Conservative Hispanic leaders to Reid: Latinos are pretty frustrated with Democrats too

Conservative Latino leaders bristled in response to Nevada Sen. Harry Reid’s statement that he could not understand why Hispanic Americans support Republicans, calling him “intellectually bankrupt” and “out of touch.”

“I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay?” Reid said during a campaign event in Las Vegas Tuesday. “Do I need to say more?”

Mario Lopez, president of the right-leaning Hispanic Leadership Fund, told The Daily Caller he thinks Reid is in no place to scold Hispanics on their party preferences.

“It’s the height of arrogance for Harry Reid to anoint himself as some sort of authority on what it means to be Hispanic,” Lopez said.

Reid has voiced strong support for immigration reform legislation in the past, promising in April that the Senate would deliver a comprehensive bill by year’s end. Despite much rhetoric from Democrats and a major speech from President Obama on the issue, it is not clear that a bill will make it through the congressional process before 2011.

Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, told TheDC that if Democrats want to start talking about Latino support, they should take care not to assume that Hispanics like them any better than Republicans.

“Yes, [Hispanics are] angry about Republicans, but they’re also angry at Obama, Reid and his Democratic colleagues for not doing anything on immigration,” Aguilar said, adding that he thought Reid’s comments were “insulting” and “condescending.”

Reid’s statement comes at a time when Republicans are keeping the debate over immigration at full throttle. Over the past few weeks, high ranking Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner, have given credence to South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s call to re-examine automatic citizenship status for those born in the United States. Republicans throughout the country have also voiced support for Arizona’s controversial immigration law, which went into affect in late July.

Lopez was quick to add, however, that it was Reid who was instrumental in killing an immigration reform deal in 2007 by supporting an amendment to the overhaul legislation that would allow the guest worker program to sunset after five years.

In response to criticism from Republicans over his remark, Reid’s campaign quickly issued a clarifying statement, but did not back away from his comment.

“Sen. Reid’s contention was simply that he doesn’t understand how anyone, Hispanic or otherwise, would vote for Republican candidates because they oppose saving teachers’ jobs, oppose job-creating tax incentives for small businesses, oppose investments in job-creating clean energy projects, and oppose the help for struggling, unemployed Nevadans to put food on the table and stay in their homes,” the statement read.

Reid’s eldest son Rory is currently in a race for the Nevada governorship against Republican Brian Sandoval, who is Hispanic. A spokesman from the Sandoval campaign declined to comment on Reid’s remarks.

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  • sunnyr

    Hopefully we don’t have too much longer to have to listen to old Dirty Harry’s racist remarks and downright lies. This fool is dead from the neck UP.

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  • DefendUrRights

    Harry is a morally-bankrupt bigot whose reputation in his own state is one of generational corruption, exploitation of subgroups, and who is the King of Liars.

    Enough said. Go raise a garden, Harry.

  • TonyinMO

    Huckster Harry also made the remark that “There are no illegal aliens working in construction in Las Vegas”. Well, Harry, I’d be willing to bet that one could go to any construction site in Las Vegas and within 10 minutes, find any number of illegal aliens. Same goes for going to any casino/motel where there are probably thousands of illegal aliens working.

  • independentvoter

    I know many Latino’s and yes they are upset with the Democrats but it’s because they WORKED to get into this country LEGALLY and are fed up with having to pay for their counter parts that came in ILLEGALLY and are demanding the same rights they WORKED hard to obtain.. they can’t figure out why the Dems haven’t closed the borders and why they are considering letting this law breakers stay.. NOT all Latino’s are for AMNESTY which is what the DEMS want you to beleive.. Legal ones are AGAINST it and will be voting against ANY Democrat that wants to in ANY WAY LEGALIZE those here ILLEGALLY.. so spin away..

    • latina

      You are correct. You couldn’t have said better.

  • mundakal

    As an Independent voter I am appalled at the gall Reid has in blaming the other party. But then again, the Democrats take a cue from their leadership – blame Bush, blame Republicans for everything that ills America. Not fair, I say. Democrats had majorities in both the House and Senate even today and they still can’t pass legislation on immigration – that’s because the Democrats even agree amongst themselves that immigration reform that includes a free ride to citizenship is plain wrong and will not fly in this country. Apparently it is easier blaming someone else rather than owning up their abject failure of the members of Congress. Do not waste your vote on rhetoric and partisan vote plays – talk about abject dereliction of their sworn duty to serve the people of this great state!!!

  • tombt

    So poor Harry doesn’t understand Hispanic Republicans? It’s probably because his understanding can be reduced to: “Here take some free stuff from the government.” He would never consider taht many Hispanics have dignity and a strong work ethic and don’t want the free stuff that Harry is offering.

    • theprofessor

      I’m betting poor Harry doesn’t understand Hispanics in general because he doesn’t take the time to ask his minimum-wage-paid gardener, housekeeper, and roofer how they feel about politics.