaign swing was an area comprised of large Puerto Rican constituencies, a group whose overwhelming support lies with President Obama.  Thus, it seems as though Mr. Romney is trying to chip away at the president’s advantage by targeting places where their numbers are high.

Romney has remained a steady courtship of the more conservative, Cuban American voters, including his stop at a well-known Cuban restaurant in Tampa on Friday night. The presidential hopefuls has shied away from publicizing his immigration platform in Florida for the sake of preserving the Latino voters he already has, and instead, hammered home economic issues.  Despite the Latino community claiming that economic issues are their highest priority, this has yet to heed any headway for Mitt Romney in the Latino community, as immigration is still a very important issue as well.

The states large Jewish constituency was also specifically targeted in Romney’s weekend rhetoric.  In each of his rallies he emphasized his policy favoring a strong US-Israel relationship.  Although the Jewish community tends to lean democratic, it seems as though the Romney campaign believes they can swing some voters on to their side by up-playing this foreign policy stance in contrast with the Presidents, weaker pro-Israel one.

Yet, while Jews, and especially Latino’s will certainly play a large role in deciding who Florida’s 29 electoral votes go too, it’s the state’s seniors who each campaign needs the most.

Both candidates have been dealing their opponents swift blows when it comes to winning the senior citizen vote. This is not at all surprising given that older voters are the most likely to make it to the polls, and there is no arguing that this year’s election will be all about turnout.

President Obama has argued that Romney’s health care plan would cause 200,000 Florida seniors to pay more for prescription drugs, and that he is trying to turn Medicare into a voucher program.  However, Mr. Romney has accused the president of misrepresenting his plan, arguing that it would only affect seniors under 55, and that future seniors could choose traditional Medicare.

In his speeches this weekend, Romney made Obamacare’s $716-billion cut from Medicare a central focus of the campaign. He asserted that these cuts, which would be made to fund the new health care law, would reduce benefits for retirees among other adverse effects.

In Apopka on Saturday the Republican challenger said, “The president has made it clear that he’s going to go ahead with $716 billion in cuts to Medicare. And by the way, that’s $44 million of cuts right here in Florida. I will put the money back.”

In an editorial by the Tampa Bay Times released this morning, it was said that all the attention that Florida voters are getting this election is only making them more wary of both campaigns.  Thus, with less than a month left until the election, the continuum of targeted rhetoric by both candidates has the potential to either help, or to backfire.

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