Neither is the Secret Service.
Minutes before President Obama spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials on Friday, the Secret Service made sure that all the forks were cleared from the room.
The knives were already long gone.
Having Obama as the lunchtime speaker meant over 1,000 diners had to gulp down their chicken and hand over their forks before the keynote stepped to the microphone.
It seems like some pretty serious heightened security for Mr. President. And that’s when he’s speaking to what was considered to be a “friendly” audience. Imagine what it must be like when he talks in front of the NRA.
Maybe the Secret Service thought Mitt Romney was hanging around after his speech to the same group the day before. (Not to suggest that Romney would want to do anything to the president, except beat him in November, but the president’s protectors might be overreacting just a tad. Or they’re eyeing everyone as a potential suspect — out to “fork” the president.)
Once he started speaking, though, Obama proved he’s not forking around either. He’s got the Hispanic vote sewed up. Romney doesn’t have a prayer. He might as well just move on.
Obama had the Latino vote. He had it in 2008. Polls show he still does. By as much as 3-to-1 over Romney.
He put the cherry on top Friday before last, when he announced his “stopgap” DREAM Act, halting the deportations of an estimated 800,000 young undocumented immigrants.
This past Friday, he got a standing ovation from the NALEO crowd.
“These are all our kids,” he said.
Before Obama made the announcement, polls showed him beating Romney in the neighborhood of 66 percent to 23. But Hispanic “enthusiasm” for the president was lagging. More than half of Latino voters surveyed, 53 percent to be exact, said they were less enthusiastic than they were in 2009.
Two days after the announcement, Latino Decisions found that 49 percent were more enthusiastic. By a week later, Obama’s “enthusiasm” rating with Hispanics had soared to 58 percent.
“The announcement on June 14 appears to have clearly erased Obama’s enthusiasm deficit among Latinos,” the poll’s authors said.
The NALEO speech was just gravy. But the president knew how to ladle it on.
“When I meet these young people,” he said, “all throughout communities, I see myself. Who knows what they might achieve? I see my daughters, and my nieces, and my nephews.
“That’s the promise that draws so many talented, driven people to these shores. That’s the promise that drew my own father here,” he said.
Talk about making a connection! The guy’s got it locked!
Romney spoke to the same group the day before. The audience didn’t even fill the room.
He used a lot of words, but he was stunningly vague.
“Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.”
No one was wowed.
“His [Romney's] message on immigration was a little confusing because it was different from what he’s said in the past and those points were not well-received,” Luz Urbaez Weinberg, a Republican city commissioner from Aventura, Fla., told CNN.
It’s not going well with Hispanics for Mr. Romney.
But having Hispanic support is not the same as having the Hispanic vote. The danger for Obama in November is that all that Latino love still won’t motivate Hispanics to get to their voting precincts.
“Talk is cheap,” Romney said about the president’s campaign speeches about the economy.
The concern for Obama is that Hispanic talk is, too. Like him as much as Latinos might, the only Valentine that counts is at the ballot box.