Starting a new chapter in my life, which means I am temporally leaving New York City. I had drinks with friends at a beautiful roof top bar in the Upper West Side as we toasted to life in NYC.

Lincoln Center

On a side note, talking about New York, what is up with Rep. Anthony Wiener?

The New York Congressman says his twitter got “hacked” and sent out a picture of his hooha to a 21- year old co-ed. Here is a full report form Bryan Preston at PJ Media.

Today is Memorial Day… while most of America is shopping, getting ready for BBQ and celebrating the start of the summer to take a moment to remember the true reason for this day – our fallen soldiers.

We decided to spend most of the day on the U.S.S. Intrepid in NYC. Remember, if you have a chance, thank members of our military and veterans for all they have done! It is because of their sacrifices, and those of their fallen soldiers, that we have our freedom.

Thanking a WWII Veteran

If you have never heard of Fleet Week in New York City, you don’t know what you are missing!! Fleet Week, which coincides with Memorial Day, is a tradition of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard to allow recently deployed military service members some needed R&R in the Big Apple. Right next to the USS Intrepid several military ships dock and anyone can tour the ships for free. SEE EVENTS

As a current New Yorker I have enjoyed meeting and taking my picture with our brave solders. Here are some pictures from Fleet Week.

Fleet Week in the Upper West Side

MORE PICTURES

President Barack Obama and the Latino vote in 2012….My general feeling is that Barack Obama is a better campaigner then a President. His strength has always been the power of his words, not the impact of his actions. In 2012, Obama is banking that he can once again court Hispanics with what he says, not what he does.

I recently spoke with Alexis Simendinger, White House Correspondent for RealClearPolitics for her story, “Wooing Latinos, Obama Banks on Words, Strategy Over Actions.” She writes:

“…Obama has accepted lessons from 2008, chiefly the importance of directly and respectfully reassuring the Hispanic community that its concerns — including jobs, education, immigration and health care — are his concerns. While the GOP presidential field shakes out, the president is making his pitch for four more years…

Latinos are now the largest U.S. minority, making 16 % of the nation’s population. If the GOP wants to win back the White House, they will need to focus on Hispanic voters in 2012 battleground states like — Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia (all won by Obama 2008) and not forget to connect with growing Latino populations in traditional Republican strongholds such as Texas, Arizona and Georgia.

On Wednesday night the Newseum transformed into the center of the Latino political universe as Hispanics gathered at the Washington D.C.’s  establishment for the Seventh Annual Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) gala awards.

Latino leaders from across the country flocked to the sold out event. The diverse crowd of corporate leaders, Members of Congress, grassroots activists, Hill staffers and CHLI interns rubbed elbows while catching a spectacular view of the nation’s capitol as they waited for the official program to start honoring the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, and Cesar Conde, President of the Univision Network.

Members of Congress at the CHLI awards

CHLI — a non-profit organization created by conservative members of Congress, from both sides of the political aisle —  presented the International Leadership Award to the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón and its Corporate Leadership Award to Cesar Conde, President of Univision Networks. These awards are in recognition of their respective contributions to the positive advancement of the U.S. Hispanic Community, which is now the nation’s second largest demographic group, the largest minority according to 2010 Census results, and the second largest economic market with an estimated purchasing power of more than $1 trillion.

The first award was presented to Univisoin President, Ceaser Conde who gave a heartfelt speech as he accepted CHLI’s Corporate Leadership Award. Joined by his immigrant parents (from Peru and Cuba) and his wife, the young executive discussed the major accomplishments made by Univision Network during his tenure, including the first Presidential debates by a Spanish-language station, a nation wide education initiative – Es El Momento, a townhall with President Obama, growth of the network and much more.

Discussing the realities facing the growing Latino community, Conde emphasized that “Latino issues are American issues… When Hispanics succeed the US succeeds ….”

Cesar Conde is a role model for all Hispanics,” said Lincoln Díaz-Balart (FL), CHLI Board Chairman and former member of Congress.

Throughout the night thanks were given to the many dignitaries, elected officials and special guests in attendance. A special video presentation was shown promoting CHLI’s summer intern program for college students and highlighting the dozens of students, many of which were present at the gala dinner. Yet, the main event of the night was the presentation of the International Leadership Award to President Calderon.

The Mexican President gave a strong speech, easily switching from English to Spanish, about the shared history between the two countries North American nations – U.S.A. and Mexico. He said it would be impossible to imagine the prosperity of the United States without the vast contribution of the Hispanic community. From the Napa wine country to foreign battle fields, America’s Latino community has contributed to its success.

Watch and read the full speech of the Mexican President:

“We are honored to salute and recognize President Felipe Calderon of Mexico for his courageous fight for the rule of law in his country.  President Calderon has earned the admiration of all Hispanics,” said Lincoln Díaz-Balart (FL), CHLI Board Chairman and former member of Congress in an earlier statement. Past recipients of the award include President Ma Ying-jeou of the Republic of China (Taiwan), former Prime Minister of Spain Jose María Aznar, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert, Senator Robert Menéndez (NJ), former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez, Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), and U.S. Congressman Mike Pence.

