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How Mexican is Mitt? It's complicated (Audio)

Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Mitt Romney, March 2010

So just how Mexican is Mitt Romney? In terms of where the paternal side of his family comes from, no question about it, though it's complicated. Culturally, not so much.

It's long been reported, though not widely until recently, that Romney's Mormon ancestors crossed the border heading south from the U.S. in the late 1800s seeking religious freedom from American anti-polygamy laws. They settled in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, where Mitt's grandfather and father were born, and where descendants of the original Romney clan still live today.

Have Romney's Mexican roots won the GOP presidential front-runner the support of Latino voters? Another not-so-much, given his hardline stance on immigration, something on which even some conservative Latinos draw the line. However a Twitter meme, the parody @MexicanMitt, is winning followers left and right.


Mitt Romney, the son of a chihuahuense?

Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Buried at the bottom of an Associated Press story that ran in the El Paso Times today is a nugget that Latino tweeters have been seizing on: Mitt Romney's dad was from Chihuahua.

This isn't the first time the story of George Romney has come up, but it has surfaced again now that the younger Romney has announced his bid for the presidency in 2012. The elder Romney, former governor of Michigan, was born in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua in a community established in the 1880s by Mormons, who fled to Mexico from the United States to escape persecution.

There are still Romneys in Chihuahua today, distant relatives of the Republican former Massachusetts governor. And they, like other Mexicans, are dealing with the troubles affecting that part of the country. From the story in the El Paso Times: