The New York Times notes that the tone-deafness of the Kerry campaign continues even when the candidate himself is on a short hiatus. Speaking for John Kerry in New Mexico was his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, who didn’t wow them down Albuquerque way:
The crowd was cheering wildly as John Kerry, John Edwards and their spouses danced around one another on the open-air stage at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Then Teresa Heinz Kerry took her turn at the microphone and said, “I am an immigrant, too,” clearly making a bid for the many Hispanics in the audience.
This time the applause was lukewarm and there was some head-shaking; many Hispanic families have been in New Mexico for generations and some take a dim view of immigrants.
The Kerry campaign’s advance unit seems to be falling down on the job, or Teresa is ad-libbing on the stump again. Perhaps if they picked Bill Richardson for the #2 spot, they would have already known that illegal immigration is a sore spot for New Mexico residents. In fact, Democrats at the rally made some comments for the record that would have had them screaming “bigotry!” at Republicans under similar circumstances:
“You know what the problem is with this state?” said Erlindo Castillo, a librarian in Santa Fe, in an interview afterward. “Too many Mexicans.”
“They come here for the free services and to take our jobs, and then they send all the money back across the border,” said Ms. Castillo, an American flag in one hand, a Kerry poster in the other.
In a state that Bush lost by a mere 366 votes in 2000, mistakes like this could make the difference. (via Kerry Spot)