Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Newt Gingrich – sí, el habla español, but it doesn’t mean he’s saying the right things

by Patt Morrison

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Republican presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks at a news conference at The Venetian on February 4, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. David Becker/Getty Images

According to the most recent polls, primaries, and caucuses, Newt Gingrich’s campaign for presidency might well be a lost cause.

Romney and Santorum hold four states a piece, leaving Gingrich with South Carolina only. "The National Review" had harsh words for the former Speaker, calling on Gingrich to drop out and endorse Santorum: “It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader.”

For his part, Gingrich is reaching out for support from unlikely quarters, including the Latino community. In late January, Gingrich told one of Univision’s anchors, Jorge Ramos, that he wanted to win at least half of the Latino vote in the 2012 general election. According to a poll conducted by the non-partisan polling firm Latino Decisions, Gingrich has a ways to go – if he were to run against Obama today, Obama would win 70% of the Latino vote, and Gingrich only 22%. This is not all that surprising, considering Gingrich is responsible for saying things like “Spanish is the language of living in the ghetto,” and only supports the portion of the Dream Act that applies to the military – i.e., Latino youth could choose to serve in the military in order to obtain legal status, but would not be allowed funds towards education. Still, the Gingrich campaign is trying – Gingrich kicks off his trip to California here in South El Monte today with a “Hispanic Leadership Event” at El Cielito Lindo restaurant.


What, if any, appeal does Gingrich have to Latino voters? Which Republican candidate has the most appeal, and why?


Frank Stoltze, KPCC political reporter

Tom Del Beccaro, Chair, California Republican Party

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