Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, seen at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida August 27, 2012, warns that if the Republican party alienates Hispanic voters, the GOP is "doomed." (Photo : Reuters)
The Republican party is "doomed" if they alienate Hispanic voters around the country, former Bush White House advisor Karl Rove said this week.
During a speech he delivered Tuesday at the private Harding University in central Arkansas, according to NBC News Latino via the Associated Press, Rove said that Hispanic voters are not only a key target for Republicans, but their natural allies, as well-and the GOP will suffer dire consequences if they drive away Latino support.
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"If we do with Latinos what we did with African-Americans, Republicans and conservatives will be doomed," Rove said during a question-and-answer session after his speech at the college. "Latinos and Hispanics are by and large the natural allies of conservatives."
Rove served as deputy chief of staff under former President George W. Bush's term and played a key role as Bush's adviser when the former Texas governor won the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004.
While he avoided singling out any specific Republicans as alienating Hispanic voters, he instead pointed to Florida's U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Republican and U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz as key Hispanic leaders among the GOP.
"They're our people," Rove said. "And yet we've adopted language that makes them feel unwelcome."
Rove was no doubt referring to the tough stance the GOP has taken on immigration. The issue was highlighted in Tuesday's presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney-whom the president called out over his hardliner stance on the issue.
Obama has previously stated that he supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Romney , conversely, has indicated prior to the debate that he favored tougher policies which would back the philosophy of self-deportation-which would pass such stringent immigration laws that undocumented residents would choose to leave the country on their own.
"Self-deportation says let people make their own choice," Romney said at the debate Tuesday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. "What I was saying is, we're not going to round up 12 million people, undocumented illegals, and take them out of the nation. Instead let people make their own choice," he said. I'm not in favor of rounding up people and taking them out of this country."
During his speech Tuesday, Rove said it's possible for the party to support immigration reform efforts such as a guest worker program that offer a path to citizenship as well as stronger border protections.