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GOP strategists: Puerto Rico Gov. Fortuno is a sleeper vice presidential pick
The Hill ^ | 4/14/2012 | Daniel Strauss

Posted on 04/15/2012 3:20:50 PM PDT by svxdave

Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno (R) is a sleeper pick for the No. 2 spot on the 2012 presidential ticket, according to GOP strategists.

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney has kept his cards close to his chest on vice presidential prospects, saying that it would be “presumptuous” to think about it before winning the nomination. But in a recent interview with Newsmax, he described Fortuno as “a solid conservative and a firm leader.” He also dubbed Fortuno “one of the great leaders of our party.”

Republican strategists say that whomever Romney picks, the selection has to resonate with Hispanic voters. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is by far and away the leading Hispanic candidate for Romney, but there are others. They include New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Fortuno. In January, Grover Norquist, the influential head of Americans for Tax Reform, said Fortuno would “be a great vice presidential candidate.”

Fortuno, who endorsed former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 2008, formally backed Romney in the GOP presidential primary in January of 2012.

Fortuno has said he does not think he would be considered for the vice presidential spot but, when pressed, indicated he will go all out to help Romney.

“I am hundred percent committed to running for reelection,” Fortuno told The Hill, stressing he is focused on his reelection later this year. “If I can be of assistance in terms of the convention in Tampa, I’ll be happy to assist.”

Like any other potential candidate, there are pros and cons to picking Fortuno as a running mate. As governor of a territory, he doesn’t bring any electoral votes to the ticket. He also has low name recognition and even political insiders consider him a dark horse candidate.

Political scientist Larry Sabato puts him in the fourth tier of possible vice presidential picks.

On the plus side, Fortuno is young and energetic and in good standing with the Republican Party. And, of course, he has strong Hispanic appeal.

Fortuno, who previously served in the House as the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico from 2004 to 2009, cannot vote in the presidential election, but he can serve on the ticket, according to legal scholars.

As governor of Puerto Rico, Fortuno turned the territory’s economy around by lowering the corporate tax rate from 41 percent to 30 percent and making similar cuts to individual tax rates. Since Fortuno took office, Puerto Rico’s deficit has shrunk from $3.3 billion to about $600 million.

He attributes the territory’s dramatic debt reduction under his watch to serious cuts: “These are not Washington cuts….Puerto Rico’s fiscal and economic operation was by far the worst in the country.”

The 51-year old Georgetown University and University of Virginia Law School grad and father of triplets, who got his start in politics folding envelopes for Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1980, is solidly conservative on social issues. He is against same sex marriage and abortion rights.

On immigration, Fortuno advocates strong border security, but has also criticized a proposal by some Republicans to deport 12 million illegal immigrants.

“I support enforcing our laws, securing our borders and comprehensive immigration reform,” Fortuno said. “We must also promote a respectful dialogue on immigration, because too often, the tone and tenor of the public discourse has been counterproductive and pushes away instead of embracing the Hispanic community.”

Like President Obama, Fortuno sees the decaying infrastructure in the U.S. as one of the most urgent problems. In Puerto Rico, his approach has been to employ private companies on the upkeep of public buildings.

“Our basic infrastructure is crumbling and what we did is we learned from other jurisdictions, not just in the rest of the country, but around the world, on how to bring in private capital to develop your basic infrastructure and upgrade it,” Fortuno said.

As Resident Commissioner, Fortuno’s primary focus in Congress was Puerto Rican statehood. Fortuno remains strongly in favor of statehood for the territory and is currently the chairman of the New Progressive Party, whose sole platform is statehood.

In terms of the Hispanic vote, Fortuno argues that Hispanics are naturally Republican.

“I am convinced that the Republican Party’s message can resonate well with Hispanic Americans,” Fortuno said.

Fortuno says the reason the Hispanic vote hasn’t consistently gone Republican is a lack of attention.

“The first thing you need to do is show up,” Fortuno said. He also said a serious media blitz to the Hispanic community is key.

“You must have a truly critical effort to reach out, whether it’s at the county level or national level,” Fortuno said.

Republicans know they must do better in this area. In a 2011 interview with The Hill, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the GOP had done a “lousy job” of promoting its outreach efforts to Hispanic voters.

The RNC says it plans to strengthen its Hispanic efforts.

“We’re certainly putting a lot of time as far as the Hispanic outreach is concerned,” an RNC official said. “The math gets hard if we don’t have the Hispanic vote.”

Republican operatives say the Hispanic vote is key in 2012, noting that the Latino population is soaring in the U.S.

“If it’s not a top priority, [Republicans] lose,” political strategist Mark McKinnon said.

A Fox News survey of likely Hispanic voters found just 14 percent of respondents would back Romney over Obama. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) captured 31 percent of the Latino vote in 2008.

