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November 19, 2017

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Retweet of chimichanga reference embroils Obama staffer

Think before you tweet. Those words of advice cannot be repeated enough, especially among those involved in political campaigns in an election year.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina (@Messina2012) was the latest person to forget that mantra, exposing himself to attacks on Wednesday after he retweeted a line from a Washington Post column.

Line of the day from WAPO's Dana Milbank: "The chimichanga? It may be the only thing Republicans have left to offer Latinos."

The line is a direct quote from Milbank’s column posted on Tuesday. It was the closer to Milbank’s column, which criticized Republican U.S. senators for stalling the nomination of a Latino judge to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the column he mentions that instead of allowing the process to move forward many senators spoke about off-topic issues. Arizona Sen. John McCain espoused the virtues of his state, including its lettuce production and its stature as the supposed birthplace of the chimichanga.

Republicans, joined by some critics from the left, quickly jumped on Messina’s tweet as insensitive.

Jennifer Korn of the center-right nonpartisan Hispanic Leadership Network issued a statement calling for an apology:

"The fact that the campaign manager of President Obama’s reelection campaign thinks it’s appropriate to disseminate insulting jokes about the Hispanic community is a perfect example of the kind of empty rhetoric that characterizes this White House’s so-called outreach to Latinos. We demand that Mr. Messina immediately apologize and we ask that President Obama disavow his campaign manager’s ridiculous statement. Liberals are always trying to put Hispanics in a box. In typical fashion, when liberals cannot speak substantively to the top issues facing our community, they resort to name calling."

Messina later responded on Twitter: "Tweeting someone else’s words caused a stir, but the GOP is on the wrong side of every Hispanic voter priority."

The nonpartisan right-leaning Hispanic Leadership Fund later tweeted: "So what does Obama offer Latinos? More government dependence, unemployment, broken promises, and failed policies."

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