A pair of El Paso lawmakers may be tapped to defend President Barack Obama’s record during his reelection campaign.
State Sen. Jose Rodríguez and state Rep. Marisa Marquez, both Democrats of El Paso, have joined the “Texas Truth Team,” a group of about 20 surrogates who will utilize social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, attend community meetings and conduct media interviews to talk about Obama’s efforts during his first term as president.
“The election is still nine months away but we’ve seen the Republicans already launch very unfounded and dishonest attacks on president Obama and we’re just making sure that the public has the accurate information and that they talk about the issues and own up to the truth,” Marquez said.
Members of the Texas Democratic Party and of the Democratic National Committee announced the team—one of more than 50 across the United States and in Puerto Rico —at a press conference Wednesday in Austin.
“What we’re doing in every state in the country is making sure that while the Republican attack machine is operating on full throttle that we not allow the lies and distortions and mischaracterizations to go unchecked,” DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said while in Austin on Wednesday. “I have watched previous presidential elections take some of this garbage lying down and it’s not going to happen on my watch.”
The Florida congresswoman said one such distortion by Republican presidential candidates is the assertion that the president has a failed economic record. Wasserman Schultz cited 23 consecutive months of private-sector job growth for a total of 3.7 million jobs.
Republican Party of Texas spokesman Chris Elam said he does not believe Obama’s record is being distorted. He did not seem concerned about the new batch of Obama surrogates in the Republican-dominated state.
“There are a lot of things that the president is going to have to answer for in this election and we certainly welcome the opportunity to have a great debate about that,” Elam said.
During the 2008 presidential election, Obama received about 44 percent, or 3.5 million votes in Texas. John McCain, R-Arizona, got about 55 percent, or 4.5 million votes in the state.
“We feel that the Obama message is not popular in Texas,” Elam said. “We feel that it gives us an opportunity to clearly define what Republican values stand for in Texas.”
Republican candidates are battling it out this primary season for a spot against Obama in the general election. Democrats on Wednesday jabbed at the two frontrunners in the GOP primary race—former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum—on issues that included immigration reform.
Obama supports comprehensive immigration reform that would let some undocumented immigrants, such as those who entered the United States as children and attended college or served in the military, to stay in the country. Romney has said he supports “self-deportation” by undocumented immigrants, which he believes will stem from a lack of access to employment.
“Really? Our policy should be that 11 or 12 million undocumented are just going to line up and deport themselves?” Wasserman Shultz said criticizing Romney’s stance. “It’s so dramatically out-of-touch. It’s also unbelievably insensitive.”
Rodriguez said he is ready to back the president on various issues that include immigration reform.
“I wanted to make sure that they could count on me here in this part of the state, of the country, to respond to any issues that might need a response from someone like me from the border,” Rodriguez said.