Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at the Latino Coalition Annual Economic Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington May 23, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) appeared on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday to address comments made by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, on Tuesday.
According to ABC News, Villaraigosa, chair of the Democratic National Convention, told reporters, "You can't just trot out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect people are going to vote for your party or your candidate."
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The comment referred to the Republican National Convention's plan to give prominent airtime to several Hispanic Republicans.
Rubio said he agreed with Villaraigosa but added that the issue was not solely a Republican one. "I think what he's saying, quite frankly, is true for both parties," Rubio said. "Policies matter and, look, the Republican Part does have a challenge. We can't just be the anti-illegal immigration party, we have to be the pro-legal immigration party."
Recent polls show Romney is failing to gain Hispanic support. According to ABC News, an Aug. 6-26 Gallup poll placed Obama in the lead among registered Hispanic voters with 61 percent over Romney's 29 percent.
Romney, who along with Obama will count on Hispanic votes in key swing states, has been seen by many as largely anti-immigrants. His opposition to Obama's Deferred Action plan for illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. fortifies this belief.
Rubio touched upon immigration on Wednesday and said, "We have a broken system of immigration that needs to be fixed and we have a legal immigration problem because we have millions of people who are in this country without documents and we have to deal with that in a way that honors our legacy both as a nation of compassion and a nation of immigrants but also as a nation of laws."
Rubio also said that he believed Romney would replace the Deferred Action plan if elected. "That's what I think you can expect from the Romney presidency and I think the obligation of some of us in the Congress is to find that permanent solution," Rubio said on the morning show. "It was something I was working on, that I continue to work on, an alternative to the DREAM Act that allows us to continue to deal with that issue but not in a way that's amnesty and not in a way that encourages illegal immigration in the future."
Rubio is just one of many Latino speakers planned for the Republican Convention. He is joined by New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, Rep. Francisco Canseco of Texas, Texas Senate nominee Ted Cruz and Delaware candidate for lieutenant governor Sher Valenzuela.