Fortuno seems to fit a lot of the criteria for the vice presidential spot —he would attract Hispanics, he’s young, energetic, considered a fiscal conservative, with experience in both Congress and as a governor.

McKinnon said as long as he meets the basic criteria, he’ll be considered by Romney.

“I think the Romney campaign will look [at] every rock possible for a Hispanic running mate,” McKinnon said. “So, if Fortuno meets basic qualification criteria, I suspect he’ll be on the list.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Education; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: fortuno; gop; ineligibleromney; luisfortuno; puertorico; romney; romney4romney; romneyvsconstitution; romneyvsthelaw
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I don't think we will ever see two white guys running for Vice President and President together ever again
1 posted on 04/15/2012 3:20:53 PM PDT by svxdave
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To: svxdave

NON-STOP TREASON


2 posted on 04/15/2012 3:22:15 PM PDT by magna carta
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To: svxdave

The fix is already in for Chris Christie.


3 posted on 04/15/2012 3:24:29 PM PDT by jimbo123
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To: svxdave

o puhfreaking leese.


4 posted on 04/15/2012 3:26:08 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (I think in about 5 - no, 4 - years I'll have had enough.)
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To: svxdave

Luis Fortuno is an excellent pick, bringing with him the all-important electoral vote bonanza from Puerto Rico, not to mention all the Puerto Ricans in New York City who will switch from voting 99.99% Democrat over the last 20 Presidential elections. And don’t you know? All Hispanics vote for the guy with the Spanish name regardless of where he’s from or what his politics are. Of course they do. Not. /sarc


5 posted on 04/15/2012 3:26:30 PM PDT by JewishRighter (Anybody but Hussein)
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To: JewishRighter

Being a governor helps.


6 posted on 04/15/2012 3:27:44 PM PDT by DIRTYSECRET
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To: svxdave
Guy doesn't think we should deport illegal aliens.

Got a clue for him, I don't think we need Puerto Rico anymore and it'd be a good place to house those guys pending deportation.

Then, once we get a good 10 mil of them on the island we give them independence.

Bet he'd change his mind.

7 posted on 04/15/2012 3:28:35 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: DIRTYSECRET

“Being a governor helps.”

No sarc tag? Being a governor of Puerto Rico? Are you kidding?


8 posted on 04/15/2012 3:28:44 PM PDT by JewishRighter (Anybody but Hussein)
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To: jimbo123

One big cheese cake and it’s all over for Cristie.


9 posted on 04/15/2012 3:29:35 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

LOL! Reminds me of that Monty Python skit where the fat guy in a restaurant eats so much he explodes or pukes a river; can’t remember which it was. Too many years ago to remember its name. OMG, what a visual.


10 posted on 04/15/2012 3:34:30 PM PDT by carriage_hill (I'd vote for a "orange juice can", before 0bummer&HisRegimeFromHell, gets another 4yrs. Can-> later.)
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To: svxdave

Fortuno is an excellent choice for a cabinet position.... The guy is very sharp and is a conservative.....he has reigned in the socialist state in PR

As VP pick ..... Don’t think so.....


11 posted on 04/15/2012 3:35:35 PM PDT by Popman (America is squandering its wealth on riotous living, war, and welfare.)
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To: muawiyah

Ann Coulter will be deeply saddened.


12 posted on 04/15/2012 3:38:51 PM PDT by jimbo123
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To: svxdave
Dam, why must it be a politician. Why not a business leader or a scientist. This is pathetic.

And yes, I have no idea who should be nominated.

13 posted on 04/15/2012 3:41:43 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: carriage_hill

Mr. Creosote makes the mistake of accepting one `wahfer thin’ mint. And he blows up real good.


14 posted on 04/15/2012 3:47:15 PM PDT by tumblindice (Our new, happy lives.)
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To: svxdave

The Problem... He’s not a woman.


15 posted on 04/15/2012 3:51:55 PM PDT by Thunder90 (Romney barely won in OH with a 12-1 money advantage, he can't beat Obama that way.)
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To: muawiyah

Given the birth certificate mess in PR I think its time to cut them loose.


16 posted on 04/15/2012 3:55:04 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: svxdave

Not a NBC.


17 posted on 04/15/2012 3:59:36 PM PDT by bgill
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To: bgill

Doesn’t matter. We are not going to vote for Romney anyhow. Why should we care whether his VP is a NBC or not.


18 posted on 04/15/2012 4:05:37 PM PDT by Starstruck (Obama: the most racist president since Jefferson Davis.)
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To: carriage_hill
Mr.Cresote
19 posted on 04/15/2012 4:13:52 PM PDT by GQuagmire
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To: bgill

Why not?

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Its inhabitants have been US citizens since 1917.

So he was born on US soil to parents who were both US citizens. Any other requirements I’m missing?


20 posted on 04/15/2012 4:33:04 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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