World Bulletin/News Desk
President Barack Obama reveled in the support of Latino leaders on Friday and took a swipe at his election rival Mitt Romney for giving mixed messages on how to handle illegal immigration.
In an emotive speech to Hispanic public officials meeting in Florida, Obama reminded the friendly audience that Romney had promised to veto the DREAM Act, which would help the children of illegal immigrants win citizenship.
Obama told the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference that he chose last week to halt the possible deportations of 800,000 young illegal immigrants because Congress was stalling on the issue.
"I refused to keep looking young people in the eye, deserving young people in the eye, and tell them tough luck," he said, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd that gave Romney a cool reception the day before.
"Your speaker from yesterday has a different view. In a speech he said that when he makes a promise to you, he'll keep it. Well he has promised to veto the DREAM Act, and we should take him at his word," the Democratic president said.
"I'm just sayin'," he added, to laughter.
A poll released on Friday by Latino Decisions and America's Voice found Obama had a commanding lead over Romney among Hispanics in election battleground states including Florida, Colorado and Virginia.
In the five states combined, Obama leads Romney among Hispanics by 63 percent to 27 percent.
Obama's recent focus on immigration has helped perk up his campaign, which sagged earlier in June as economic bad news rolled in and the president committed a misstep by claiming that the struggling private sector was in fact doing fine.
A rise by former Massachusetts Governor Romney in the polls appeared to slow this week, although a Pew Research Center survey on Friday put Obama's lead at only 4 percentage points, from 7 points last May.
Romney's campaign suffered on Friday from new accusations about Bain Capital, where he made much of his $250 million fortune as a private equity executive in the 1980s and '90s.
The Washington Post reported that Bain invested in firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.
"(Romney) often says, 'I know why jobs come and why jobs go.' Well, yeah, one of the reasons they go is because you have firms who are counseling people on how to offshore and outsource their jobs, that's one reason they go, so, yeah, he knows a lot about it," Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod told reporters.
Obama received standing ovations from much of the crowd in Florida when he talked about healthcare reform and his decision not to target young illegal immigrants for deportation.
"This was an Obama crowd anyway. Even though Obama's not Latino, he hit on key cultural points - hardworking, education. That's something we wear on our sleeves," said Tony Cardenas, a Democratic city councilman from Los Angeles.
Obama also pledged to make overhauling U.S. immigration rules to better serve businesses and make life easier for families and workers core to his economic agenda in a second term.
But Hispanics are still upset at his failure to deliver on comprehensive immigration reform and Latinos have been badly hit by the slow economy.
"No election-year speech can cover up the president's job-killing policies that have led to 11 percent Hispanic unemployment and millions of Hispanics living in poverty," Romney campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said.
There are more than 50 million people with Latin American roots living in the United States. Hispanics are the fastest-growing U.S. minority group and could decisively influence the presidential election result in November.
Romney angered many Hispanics during the Republican primary season by saying illegal immigrants could "self deport" out of the country. He changed his tone at the NALEO conference on Thursday, stressing immigration was essential to U.S. economic prosperity, but offered few details on his approach to dealing with those now living illegally in the country.
A Hispanic former member of Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential bid acknowledged on Friday that Romney was going to struggle to win votes from the Hispanic community.
"Obama giving my Democrat colleagues a lot more to work with, than Romney gave me yesterday at #NALEO. It ain't going to be easy, folks," Ana Navarro, who was McCain's national Hispanic co-chairwoman, wrote on Twitter.
Around 40 of Gaza's 75 ambulances had stopped working because of the lack of fuel.
The decision came less than a week after the Justice Ministry filed a lawsuit against Bahrain's main opposition group, Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
The lawsuit, if approved by the full House, would focus on Obama's implementation of his landmark healthcare law, known as "Obamacare"
Hundreds of Iraqi Christians staged a protest in the Kurdish city of Erbil on Thursday, demanding protection from a militant offensive.
Since July 7, Israel has pummeled the Gaza Strip – from air, land and sea – with the ostensible aim of halting Palestinian rocket fire.
Peres relinquished his largely ceremonial post as Israeli president to Reuven Rivlin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party.
Venezuela blamed Dutch authorities for the arrest of Carvajal, who ran military intelligence between 2004 and 2009 during the government of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.
The roadmap calls for negotiations to work out "questions of substance" between Aug. 17 and Sept. 11 before a second round in October to discuss areas such as security, reconciliation and humanitarian issues
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said wreckage of the flight had been spotted in his country's far north, toward the Algerian border between the towns of Aguelhoc and Kidal.
Spanish judicial authorities have sought the arrest and questioning of three U.S. soldiers accused of involvement in Spanish cameraman Jose Couso's death
The head of the Dutch police mission in Ukraine said it was difficult to get access to the site to look for more of the remains of the victims, many of whom were Dutch.
Udaltsov, who has been under house arrest since February 2013, and Razvozhayev were accused of coordinating the protests which turned violent on May 6, 2012
The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution 10 days ago that authorized aid access at four border crossings from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan
More than 50 people have died so far in the violence that has deepened fears post-war Libya is slipping into lawlessness
Russia has in the past denied it is directly involved with the rebellion in its western neighbor, but the United States and its European allies accuse Moscow of arming and encouraging the uprising
"Gaps remain between the parties, so his focus is on finding a formula that both sides can accept," said the U.S. official