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Battle For Cuban-American Hearts and Minds Battle For Cuban-American Hearts and Minds

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Battle For Cuban-American Hearts and Minds

Lidia Munoz, 61, of Miami, center, stands at the front of the line waiting for the doors to open at a job fair held by the Miami Marlins to fill over 2,000 positions in their new baseball stadium, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, in Miami. Over 1,000 people were in line when interviews began for jobs varying from managerial to event day positions. The new stadium opens in April 2012. Munoz arrived the night before to wait in line. (AP Photo/ Lynne Sladky)(AP Photo/ Lynne Sladky)

January 23, 2012

Mitt Romney has been making an aggressive play for the Cuban vote in a state where they represent a pivotal part of the Florida Republican electorate.  He's won the support of the Diaz-Balart brothers, former Sen. Mel Martinez, and much of the Cuban-American establishment in the state.

But it's Gingrich's hawkish message on Cuba - saying Fidel Castro will be going to hell, support for an aggressive overthrow of the regime, and call for a Cuban Spring--  that has the potential to win over voters in the community.

In 2008, Romney did not do well in Miami-Dade County, with the state's largest concentration of Cuban-Americans. He won just 16 percent of the Florida vote in the county -- well below the 31 percent he carried statewide.  And he's been taking a relatively hard line on illegal immigration, which could be a turn-off to the Cuban-American community.

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