We'd love to tell you what Mitt Romney had to say to San Antonio on his Thursday swing through town before scoring his George H. W. Bush endorsement in Houston. Unfortunately, we can only tell you what was on the minds of the 100 or so protesters chanting outside the Pearl.
Around midday, Mr. Inevitable's caravan sped up to the Pearl stable and the GOP frontrunner jumped inside to pose with supporters at a private, no-press fundraiser (a crew of anxious reporters was kept way, way at bay). He snuck out in similar fashion. Romney's private security boxed in the exit and promptly whisked him away, trying to block him from protestors and cameras -- in rather stark contrast to Rick Santorum's USAA appearance in town exactly a week ago.
Outside, the crowd of protestors decried Romney's stance on two particular issues: taxes and immigration.
With a swath of yellow signs calling him "Mr. 1%", one group chided Romney's views on tax policy. Romney, with an estimated net worth upwards of $250 million, managed about $4.5 million in deductions in 2010, making his effective tax rate 13.9 percent. Cries of "Romney and the 1 percent are crushing the middle class" abounded as the group called for Congress pass the so-called Buffett rule, a tax proposal named after billionaire Warren Buffett that would set a minimum 30 percent tax rate for anyone earning over $1 million. Senate Democrats have insisted they'll bring the Buffett rule to the floor around tax day next month.
Local Democratic congressional candidates Joaquin Castro and Ciro Rodriguez were among others challenging Romney's stance on immigration, particularly the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, provided they go to college or join the military. Romney's insisted he'd veto such a measure, calling it a "handout."
Romney also caught heat for his advisor on all things immigration, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect of the country's most infamous anti-immigrant policies, Arizona's SB1070 and Alabama's HB56. You can see Mayor Julián Castro debate (sort of) Kobach's hard-line stance on immigration at this NPR debate from last May.
-- Michael Barajas, firstname.lastname@example.org