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Rep. Sanchez Apologizes for 'Vietnamese' Remark

3 years ago
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For 13 years, Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez has commanded a good chunk of her southern California district with a reliable and strong bloc of votes from a large Hispanic population. She has ridden her Mexican ancestry and pro-immigrant policies to repeated electoral victories -- until now.
Now things are getting tough. Locked in a tight re-election campaign against a Vietnamese-American Republican, Sanchez, who was born in California to Mexican parents, said in an interview with Univision TV earlier this month that the "Vietnamese and the Republicans" in her district were "trying to take away" her House seat after "we have done so much for our community."
Her remarks ignited the blogosphere and talk radio and angered residents of Santa Ana, which she represents and which has one of the country's oldest and largest Vietnamese communities. Conservative commentators joined the fray when her words were reported in the Orange County Register this week, and her opponent, a state assemblyman named Van Tran, lashed back, calling her remarks "offensive and wrong."
Poor Loretta, she was left with nothing to do but apologize. "I used a poor choice of words that some people have taken as offensive," she said at a news conference Friday afternoon. "I apologize for those remarks." But she didn't apologize for calling him "very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic.''
"She directly attacked me, slandered me," Tran said on Friday, demanding an apology. A lawyer who with his family left Saigon shortly before South Vietnam fell to the communists in 1975, Tran accused her of going on "a racial rampage" on Spanish-language TV.
We throw those words around too loosely, but the truth is, there's no way to misinterpret Sanchez's remarks. She was plainly playing the race card, making a play for the Hispanic vote by pitting Latinos against the smaller Vietnamese community.
What's startling, too, was her apparent sense of entitlement. When she said that the Vietnamese and the GOP were trying to "take away this seat," she clearly meant "our seat." That unsaid but implied word -- "our" -- made a big difference. Was she saying that Hispanics own that seat?
That is old bloc politics -- and it isn't any prettier when it is a Hispanic Democrat mouthing the words and taking that low road.
Sanchez, who is 50, had been running just a few points ahead of Tran, according to recent polls, but it's too soon to know how this misstep could harm her candidacy for an 8th term in Congress. Maybe it won't hurt her at all.
Hispanics do carry a big stick in electoral politics, and on the whole the Democratic Party has been their home. Loretta Sanchez switched parties in 1996 after she ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the Anaheim City Council. Her younger sister, Linda Sanchez, a Democrat who is nine years her junior, was elected to California's 39th District in 2002.
Coincidentally, a strong lineup of Hispanic Republicans is running for high office in the midterms, hoping to break Latino blocs that Democrats seem to take for granted. The three most prominent of them -- the U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida, Nevada gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval, and New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez -- are all ahead in the polls.
Surveys show that Hispanics identify more with the Democratic Party than with the GOP. But recent polls also show that many Hispanics are open to conservative views, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. In a survey last year by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization, 56 percent of Hispanics opposed abortion rights and 44 percent opposed gay marriage, positions usually linked to Republican conservatives. And another Pew survey shows a surprisingly high number of Hispanics (30 percent) favor the tough anti-immigrant Arizona law.
So it's not far-fetched to think that Loretta Sanchez's seat may not be all that secure. Maybe her solid Hispanic vote is not so solidly liberal anymore. Nothing is as it was in this political cycle, and she knows it.

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45 Comments

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dc walker

Having lived in Vietnam for two years I am happy that there is someone whose family emigrated from that country and has embraced this country. As for her opponent, no nice words to say.

September 27 2010 at 7:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
MFDIGITAL1

"Rep. Sanchez Apologizes for 'Vietnamese' RemarkBy Luisita Lopez Torregrosa GOP candidate Van Tran gets an apology from Cal. Rep. Sanchez after charging her remarks about Vietnamese-American voters "offensive and wrong." I note that the front page lead in gets "GOP" and "apologizes" in headline. If the reader does not click on through to the story, he/she can be left to tie the GOP candidate to the offensive and wrong adjectives. If one candidate's party is identified in a lead statement why not identify BOTH for clarity.

September 27 2010 at 12:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
scott7841

Hopefully the recent revelations about voter fraud in Houston will cause every state to look into election / voter fraud. Google Houston voter fraud and you can find out what was discovered. This may answer the question of how Obama and the democrats took control of our country. If it isnt investigated and cleaned up........November elections and 2012 elections will be a farce.

