Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) took on MSNBC’s Alex Wagner and her entire panel of guests Wednesday over the GOP’s approach to immigration reform and minority outreach.
“You’re a person of color,” Wagner reminded Labrador in an odd comment while discussing the House GOP’s opposition to the Senate’s immigration reform bill.
“Your mother was a single mother. You came to this country from Puerto Rico. Are you satisfied that the outreach and the messaging that your party has gotten to single women, working women, single mothers, to people of color?” she asked.
The congressman replied by calling Wagner’s characterization of the GOP’s stance on immigration reform a “little off,” noting that that Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) agrees with him and is regularly reelected by his overwhelmingly Hispanic district.
“What he does is he reaches out to the Hispanic community,” Rep. Labrador said. “He doesn’t pander to the Hispanic community.”
“Pandering to the Hispanic community like The New Republic and MSNBC wants us to do, that is actually a recipe for disaster,” he added.
Wagner didn’t like the word “pandering” and shot back: “I would beg to differ on that last point.
“If you’re pandering, it’s going to be the side that panders the most that’s going to get the result,” the Idaho congressman continued. “We’re never going to out-pander the Democratic Party.”
Wagner jumped in to accuse Rep. Labrador and the Republican Party of obstructing good faith attempts to naturalize illegal immigrants.
“You’re saying that they only way the Republican Party can win is by accepting an immigration reform bill that is not fully completed,” Rep. Labrador responded, adding that he is all for providing legal immigrants with all the benefits afforded U.S. citizens.
“It’s a wonder” then, Wagner scoffed, that President Barack Obama managed to win two thirds of the Hispanic vote in 2012.
Watch the discussion unfold here [“person of color” remarks at the 16:00 mark]:
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(H/T: Noah Rothman). Featured image screen grab.