12:45 pm Mar. 16, 2012
On a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee this morning, Brooklyn congresswoman Nydia Velazquez called Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor "an icon," and said Mitt Romney will pay at the polls for criticizing her as an "activist, liberal jurist."
"So many Puerto Ricans and Latinos in this country, we're so proud of her achievements," she said. "And for him to say this, not only is he insulting Sonia Sotomayor, he's disrespecting Puerto Ricans and Latinos in this country."
Romney's attempts to appeal to the conservative wing of his party by staking out a tough stance on immigration and voicing support for Arizona's controversial immigration law, have already complicated his pursuit of Latino voters. Velazquez, a native of Puerto Rico and the first woman from the island elected to Congress, suggested Romney's criticism of Sotomayor could cost him votes in upcoming primaries in New York and Puerto Rico, and in Florida's general election.
"I hope that when he comes to New York, that he will answer why is it he is using this type of tactic to gain and score political points with the most reactionary wing of the party?" she said "And I hope that people in Puerto Rico as well as in Florida, Puerto Ricans particularly, learn and understand and get to know what this man is doing. Because it's really outrageous. I am really angry."
As the D.N.C. noted in a press release yesterday, five of the nine Republicans senators who voted for Sotomayor's confirmation have endorsed Romney, and another Romney backer, Puerto Rico's governor Luis Fortuno, distanced himself from the criticism earlier today.
"I'm going to be waiting for him in New York when he comes to New York," Velazquez said.