Jose Fuentes, a co-chairman of Mitt Romney's Hispanic leadership team, recently established a specific goal: the Republican campaign intends to "hit 38 percent with the Hispanic vote."
Under the circumstances, that's almost comically ambitious. Romney intends to do significantly better than McCain/Palin, which won 31% of the Latino vote in 2008, but recent polling suggests the former governor will do far worse.
Romney still hopes outreach will help turn things around, but there's a lingering problem: his message hasn't changed at all.
Mitt Romney will seek to bolster his support among Latino voters Monday with an address to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, hitting President Obama on the economy and vowing to reform the nation's "broken" immigration system.
"No one is exempt from the pain of this economy, but the Hispanic community has been particularly hard hit," Romney will say, according to excerpts from his address. "While national unemployment is 8.1 percent, Hispanic unemployment is over 10 percent. Over two million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office."
Romney will tout his economic plan, repeating pledges to "create 12 million jobs by the end of my first term" and vowing to balance the nation's budget.
In other words, Romney intends to go to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, delivering the same speech he delivers everywhere else, pushing the same dubious talking points, and hoping Latino voters don't know the difference.
Indeed, the Republican campaign released extensive advance excerpts of the speech, and there doesn't appear to be anything new at all.
Why does this matter? Because Romney has already delivered plenty of speeches to Latino groups and organizations, and he won't address what's kept his support so low with the community in the first place.
There's no great mystery here. Romney has gone out of his way to deliberately antagonize Latino voters -- endorsing "self-deportation," vowing to veto the DREAM Act, palling around Kris Kobach, using "illegal" as a noun, describing Arizona's SB 1070 as a "model" for the nation, etc.
Unless the Republican is prepared to change his mind (again), and completely reinvent his entire worldview (again), reminding his audience today about high unemployment doesn't seem like a winning strategy.
In fact, in an amusing twist, Romney intends to condemn Obama today for failing to approve comprehensive immigration reform. Why is that amusing? Because Romney opposes comprehensive immigration reform.
There's nothing wrong with Romney reaching out to constituencies that generally support President Obama, but he shouldn't expect new results unless he's prepared to offer a new message.