September 27 2010 at 7:42 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
plazzzebo

Since when the Hispanic has the entitlement of the USA? They come poor and work illegally. Look at the medicaid, it goes to all hispanic and blacks. Why would we pay for all those lazy people and illegals from my tax? All the liberals, you should all move to Europe or communist countries. Everyone must work in order to get something back. I will vote out all the democrats and kick Obama out asap. Maybe we should start impeachment of Obama. How could the greatest country voted and let this man ruining the country? Well, I have changed my mind for not sending my daughter to go to Harvard. I am scared she might be as stupid as Obama. How scary!!!

September 27 2010 at 4:37 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ddan8719

The writing is on the walls,for thoese with the insight to read..Research laraza..you may get a hint of there ultimate goals..as for mexifornia..sorry, already has a dominate hispanic population..4.2 million in los angelas alone//.only six more western state to go and laraza will have succeded..

September 27 2010 at 12:23 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ddan8719

Mexifornian..a suburb of mexico and central america for the most part do not like other minorities takeing what they consider there jobs..only six more states to go and "laraza" will have suceeded in turning the intire west coast into a seperate spanish nation..Have to give credit where credit is due..as it turned out it was very simple..a sea of humanity with no one to stop them.. how-ever the great plains states may put up a struggle,providing they are not seperate muslim states..welcome one and all..

September 27 2010 at 12:11 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Continue writing

Author Torregrosa states: "And another Pew survey shows a surprisingly high number of Hispanics (30 percent) favor the tough anti-immigrant Arizona law." Please get it correct, lest we see your bias in this article ... If quality journalism is your quest, Ms. Torregrosa, should it not read "the tough anti-ILLEGAL-immigrant Arizona law." Why is the word "ILLEGAL" so often incorrectly left out when this topic comes up? Is this a part of the campaign of deliberate misinformation? As far as Sanchez is concerned, since her first campaign for "her" seat against the former incumbant, Robert Dornan, she has played the race card often and without any apologies. A win by Van Tran would be a breath of fresh air.

September 27 2010 at 12:00 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
change to englis

"They" wrote it because knowledge is power (LOL Barry) Why isn't the headlind written: "Democrat "Rep. Sanchez Apologizes for 'Vietnamese' Remark"" so that it's clear whixch party she belongs to? "They" would do it for a Republican.

September 26 2010 at 9:34 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
cdnbirch

As a progressive Democrat I say that our party should not tolerate racists like Sanchez. She should quit.

September 26 2010 at 8:35 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
dlturp

Rep. Sanchez was being a politican. She stated her views as she ment them. I don't understand why she had to apologize. Tran is a vietnamese republican and they are trying to take away her house seat. This is all bull and a show no wonder our government doesn't work. This story isn't worth the time it took to write or publish.

September 26 2010 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dlturp's comment
cdnbirch

Her remarks were extremely racist. She was speaking on Spanish radio ( I presume she thought she would not get caught if she was speaking in Spanish). 1. The seat belongs to the American people, not the Hispanic race. To suggest otherwise, like she did, is racist. 2. She did not refer to Vietnamese Americans.. she said "Vietnamese and Republicans" as if the Vietnamese Americans in her district are not real Americans and don't count. 3. Then she added, after we have done so much for "our community". The way it is phased, she is saying after having done so much for the Hispanic community. It sure sounds like she thinks non Hispanics are irrelevant. 4. Then she called a legal immigrant to this country..." very anti-immigrant"! Why? Was it because of his skin color? There could be no other reason. She must think only Hispanic immigrants count. 5. Then she called her Vietnamese American, opponent, "very anti-Hispanic"! Why? It is not anti-Hispanic for a Republican to run against a Democrat, though it appears Sanchez thinks it is. Nor is it anti-Hispanic for an American to be against illegal immigration; 70% of the country is against it. 6. If a white politician said the same things Sanchez did,they would be immediately forced to resign. Hopefully, the voters in Sanchez's district are against racism and will vote her out of office. P.S. I am a progessive Democrat but we don't want racists like Sanchez in the party.

September 26 2010 at 8:48 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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