By Oren Liebermann
HARRISBURG, Pa., (CBS) – Governor Tom Corbett tried to pick up a few Latino votes during a roundtable in Philadelphia last week, but the governor may have done just the opposite, offending the group he was courting.
Moderator Sabrina Vouroulias, Managing Editor of Al Dia, asked Gov. Corbett, “Do you have staff members that are Latino?”
“No, we do not have any staff members in there. If you can find one, please let us know,” responded Gov. Corbett.
“We hear it all the time,” says Vouroulias, whose bilingual newspaper serves the Latino community. Vouroulias says she inwardly cringed at what the governor said.
But he wasn’t done yet.
“I’m sure that there are,” started Vouroulias during the roundtable before Gov. Corbett interjected.
“Any one of you want to come to Harrisburg?,” joked Corbett.
“It’s remarkable how many times people will say that to us in explaining how few Latinos there are at upper management levels,” says Vouroulias.
Governor Corbett says his comments were taken out of context. He responded at an awards ceremony in Hershey Thursday morning.
“It’s the political season. We have Washington Democrats and organizations – liberal-leaning organizations, taking things out of context now on a regular basis and they’re going to continue to do that,” said Governor Corbett.
Governor Corbett’s approval rating has slipped to 25% in a new Franklin and Marshall poll. Only one voter in four says he is doing a good job.
“He’s a little bit out of touch with his own reality in Pennsylvania,” says Philadelphia Councilmember Maria Quinones-Sanchez.
“His inability to acknowledge that his cabinet is not as diverse as the state is problematic,” she added.
A spokesman for Gov. Corbett pointed out that the governor has appointed Latinos to leadership positions in his administration, including Dr. Eli Avila, who was the Secretary of the Department of Health.