I am very happy to announce that Jarrod and I are engaged to be married! While in Boston to celebrate the Christmas holiday with his family he asked and I said YES!!! Below, a snap shot taken right after the proposal at Boston’s Old North Church.

A special thank you to  Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle for making our day with her article – “Love on the campaign trail?! Top GOP communications gurus make it official” There are few people that have read every detail of their engagement in a major news paper only a few hours after it happens!!

Love on the campaign trail?! Top GOP communications gurus make it official

We’re happy to report that 2011 — a combative, partisan, ugly political year in a lot of ways — comes to a close on a cheery, upbeat note at last, with the news that two top GOP communications strategists who met and worked together on the campaign battlefield have found love.
Jarrod Agen, who was campaign manager for former State Insurance Comissioner Steve Poizner’s 2010 gubernatorial primary drive, popped the question today to the lovely Bettina Inclan, another key insider and strategist for the Poizner campaign. Wedding date hasn’t yet been set, but no question: GOP power couple on the move.

Sources tell us that there was no spin involved at all: Inclan said yes.

And the future is bright for both: Inclan, with her Mexican-Cuban roots, is about to launch a bilingual radio talk show — and is being wooed for a major gig on GOP Hispanic voter outreach.
Agen, a veteran GOP was a former spokesman for presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani and communications director   Nevada Tea Party darling/ U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle in addition to his work in the same key role on the Poizner campaign.

Since then, we hear from insiders,  ”he has been pursued, in some cases begged for, by just about every major GOP POTUS candidate to run their national (communication) shops.”
But Agen is sticking with Poizner, as director of corporate communications for ECI, the new Los Gatos-based online education firm.

Founded by Poizer, Hollywood producer and Foundation CEO Sherry Lansing, the talent powerhouse Creative Artists Agency, and the UCLA Extension. The Encore Career Institute aims to bring Silicon Valley’s tech-saavy and UCLA’s academic reputation to a whole new offering of online education for adults looking to make new career moves or update their skills in the workplace, Poizner told us earlier this year.
The details of the engagement, we hear: Agen proposed at Boston’s iconic Old North Church, where the GOP spinmeister  told her “this is where America started, so there’s no better place for our marriage to start.” (Nice!) That was followed by dinner in Boston’s North End (good choice), then a quiet night at the Omni Parker Hotel, where we know that JFK was engaged to Jackie O.

Pal and fellow GOP strategist Robert Molnar reports  the news has fired up lots of folks who have watched the romance bloom. “Jarrod and Bettina have always stood about the rest as the most talented, respected, and well-liked pair of communications strategists in the GOP,” he said. ” They’re two great people and great friends. I wish them all the best in their campaign of marriage!”

Likewise!  We’re happy to close out 2011 with their good news. Mazel tov, felicidades, and best wishes to two of the greats in the business as they embark on the ultimate adventure bus tour. Who needs Rick Perry, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney when they have this?

Thanks to our friends and family for making this day possible!

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Seven years ago Newt Gingrich hired Sylvia Garcia to head his efforts to connect with members of the Hispanic Community. Since then Garcia has been instrumental in helping the former Speaker of the House with various projects including setting up a Spanish site of Newt.org in 2005, translating two of his books and DVD on Pope John Paul II, host a Hispanic conference and launch a popular conservative web site for Latinos called TheAmericano.com.

Now Gingrich, who learned to speak Spanish, is hoping to capitalize his long-standing relationship with the Latino community into votes for his presidential bid.

The Daily Caller writes “Gingrich campaign works to translate Hispanic ties into votes,” and examines Gingrich’s campaign efforts to court Latino voters.

“…Gingrich, Garcia said, has been having regular round table discussion with Hispanic business and religious leaders at least since 2006, and that the campaign has a Spanish-language campaign website, NewtPresidente, along with a Spanish language Facebook page and Twitter feeds. His religious conversion is also often highlighted when reaching out to Catholic and Evangelical Hispanics.

“Hispanic inclusion is front-and-center in this campaign,” Garcia said. “It’s always been front-and-center in messaging for Newt, and the communication to the Hispanic community has always been important to him.”

“I think that’s really where he can differentiate himself from the other candidates,” she continued.

Garcia also hopes Hispanic voters can make a difference for Newt in the upcoming primaries.

“I think one of the biggest mistakes Republican campaigns have made in the past has been to ignore the Latino vote for the primaries,” she said, adding that it’s a good way to earn their trust and build a “sincere relationship” before the general election.

