After watching Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tangle with Sen. Joe Biden on TV last night, one Dallas gay guy–an Obama supporter, yet–said, “She was so cute and great, she almost made me want to go straight.” A similar euphoria–minus the gay part–was evident this morning at Dallas’ Fairmont Hotel, where more than 100 Hispanic leaders gathered for a private fund-raising breakfast to meet the Republican VP candidate. They waved signs saying things like “Good Job Sarah You Kicked Butt” and “Yes … We McCain.” They listened to red-meat talks like one by Gov. Rick Perry, who promised that Palin and GOP presidential hopeful John McCain would take on Congress and “not only say no, but hell no, to their ear tags and their earmarks!” When Palin (shown here) and her husband Todd finally swept into the room to shake hands and pose for photos, you might have thought they were Jennifer Lopez and Julio Iglesias for all the excitement.
The room at the Fairmont was thick with Republican Party bigwigs.
There was Robert Mosbacher Sr., the Houston oilman and former commerce secretary–and Dick Van Dyke lookalike–who’s now general chairman of the McCain campaign. There was Juan Hernandez, a goateed open-borders advocate who serves as McCain’s Hispanic outreach director. R. Ted Cruz–the former solicitor general for the state of Texas and a rising GOP star–delivered a powerful pitch for McCain-Palin, as did other Hispanic leaders.
Their main arguments, in a nutshell: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama habitually “overpolls,” so the race is far from lost. Since Hispanic voters play key roles in battleground states like New Mexico, Colorado and Florida, an aggressive effort will be needed to persuade them to the GOP–currently a “damaged brand” among Latinos. Contended Mosbacher, in a typical plea: “It’s not the African-American community that stands up for Hispanics. It’s people like John McCain and, to a certain extent, me.”
When all was said and done, though, the well-heeled throng didn’t need much convincing. Especially once the Palins finally appeared through a side door, announced grandly by a handler. The crowd including Nina Vaca, CEO of Dallas’ Pinnacle Technical Resources, and CiCi Rojas, CEO of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, rushed forward and swarmed the rope line, shouting out greetings to the star couple as flashbulbs blazed.
For this group–at that moment–Sarah Palin had already won the election.