Politicians bearing ‘gifts’

Newt Gingrich has harsh words for Mitt Romney (Getty Images)

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – Although given in a backhanded way, former speaker Newt Gingrich complimented Asian Pacific Americans for coming out in big numbers for President Obama in the last election.

Gingrich, who vied for the Republican nomination and fought toe-to-toe with the eventual winner Mitt Romney, said Asian-Americans were not “bought” by “gifts” Obama has allegedly dispensed to certain American groups.

“I’m very disappointed with Governor Romney’s analysis, which I believe is insulting and profoundly wrong,” Gingrich said in an interview with KLRU-TV in Austin.

“First of all, we didn’t lose Asian-Americans because they got any gifts. He did worse with Asian-Americans than he did with Latinos. This is the hardest-working and most successful ethnic group in America–they ain’t into gifts,” Gingrich said.

Even though it’s now generally acknowledged that unions, women, and Latinos provided the bulk of the votes Obama garnered to defeat Romney, about 73 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders chose the president.

That is the highest percentage by any voting group as the community has acknowledged that Obama, who was born in Hawaii and mostly raised there, is considered one of their own.

In a poll conducted jointly by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, Obama scooped up the Asian Americanvote in big numbers.

The election eve poll showed that 72 percent of the respondents intended to vote for President Obama and 26 percent for Mitt Romney.

Even though less than half, 41 percent, said they are registered Democrats, and 14 percent are registered Republicans, they also said in the poll that they will vote for Democratic congressional candidates.

Election day results validated the findings of the poll.

Matt Barreto, a pollster for Latino Decision, who tracked the various voting blocks and how they decided the election, said the exit polls reported that Asian-Americans were also over 70 percent for Obama, which would be the highest ever for the Asian vote.

National numbers suggested 73 percent, and  that Asians were three percent of the electorate, Barreto said.

During the campaign, Rep. Mike Honda, one of Obama’s surrogate in the Asian Pacific American community, said President Obama is the first Asian-American president.

“I want to see the brother back in the White House,” Honda said. “He’s gonna kick some major kokole.”

Gingrich’s comments came after several other top Republican leaders criticized Romney for his assertion during a conference call with campaign donors this week that he lost because Obama bore “gifts” to women, Latinos and young people.

Republican governors, including Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey, said Romney was mistaken and some used harsher words.

Gingrich, who waged a bitter primary battle with Romney, said it’s “divisive” to blame certain groups of Americans for his loss.

“It’s an insult to all Americans,” Gingrich said in the TV interview. “It reduces us to economic entities. You have no passion, no idealism, no dreams, no philosophy. If it had been that simple, my question would be, ‘Why didn’t you outbid him?’

“He had enough billionaire” supporters, if buying the electorate was the key, he could have got all his super PAC friends together and said, don’t buy ads, give gifts.

“Be like the northwest Indians who have gift-giving ceremonies. We could have gone town-by-town and said, ‘Come here, let me give you gifts. Here are Republican gifts.’ An elephant coming in with gifts on it.”


Follow Bert Eljera @vegaspinoy60 and on Facebook at facebook.com/BertEljera.



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