“Newt’s position on immigration and Latino issues is important, and it’s unique, and we think it’s important to talk [about],” Carli Dimino, Gingrich’s New Hampshire inclusion director, told TheDC in the campaign’s bustling Granite State headquarters in Manchester…”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/16/gingrich-campaign-works-to-translate-hispanic-ties-into-votes/#ixzz1gzdKclxf

American comedian and overall funny man Will Farrel is promoting his new movie role playing Mexican Armando Alvarez, a role in which he only speaks Spanish!

The comedy, Cade de mi Padre, melds a Western action movie and a overly dramatic Spanish telenovela. It joins Farrel with popular Mexican actors Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna as well as the movie love interest, Miami’s Génesis Rodríguez, all speaking Spanish (and features English subtitles).

Ferrell’s Armando Alvarez, who’s been running the ranch of his father for many years, but in recent times they have encountered financial problems. When his younger brother Raul (Diego Luna) shows up promising the benefits of his business ability, things start looking up for Armando. But then there’s an unfortunate love triangle between the two brothers and Raul’s fiancee Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez), and it turns out that Raul has some rather dodgy business contacts, not least of whom is Gael Garcia Bernal’s terrifying gangster Onza.

The movie is another example on how Latino culture is becoming mainstream, even if it’s an over dramatic, ridiculous telenovela characterization of itself. Watch the movie trailer below, in what I believe is a song performed by Ferrell himself. The trailer promises the film will be filled with “passion, adventure, intrigue, betrayal, sex, danger, romance, guns, cigarettes, special effects and slaps” and a whole bunch of  ridiculousness. The movie is set for release on March 16.

Republican Presidential campaigns are solidifying their strategy to connect with Latino voters, the nation’s largest growing demographic and a critical swing vote in battle ground states. The diverse group of voters is a must win for both political parties in order to claim victory in November 2012, given the break down of the electoral map.

Recently, the Obama team described possible paths to victory for the incumbent President, explaining how he can win the 270 electoral votes necessary to secure a second term. Four out of the Five paths rely heavily on support from the Latino community. Republicans are hoping to change that equation with renewed efforts to improve the Party’s image with the Hispanic electorate.

In a recent interview with AFP the GOP campaigns discussed the Latino vote and how they plan to win over Hispanic voters.  Given the failing economy and overall Latino disapproval of President Barack Obama many Republicans are mapping out their own path to victory with the Latino vote.

“We realize that Hispanics are an important part of both the primary process and the general election process,” said Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the campaign of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

“We’re committed to reaching out to them and discussing Governor Romney’s messages on jobs and economy,” he added.

More than 60 percent of US Hispanics are of Mexican origin or descent, with other large communities from Central American nations, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Increasingly more have come from South American nations like Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Because the group is so diverse — with different social, linguistic, religious and economic priorities linked only by Spanish colonial cultural ties — it is hard to target as an electoral force…

…Gingrich, in an address in New York state this month, said “my basic approach is first of all the economy: the Latino community is very hard-working, they take care of their families.”

“Gingrich really understands that Latinos think for ourselves. It’s the same thing (Republican president Ronald) Reagan used to say: that Hispanics were Republican and just didn’t know it yet,” joked Sylvia Garcia, Gingrich’s National Hispanic Inclusion Director.”

Read more of Jordi Zamora’s AFP article: “Republicans bid to overhaul image, woo Hispanics

A new poll by Latino Decisions shows that about half of Latino voters are still undecided on who to vote for President and are not excited about the upcoming 2012 election. The data is bad news for President Obama who needs a super majority of Latino support, about 75%, to secure a second term in the White House.

The new poll examined a variety of topics including likely voter turnout and important policy issue facing Latinos, economy and jobs still remain at the top of that list. Latino Decisions poll also asked about the role of religion in Latino political attitudes, the impact of Marco Rubio on a presidential ticket and the efforts of both political parties in engaging Hispanic voters.

While the ever changing Republican primary has generated a lot of media attention, it has done little to excite the average Hispanic voter about the Presidential election. Only 44% of Latino voters said they are very enthusiastic about participating in next year’s U.S. presidential election, compared with 47% in October and 50% in August.

When examining Latino attitudes towards the GOP and the Republican Party it is clear that there is much work to be done. About 20% of Latino respondents said they are certain or are considering voting for a Republican candidate. Half of Latinos feel the Republican Party  is doing a poor job in connecting with Hispanics. This can be turned into an opportunities for Republican candidates to connect and motivate Hispanic voters who aren’t currently engaged in the political debate. A recent Univision poll found that a majority of Latino voters still were not familiar with the Republican presidential field.

