State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Corbett says Dems are twisting his words on Latinos

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | May 23, 2013 11:52 AM
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Democrats are trying to put the governor on the defensive after comments he made in Philadelphia last week about the lack of Latinos serving on his staff.

Gov. Corbett spoke to the capital region's chamber of commerce Thursday, the morning after a torrent of e-mails and articles blasting him for what Democrats are portraying as the governor’s latest gaffe.

The crowd didn’t buy into his entire speech. A line asking business owners whether taxes are one of their biggest concerns got so little reaction Corbett tried to cajole the crowd into raising their hands.

But he got applause when he said he hoped on Election Day he would be judged for what his administration has done, “and not how sometimes they want to twist and reinterpret the words that I say,” Corbett said, “because it is our actions, not our words.”

His latest words to come under fire came last week, when Corbett told a Latino newspaper in Philadelphia he has no Latinos serving on his staff. Then he asked those in the audience to help him find one.

Democrats pounced on the comment Wednesday, distributing video of it and calling it an insult to Pennsylvanians.

The remark comes weeks after Corbett took withering criticism for saying the state’s unemployment rate was due in part to job applicants who can’t pass drug tests.

Corbett said his words have been taken out of context – something he said Thursday comes with the job.

“You kind of live in a fishbowl,” Corbett said. “Everything you say is just about recorded. Everybody parses it. Everybody takes it out – not everybody – people can take it out of context, the opponents like to take it out of context.

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said in a statement Wednesday the governor’s comments in Philadelphia referred to his immediate staff. Corbett has appointed three Latinos during his term, Harley noted, though one has resigned and another was never confirmed by the Senate.

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