Romney’s Adventures on Univision

With the polls showing him losing the Latino vote by a huge margin, Mitt Romney booked an appearance on Univision, the Spanish-language TV station, last week. It didn’t go so well. Not only did he show up with a fake tan that would make John Boehner blush, now details are coming out on a whole bunch of other behind the scenes incidents.

But the enthusiasm gap may have been an optical illusion formed by a series of last-minute demands by the Romney campaign, according to Maria Elena Salinas, one of the Univision anchors who moderated the forums.

Salinas told BuzzFeed that tickets for each forum were divided between the network, the respective campaigns, and the University of Miami (which hosted the events) — and she said both campaigns initially agreed to keep the audience comprised mostly of students, in keeping with the events’ education theme.

But after exhausting the few conservative groups on campus, the Romney camp realized there weren’t enough sympathetic students to fill the stands on their night — so they told the network and university that if they weren’t given an exemption to the students-only rule, they might have to “reschedule.” …

In any case, Romney’s team was allowed to bus in rowdy activists from around southern Florida in order to fill the extra seats at their town hall.

And it still almost didn’t happen:

That wouldn’t be the last demand from the campaign: Romney himself almost pulled the plug on the whole thing minutes before the broadcast, Salinas said.

While introducing Romney at the top of the broadcast, Salinas’s co-anchor, Jorge Ramos, noted that the Republican candidate had agreed to give the network 35 minutes, and that Obama had agreed to a full hour the next night. Ramos then invited the audience to welcome Romney to the stage — but the candidate didn’t materialize.

“It was a very awkward moment, believe me,” Salinas said.

Apparently, Romney took issue with the anchors beginning the broadcast that way, said Salinas, and he refused to go on stage until they re-taped the introduction. (One Republican present at the taping said Romney “threw a tantrum.”)

“Our president of news was talking to the Romney campaign and negotiating it,” Salinas said. “But at that point, you can’t really argue with that. The candidate is there, everyone is in their seats, the show must go on. There’s a limit to how much we can object to it.”

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  • leftwingfox

    Ah, so it was not just a fuck-up, but it was a personally micromanaged fuck-up.

  • Abby Normal

    Not only did he show up with a fake tan that would make John Boehner blush…

    You’d think he’d have learned after that embarrassing address to the NAACP in black-face incident.

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    So did they retape the intro? If I were the network exec, I would have said, “We’re not retaping the intro. If you don’t go out there as agreed, I’ll go out there and explain to that live audience and to the broadcast audience exactly why you are not coming onstage.”

  • eric

    In the spirit of ‘you might be a redneck if…’, I give you, ‘your campaign might be in trouble if…’

    Your campaign might be in trouble if….

    …you have to bus supporters in from out of town

    …you consider the mere mention of your opponent by commentators to be a PR disaster

    …you think darkening your skin is a valid strategy to appeal to voters

  • Steve LaBonne

    Every picture of Romney should be captioned “Christ, what an asshole.”

  • matty1

    I keep seeing that as Romney’s adventurous unicorn, which makes him sound much more interesting.

    Seriously though, it’s increasingly obvious he’s a beautifully unique sparklepony (sensu Kluwe).

  • TGAP Dad

    …with a fake tan that would make John Boehner blush

    How would you actually know if John Boehner blushed?

  • jba55

    He should have gone on Sabado Gigante then the ridiculousness could be claimed to be appropriate to the venue.

  • @3 That was my thought as well. If I ran a network, any time a politician turned down an interview, the segment would run an as an expose on why they were refusing to appear, and what they might be hiding. 35 minutes on Romney the spoiled child and his forcing them to bus in supporters because he couldn’t find enough on hand would have made great television.

  • Mr Ed

    In a tight election every undecided voter must be fought for. Internal Romney polling showed that 12% of former Jersey Shore cast members and 8% of umpa-lumpas are still up for grabs. This is the only reason he went with the orange face paint.

  • Larry

    How would you actually know if John Boehner blushed?

    He turns a darker shade of orange?

  • TGAP Dad:

    How would you actually know if John Boehner blushed?

    You wouldn’t know. But, John Boehner is physically incapable of blushing. He has no shame.

  • Larry wrote:

    He turns a darker shade of orange?

    I see a song parody here, using the song Whiter Shade of Pale.

  • Michael Heath


    John Boehner is physically incapable of blushing. He has no shame.

    I’ve always figured he does experience shame, which is a primary motivation for his being a drinker.

  • Obama’s people should have either pulled out when they realized the network was breaking its own rules, or publicly called the network out during the show.

    This is a classic example of Republicans’ inability to function — or even walk unassisted — outside of their carefully crafted media bubble-verse. If Mutt Romney can’t even stand up to the mere mention of his opponent, how can we expect him to stand up to the Iranians, or the Chinese?

  • oranje

    @8: I would go out and get cable or satellite just to watch Romney be on Sabado Gigante.

  • mikeym

    If Gov. Romney does join the cast of Jersey Shore, he already has a nickname, courtesy of his running mate: The Stench.

  • Michael Heath

    Raging Bee writes:

    Obama’s people should have either pulled out when they realized the network was breaking its own rules, or publicly called the network out during the show.

    Politico’s Mike Allen daily email asserted that President Obama clearly won with the Univision viewing audience over Mr. Romney. That Mr. Romney’s stacking the audience only aggravated the viewing audience while they appreciated Mr. Obama facing a more representative audience of Univision viewers who attended the broadcast.

  • What surprised me about this was the complete cultural tone-deafness of Romney’s move:

    Many people in the Spanish-speaking community know (either first hand or through relatives) the public perception tricks played by strong-man politicians, that INCLUDE busing in supporters that boo at real questions and cheer at softballs, that demand that TV stations air only what the candidate approves, that pander to the fears of the “other” when making their point to their audience.

    Mitt Romney did all of those things, and is (apparently) not hiding from it, either, even though it was obvious to begin with, and was made blatantly so when Univision’s Salinas confirmed it to be so.

    That, plus the candidate’s own flip-flopping positions on immigration, on social issues, on inclusiveness, on education, on medical insurance, etc., only make him less trustworthy, and I’d imagine that it would be especially so for a voting group that has first-hand knowledge of discrimination against them and first- and second-hand knowledge of the dishonest campaign tactics – that harken to the shady campaign tactics of many Latin American countries in the recent past – that he has pursued at them.

  • Please let there be video of this tantrum, and let it leak out to YouTube.