Is the GOP Losing the Latino Vote?

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Immigration was a hot topic at the GOP debate on Tuesday. First, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney attacked each other on the issue. Representative Michele Bachmann also jumped into the fray to attack President Obama. "I think the person who really has a problem with illegal immigration in the country is President Obama," she said. "It’s his uncle and his aunt who are illegal aliens who’ve been allowed to stay in this country despite the fact they're illegal." 

It's words like "illegal" and "alien" that upset Leslie Sanchez, a Republican strategist. "When they use the word 'illegals' or 'aliens' by itself, it's a trigger that has dramatic impact among Latino independent voters," she said yesterday on Takeaway, "And, I’ll tell you, among Latino conservatives." The Hispanic population in the U.S. has surged over the past decade, and both political parties have taken note. But are Republicans alienating the voters they need to win in 2012?

DeeDee Garcia Blase, founder of Somos Republicans, an organization dedicated to increasing the Latino Republican voting bloc, says she is considering leaving the party over the rhetoric. Lionel Sosa, was a media consultant for President Reagan and President Bush. He’s currently advising Newt Gingrich's campaign. He thinks Republican candidates need to focus on how to open up legal channels of immigration.