Dems Hope to Turn Corbett Latino Comment into Gaffe

Corbett Al DiaDemocrats really want Gov. Tom Corbett’s Latino comment to be a gaffe.

They’ve made it clear in a couple of press releases, complete with links to 13 major media outlets. Each of them picked up a story on the Governor’s recent comments at a forum hosted by the Spanish-language newspaper Al Dia after the video was publicized by left-leaning website Think Progress Wednesday.

Here’s the exchange in question (video here):

Moderator: Do you have staff members that are Latino?
Corbett: No, we do not have any staff members in there. If you can find us one, please let me know.
Moderator: I am sure there are Latinos that…
Corbett: Do any of you want to come to Harrisburg? *laughter* See!?

Democrats are taking those comments and running.

“It’s another comment that reveals how out of touch Tom Corbett is with the people of Pennsylvania,” the PA Dems opined.

“A Governor’s administration must set the tone by reflecting our diversity with talented, skilled men and women of all backgrounds,” said Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, one of the candidates vying to unseat Corbett.

What are they talking about? Corbett’s Secretary of Health for 2 years was Eli Avila, who among other things is a first generation Puerto Rican. It’s clear from the audience response in the video that his joke about Latinos moving to Harrisburg fit in with the tenor of the event and was well received.

Perhaps chastened by the PR cost of their delay with the flap over Corbett’s recent drug tests remark, his office decided to push back against this creeping narrative firmly and immediately in a statement Tuesday.

“This is just another attempt by a liberal blog in Washington D.C. to malign the governor by taking comments out of context made during an hour-long interview with ‘Al Dia’ newspaper, based in Philadelphia,” said Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley.

“This is just another attempt by an extreme, left-wing blog to malign Governor Tom Corbett.”

That release reiterated Avila’s appointment and named a number of other Latinos Corbett has appointed to various posts.

“I meet with the governor to talk about important issues in the Latino-Hispanic community,’’ said Maria Montero, who Corbett appointed director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs.

“He is 100 percent supportive of Latino-Hispanic leadership and is very interested in keeping an open pipeline with increasing the number of Latino-Hispanics who serve in state government at all levels. There are nearly 1,500 Latino-Hispanics working in the Corbett administration.”

It’s PR 101, but that represents an uncharacteristically quick response and could portend a new approach to damage control in the Governor’s office.

The final note from Corbett’s office:

In addition, Ken Trujillo, was nominated by the governor as commissioner for the Liquor Control Board. His nomination, however, was blocked by Senate Democrats.

11 Responses

  1. It’s not unexpected from someone who is so out of touch.

    I’ve met the Governor. He is a very pleasant person one on one, but put a mike in front of him or put him in the company of his sycophants and katy bar the door.

  2. Corbett has the unique skill of being able to articulate what so many others just think to themselves but don’t say out loud. Then when people call him out, he gets angry and defensive and says he’s “taken out of context”. He may still win next year because of the power of incumbency, and the ridiculous number of Democrats running, but he really needs to learn that he represents more than the business community in this state and people will understandably react badly when he continues to insult his constituents.

  3. Well, if Corbett can’t see the Latinos in his administration, maybe he should see the ones with the courage to run for office in his PARTY!!

    This is really something of an irony, considering this latest gaffe:

    https://www.facebook.com/da4da

  4. OMG-Are the Knights of Cobett’s Round Table trying to sabotage him? Why is he speaking at a Latino forum, an important swing group? Guv: Why not bring Tommy Chong into your cabinent? He is an expert on alleged politically motivated prosecutions in PA. I am sure Mr. Chong would have very out of the box ideas on increasing the State’s revenues. It is great that after the voter suppression controversy, our Governor has an outreach to minorities. What’s next Governor Corbett an outreach to swing albino dwarfs?

  5. The excuse is always “comments were taken out of context”. It was used in regard to comments about drugs and employment opportunities and now Latinos. Put it to rest and face the music, Tom!

  6. The Governor, God Bless him. He does have Latinos in his cabinet, just not at Secretary level. Just under. But high up.

    He should know them by name they are so few, but they are there. The Governor really needs to get his gaffes and tone deaf snarky comments down to a minimum.

    Get to know your team, get out and defend/sell your policies. You’re leaving your troops to die on the political battlefield and at the rate you’re going Gov, you’re insuring that you’ll get mowed down first!!!!

    Wake up, Man!!!

  7. @fdsa –

    That wasn’t the question. Governor Corbett was asked if he had any “staff members” who are Latino, not “Cabinet members.” Zero members of his cabinet, executive staff, and senior staff are Latino. I believe that has been the case for his entire term.

    As for President Obama, Thomas Perez, the nominee for Labor Secretary was approved by Senate Committee but his confirmation has been delayed by Senate Republicans. Hilda Solis was Secretary of Labor for the entirety of his first term, and Ken Salazar was Secretary of the Interior from beginning of his first term until resigning last month. Additionally, President Obama has many “staff members” who are Latino.

    But you can disregard facts if you wish.

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