News roundup: October 20, 2011

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The New York Times reports that GOP immigration proposals—including the construction of a border fence and removing “magnets” like college tuition benefits—have the potential of alienating the growing Hispanic population. Hispanics make up sizeable chunks of the electorate in swing states such as Colorado, Florida, and New Mexico, where anti-immigration rhetoric will likely damage support for Republican candidates.

Republican rivals have turned up the criticism of Mitt Romney in attempt to label the former Massachusetts governor as a flip-flopper. Many social conservatives remain wary about Romney—who many see as a conservative out of political convenience rather than conviction.

Due to budget cuts, many schools are suffering to keep classrooms and other facilities fully staffed. Lenid Keebaugh, a fourth-grade teacher at Goode Elementary School in York, Pennsylvania, said the school was forced to not only cut grade-level teachers but also music, art, and physical education instructors. To help schools deal with these challenges, the American Jobs Act would protect 280,000 teachers at risk of being laid off and rehire tens of thousands of teachers who lost their jobs in the past three years.

The base of the Republican Party remains hesitant about Mitt Romney. Despite leading the GOP race for months, Romney is still unable to break the 25 percent threshold in polls as social conservatives have jumped from Michele Bachmann to Rick Perry and now Herman Cain in their continued search for any Romney alternative they can embrace.

At the opening of new state party headquarters in Georgia, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Democrats won’t be conceding any state in the quest to re-elect President Obama in 2012. "We are planting a flag in the South," Wasserman Schultz told the crowd in Atlanta. "We need to make sure we explain to voters that 2012 is personal."

President Obama spoke at the Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia on Wednesday to promote the American Jobs Act, the President’s proposal to create jobs and put people back to work. The plan gives businesses an added incentive—$5,600 in tax credits—to hire veterans who have been unemployed for six months or longer.

While in Flint, Michigan, Vice President Biden spoke with local firefighters and police officers about the struggles local communities have faced with an increasing number of first responders being laid off due to budget cuts. The American Jobs Act would provide local governments with $5 billion to keep fire fighters and police officers on the job to keep their communities safe.