One of the most interesting points of the night came during the introduction of President Calderon by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. The Congresswoman asked the Mexican President to change the policies of Mexico and end deportations of Cuba political exiles back to oppressive Cuba, especially in light of the recent death of Cuban dissident Juan Wilfredo Soto.

On a personal note, it was a great event. Seeing many dear friends from my Washington D.C. days. In 2002 I started working for Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart and found a working environment which was constantly challenging and fulfilling. The experience cemented my Republican ideology (especially after watching hours of bi-partisan floor debate). Congressman Diaz-Balart wanted to help young men and women move up in the world, and soon after he, along with various members of Congress, started CHLI. It’s great to see the growth of the organization and its continued positive impact in Washington DC and across the globe.

Mexican President Calderon and Me

 

Agree with him, or not, President Obama and his team are not taking chances when connecting with Latino voters. On the heels of his El Paso speech, President Obama continues to do the rounds with Spanish-language media.

According to today’s POLITICO’s Morning Score by Alexander Burns, President Obama is making stops at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast, and doing interviews with Telemundo and Univision in major Latino heavy markets.

“TODAY IN D.C. – From the White House guidance: “In the morning, the President will deliver remarks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast … Later in the morning, the President and the Vice President will meet with the Senate Republican Caucus … Later in the day, the President is interviewed by Telemundo … the President will be interviewed by KINC Univision/Entravision Las Vegas, WLTV Univision 23 Miami and Telemundo Dallas.” …

Here is a lesson for 2012 Republican candidates, start NOW talking to Spanish-speaking media and reporters. That long-term relationship will make a huge difference in Latino engagement efforts… Do not repeat mistakes from the past by waiting till much later to hire a “specialty media” Spanish-speaking press operative for your campaign. Campaigns should adapt to the changing environment which includes the 24-hour news cycle, the prominence of Spanish-speaking media and the reality that many of those Latino viewers are bilingual.

I’m in Washington D.C. today attending the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Gala. It should be a great time. If you are attending let me know. If not, learn more about the group here — http://www.chli.org/

The organization is headed by former Congressman, the Honorable Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Vice-Chairs Congressman
Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL). Read more about the board here.

In a speech in El Paso, Texas President Barak Obama discussed his long-shot “new” push on immigration reform (and kick-offed his Obama 2012 Latino Outreach campaign).

It was the first time the President had visited the U.S.-Mexico border since winning the White House – 26 months ago. In his speech, he declared the border safer then ever and mocked Republican lawmakers for wanting more border security. The President said the GOP wouldn’t be happy until they get a moat with alligators along the border. The ridiculous statement by President Obama seemed like part of a messaging campaign aimed at saying it was those Republicans who were blocking immigration, not him….  hmmmm

The campaign stop in El Paso was purely political. With eyes set on November 2012, the question is, will Latinos re-elect a President who has broken every campaign promise made to them? In 2008 candidate Obama promised a better economic future, more jobs and the passage of immigration reform… the economy is worse, Hispanic unemployment is high and President Obama has not proposed immigration reform legislation.

In an interview in 2008, candidate Obama told anchor Jorge Ramos on Univision Network News: “What I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting.” Ramos has not let Obama, nor the Latino community, forget the President’s (broken) promise on immigration reform.

President Obama’s new immigration speech was mostly met with the same response – same old thing from a worried Politico.

Syndicated Columnist Ruben Navarrette penned a piece for Real Clear Politics, appropriately named “Same Old Tune on Immigration.” Navarrette criticizes the Obama administration current deportation tactics and for Obama’s “cynical and dishonest” approach when dealing with the immigration issue.

“This week, in El Paso, Obama again pledged to fix a broken system but not without an assist from Republicans. And again, he bragged about cracking down on illegal immigration. We’re a nation of immigrants, but also a nation of laws.  Blah, blah….

As someone who believes that illegal immigrants should be deported, what concerns me is that Obama is being cynical and dishonest. For example, after suing Arizona over the principle that enforcing immigration law is the job of the federal government and not local or state law enforcement agencies, the administration is using those agencies as a force multiplier and scooping up illegal immigrants arrested by them to boost the deportation tally.”

In columnist Esther J. Cepeda piece, “Obama Shouldn’t Take Latinos For Granted,” she states the President has not shown any real leadership on the issue of immigration. She opens the piece saying:

“President Barack Obama thinks Latino voters are stupid. There’s no evidence to the contrary, based on how he’s mishandling his campaign promises on comprehensive immigration reform.It’s already becoming a problem for him as he maneuvers toward the 2012 presidential election.”

Several Hispanic conservative groups spoke out on Obama’s statements including: