- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2012

MEXICO HITS CAMPAIGN TALK

The Mexican ambassador is urging U.S. presidential candidates to tone down their rhetoric on issues affecting U.S.-Mexican relations, the thorniest being illegal immigration from Mexico.

The Mexican Embassy in Washington released Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan’s analysis this week of the presidential campaigns in the United States and his own country as illegal immigration became a hot-button issue in the race for the Republican nomination.

Front-runner Mitt Romney on Wednesday picked up endorsements from key U.S. leaders fighting illegal immigration. The former Massachusetts governor has promised to oppose any amnesty for illegal aliens and to secure the U.S. border with Mexico.

In Mexico, where presidents are limited to one term, voters will elect a leader July 1 to replace Felipe Calderon.

Mr. Sarukhan, in the latest embassy newsletter, declined to mention any U.S. presidential candidate by name, and directed criticism toward broad generalities about the nature of politics.

Nearly 7 million Mexicans are in the United States illegally, according to the Congressional Research Service. They comprise 62 percent of the estimated 11 million illegal aliens.

Mr. Sarukhan called on U.S. and Mexican politicians to avoid cheap shots and concentrate on “sound judgment and sound policy.” His words are diplomatic, but his message is clear.

“The way candidates or potential candidates on both sides of the border address issues of the bilateral relationship, however, often distorts the reality on the ground, the challenges of our shared agenda and interests, and even what Mexicans or Americans really think about the Mexico-U.S. relationship,” the ambassador wrote in the newsletter.

“This happens because electoral politics often drives candidates to make unfortunate statements or unrealistic proposals in order to potentially score quick political points with special constituencies which might have a particular take on a given aspect of the Mexico-U.S. agenda, even at the expense of sound judgment and sound policy.”

Mr. Sarukhan also criticized “a growing trend” among politicians “around the world” who have become “prey of the results of [public] opinion polls.

DIPLOMATIC ENDORSEMENTS

Five former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican are backing Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential contest, praising his pro-life policies and “outstanding” support for family values.

The ex-diplomats, who represent all but two of the living former U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See, declared their “wholehearted support” for Mr. Romney in a letter released last week.

They based their support on Mr. Romney’s “commitment to the support of the values that we feel are critical in a national leader,” and praised his “outstanding record in defense of marriage and the family.”

“We also know that Mitt Romney is a staunch defender of the principle that every human being should be welcomed in life and protected by law from conception to natural death,” they said.

The support of the five pro-life Catholics is a stamp of approval for Mr. Romney’s position on abortion, which changed from pro-choice as late as 2002 to pro-life in 2005.

In endorsing Mr. Romney, a Mormon, they rejected the two Catholics in the GOP race - former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum.

The letter was signed by: Thomas Patrick Melady, ambassador from 1989 to 1993; Raymond L. Flynn, who served from 1993 to 1997; James Nicholson, ambassador from 2001 to 2005; Francis Rooney, the envoy from 2005 to 2008; and Mary Ann Glendon, who served from 2008 to 2009.

Mr. Flynn, a former mayor of Boston, is the only Democrat among the group.

Mr. Romney picked up another diplomatic endorsement Thursday. John R. Bolton, a feisty former ambassador to the United Nations, praised him for having the “strongest vision for America’s leadership role in the world.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.