A rare topic that was examined by the Latino Decisions poll was religion and politics from the perspective of Latino voters. It found that while Latinos are somewhat more religious as compared to non-Latinos, their religious beliefs are far less relevant to their political attitudes. 53% of respondents said that religion had no impact on their vote and about 55% of Latinos don’t care about a candidate’s religion. When asked about Mormonism,  less than 1/3 of Latinos know that Mormonism is a form of Christianity – a question that was clearly aimed at understanding Latino attitudes towards Republican Mitt Romney.

Read the full report and see the slide deck on the poll at Latino Decisions: “Latinos not very enthusiastic about the 2012 election

“…The impreMedia/Latino Decisions poll began measuring the election preferences of Latino voters in February of this year. It has been measuring their enthusiasm for voting in next year’s presidential election and their potential support for President Obama and a Republican rival. In six separate polls, Latino voters’ tendency to identify with the Democrats and President Obama’s approval rating among the majority of Latinos—except for Latino Republicans—have fluctuated somewhat, but have generally remained above 60%. Nevertheless, the voting intentions and enthusiasm of Latinos, which are crucial for Barack Obama’s re-election in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and even Arizona, which is now said to be up for grabs, are not as positive for the president as could be expected. “On the Democratic side, there’s no competition or much discussion. In 2008, as we remember, there was a lot of enthusiasm around the race, particularly between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama,” said Barreto….”

The United States Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070, violates the U.S. Constitution and interferes with federal law.

Among the provisions being challenged is one that requires Arizona’s police officers to question people they stop about their immigration status. Critics of the bill say that the law leads to racial profiling. Proponents of the bill argue that Arizona is acting to protect its citizens due to the inability of the federal government to do its job curbing illegal immigration.

The Arizona law will be the second high-profile dispute the high court will confront in the Spring of 2012. They have previously stated they will rule on President Obama’s health-care overhaul, his signature piece of legislation.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of these two hot button issues will create a fire storm leading into the 2012 election making illegal immigration and healthcare the central issues. An election in which the economy should be the main focus.

Latino voters will be thrown into the middle of these discussions and will likely become more motivated to vote. The tone of the immigration debate and how the candidates deal with both issues will significantly impact voter enthusiasm and voter turn out.

The Supreme Court justices themselves will also become a major issue in the 2012 election, as the next President will likely make at least one Supreme Court appointment, given that four of the nine justices are in their 70s.

UPDATE:

The Washington Post takes a look at the role of the U.S. Supreme Court cases will have on the election and why it is a major gamble for the Obama White House. In addition to taking up health care and the Arizona immigration law, the court will a review a contentious redistricting situation in Texas.

Read more WP: Supreme Court inserts itself into 2012 election in a major way.

 


Today, millions of Mexicans and Latin Americans honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint.

Every year during this season, over 8 million people make their way to the Basilica of Saint Mary of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Today, December 12th, marks the day in 1531 when the indigenous Juan Diego saw the Virgin of Guadalupe in a night-blue cloak studded with stars on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City.

La Virgen de Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious image commonly called  the “Queen of Mexico” and “Empress of the Americas.” She is a prominent part of Mexican culture and an integral part of the Mexican identity.

The Vatican celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. The catholic celebration was televised live on Telemundo and on various stations throughout the U.S. and viewed by many of the nation’s Hispanics. During the Mass, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed he will travel to Cuba and Mexico next year.

Over 40% of the world’s Catholics reside in Latin America. This will be Pope Benedict’s first trip to Mexico, which is the second only to Brazil as the world’s top Catholic nation.

To learn more about this important day read, THE AMERICANO: Hispanics remember Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas:

“The Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated every year on December 12th with a variety of rites ranging from the serenade with Mariachis the night before –which is televised nation-wide in Mexico– to the midnight ceremonies by concheros, who call upon nine spirit guides with pagan dances and Catholic chants all through the night, before dancing all day in front of the Basilica.

Hers is one of the main religious shrines in the world, second in visitors only to the Vatican. Pilgrims from all over Mexico and abroad converge on Tepeyac Hill, seeking healing and favors, keeping vows, or simply paying homage to their beloved Little Mother, Queen of Mexico, Patroness of the Americas. It is also a Feast Day in the United States.

The opening of the New World brought with it both fortune-seekers and religious preachers desiring to convert the native populations to the Christian faith. One of the converts was a poor Aztec Indian named Juan Diego….