Romney to visit El Palacio Del Los Jugos
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A local restaurant is preparing for Mitt Romney's South Florida arrival.
"I've been here around the clock. Look, I'm sweating," said Jorge DeLallama.
Crews at the El Palacio Del Los Jugos restaurant set up barriers, built a stage and hoisted an over-sized banner written in Spanish supporting the Republican presidential candidate, early Monday morning. They expect about 2,000 people to attend the rally.
Romney and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep.-Fla., are on the way to South Florida after stumping earlier in the morning in St. Augustine. "We need to help people in Florida to get housing prices up again and let people stay in their homes," said Romney that morning.
"Just imagine how things could be here in Florida," said Rubio. "Just imagine how many jobs and businesses could be created if [Florida Governor] Rick Scott had a partner in Washington D.C."
Despite Romney recently announcing Paul Ryan as his running mate, seeming to pass on Rubio, who has a Cuban heritage, Romney is going after a key voting group in South Florida. "It is very important for him to convey in his message that he is supporting the Cuban and Latins," said El Palacio Del Los Jugos owner Reinaldo Bermudez. "Anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of the community is going to be out here, which is Cuban, Hispanic."
Though Rubio was often a rumored pick as Romney's vice-presidential choice, the Senator went to Twitter over the weekend not long after Romney's official announcement: "@MittRomney has made a great choice picking @RepPaulRyan for #VP."
Ryan's South Florida counterpart, US House Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep.-Fla., discussed Ryan's appeal, bringing up his plan to overhaul Medicare. "The Ryan plan is what he calls a path to prosperity," she said. "It makes sure that we can save programs like Medicare and Social Security."
That makes two of the three issues, analysts say, are crucial to how Floridians vote. The third: the trade embargo with Cuba, which Ryan once opposed. But, some say, his stance on these issues could also be a turn-off to some Florida voters. "His plan to overhaul Medicare may not sit well with the very few undecideds that are out there and certainly with seniors, especially in Florida," said Kathryn Dapalo, an instructor at Florida International University.
Democrats are ready to pit that against the pair of White House hopefuls. "So let me tell you, Mitt Romney and Congressman Ryan," said US Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Dem.-Fla., Chair of the Democratic National Committee, at a rally for current president Barack Obama, "as a mother, I believe a child needs an education more than a millionaire needs a tax break."
DeLallama expects the GOP hopeful to address the community in Spanish. "I expect to listen to him speak in Spanish to all my employees," he said. "He [Romney] speaks Spanish, that's what I heard."
Some residents said they will not vote for Romney at this year's election, however. "No, definitely not," said a patron. "I'm not part of his campaign. I'm not into what he's into."
While others are looking forward to meeting the presidential candidate. "I'm very excited to meet him, personally" said Dania Ferran, who already has her ticket to the rally.
Ferran was happy to hear about Romney's choice of running mate, too. "The best," she said. "He's smart. He knows how the country is run. He has budget experience."
Romney will make his stop at the restaurant/fruit stand on Coral Way at 5:25 p.m. Doors open at 3 p.m. "Where else would a political event be held other than El Palacio Del Los Jugos?" said Bermudez. "This is the heart of the Cuban community."
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