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Pro-Newt Gingrich aura pervades Marco Rubio's Miami fundraiser

Some of the biggest and deep-pocketed Republican heavy-hitters opened their wallets Monday for Sen. Marco Rubio's Reclaim America PAC, which pulled in an easy $200,000.

Organizing the event: Rubio fundraiser Esther Nuhfer, whom we just learned is going to be Gingrich's finance director.

The big money wasn't as surprisinng as the number of folks who backed Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, or thought he would win the Cuban-American vote in Miami-Dade, where 72 percent of the registered Republicans are Hispanic (nearly all Cuban).

None would talk on the record. Some are backing other candidates. Others might work for Newt Gingrich. Others might endorse Gingrich later and don't want to spoil the surprise. "Cubans are conservative people and we're Catholic. I can't get over the Mormon thing," said one attendee, referencing Mitt Romney's religion.

Others had more of a policy reason to back Gingrich: He was the U.S. House Speaker who helped push Helms-Burton Act in 1996 after the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown.

One of the co-hosts of the Rubio fundraiser was Gingrich's newly minted Florida director, Jose Mallea, the former campaign manager for Rubio's 2010 race. He was accompanied by Gingrich's daughter, Kathy Lubbers, and Gingrich's head of Hispanic outreach, Sylvia F. Garcia.

When asked about whom the Cuban-American community would side with, Rubio spoke mainly about Gingrich and Romney, though he said other candidates could enter the picture depending on how they do in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina before Florida's Jan. 31 primary.

"Gov. Romney's had some pretty significant endorsements here in South Florida that will be very helpful to him. But Newt Gingrich is a known commodity around here," Rubio said. "People followed his career. He was Speaker of the House and was pretty consistently in favor of the positions of the Cuban exile community. Gov. Romney has done a good job coming down here and getting the support of very influential leaders. If I was running in Florida, I'd want the support of Ileana and Mario," Rubio said, referring to Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart, who endorsed Romney.

Rubio's longtime friend, Miami Republican Rep. David Rivera, who appears to be close to getting a clean bill of legal health after weathering a state and federal investigation into his finances, has yet to enter the political fray and said he was neutral for now.

Rubio's staying neutral in the race. But with the hiring of Mallea, it's a good bet that more folks from Rubio world will head to Gingrich's side as he ramps up his campaign. One political hand with longstanding ties to Gingrich said the former House Speaker's biggest problem isn't raising money -- it's getting enough staff to accept all the cash that's starting to flood the campaign now that he's gaining momentum.

Comments

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Name Withheld

Gingrich can have Rubio and every Cuban vote in Florida. They won't do him much good. Gingrich has peaked in popularity and has started his slow descent, and has never caught Romney in matchups with Obama. The Democrats have most Hispanic votes locked up. A Cuban vice presidential candidate will pull very few additional Mexican-American votes to the Republican side, if any. Gingrich's Catholicism is laughably token. Most Protestant Evangelicals think Gingrich is one of them. Most Southerners think he's one of them. Gingrich's key to the Republican nomination is through the redneck, anti-Mormon, anti-yankee vote. Hispanics are a waste of time.

Johnny

If the tea party backs Gingrich, they will be less credible than occupy wall street. Gingrich is exactly what the tea party protested against.

manbearpig

The Cuban community in Miami has once again proven who they are: ignorant, ill-informed, ill-conceived, ill-bred and very intolerable. Send these slime balls back to their country.

buckeye one

what a bunch of corrupt thieves! This is the same Esther Neufer (girlfriend of corrupt Myami Congressperson David Rivera) who is currently under FEDERAL INVESTIGATION by the FBI and IRS for SHAKING DOWN S FL gambling interests.
Esther and David's mom and godmother were the "bag ladies".
Is little Marquito still charging up hundreds of thousands of RPOF donor money on his AMEX card?
Don't forget Newt made a cool $2 million off the Fannie Mae collapse.

Are these people attending this fundraiser stupid or just plain crazy? Oh, forgot, they're a bunch of corrupt bums too, hoping to make a few bucks off the same government they're constantly criticizing.

mike

NG doesn't NEED to WIN the hispanic votes, just peel off 7% to 10%. He is Catholic, Pro-Life, and has VERY publicly adopted a pro-hispanic immigration policy. Mitt can't break out of his natural 25% resistance barrier. The primaries are over, and were over when he articulated his immigration policy in the debate. The General election ended that night as well. NG will be the next president of the US, all that is left is figuring the margin. Show me a map of th US & I'll give you the state by state breakdown right now. If he selects either Marco Rubio or Susana Martinez (a better choice) the margin is significantly higher & he actually becomes competitive in California (scoff if you will). I know I am sleeping much better since the debate knowing that we only have 13 months of Obummer left.

FLChristyB

Obummer and his thugs can do a lot of damage in 13 months! But I agree, Romney is losing support and many polls show Gingrich is in a statistical dead heat with Obummer in National polls. If Newt wins the nomination, those numbers will rise significantly and Obummers will fall, because everyone is just waiting to see who the nominee will be before throwing their support behind them.

Newt has made mistakes, but he is saying the right things, and he is a powerful speaker and communicator (all without a teleprompter or a dozen speech writers telling him what to say!)

Mariola Rosas

I Would love to see a Gingrich/Rubio ticket. I cannot wait to see Obama and his socialists / marxist viiew GONE! I hope Univision is fair because they are a bunch of liberals.

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