Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, appearing loose and confident, received an enthusiastic response Thursday from the Hispanic Leadership Network at its meeting in Doral.
Romney was introduced by his son, Craig, who said, in fluent Spanish, that his father has the experience and success as a businessman to be "an excellent president."
Romney called Thursday night’s debate “delightful” and said he “loved it.” In the debate, Romney repeatedly attacked opponent Newt Gingrich, but didn’t mention him at all in his remarks Friday morning.
“There is a time coming soon,” Romney said, “when Cuba will be free and we have to get organized for it.”
Romney said that if he’s elected he will speak out quickly and forcefully when the Castro regime ends and support democratic forces in Cuba.
Romney was preceded at the Hispanic Leadership Network meeting by Newt Gingrich, who was warmly received, but Romney appeared to be the group’s favorite.
“I think what you’re sensing here is a man closing in on victory,” said former Miami Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Romney supporter.
Latin-American leaders endorse Gingrich
A spectrum of Latin-American leaders endorsed Gingrich's bid to be the Republican candidate for president.
Following the endorsement at the Doral Golf & Country Club in Doral, Gingrich spoke at the conference of the Hispanic Leadership Network, repeating what have become familiar South Florida speech themes: Assert more U.S. influence in Latin America, assert more effort in ousting Cuba's Castro regime.
Gingrich distanced himself from frontrunner Romney on Friday by backing a new bill that would grant citizenship for illegal immigrants who serve the United States in the military and the need to allow a way for 11 million of them to earn citizenship.
Hours later, Gingrich addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition in Delray Beach, where he turned attention to the Middle East.
"When people say we don't have to worry about an Iranian nuclear weapon, I wonder where they've been?" said Gingrich. "Three nuclear warheads properly placed in Israel is a second Holocaust."
That message was printed along with a photo of Gingrich on the cover of an Israel tabloid newspaper owned by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who donated $10 million to a super political action committee funding Gingrich.