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GOP Rep. Jeff Flake, a Cuban embargo critic, stumping for Mitt Romney in Iowa

Mitt Romney touted his endorsement in Miami last November of three Cuban-American Republicans who have made it their mission in Congress to keep a hardline stance against Cuba.

But in Iowa, Romney is campaigning alongside Rep. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican and well-known champion of lifting the U.S.-Cuba trade embargo.

It was a trifecta for Romney to score the backing of Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart and former Rep. Lincoln Diaz Balart, all staunch supporters of the embargo. (Earlier, Romney had drawn the support of former Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, another influential Cuban-American. The four politicos had backed Sen. John McCain in 2008.)

Romney has backed the embargo as well as restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba, so he has disagreed with Flake on the issue. Similarly, Romney disagrees with the high-profile Cuban-Americans on immigration, though he once shared Martinez's views on broad reform.

Yet the clash of endorsers and their issues shows what a tightrope presidential candidates must walk when they campaign across the country. A supporter that works in one state (or even part of a state, such as South Florida) may not work -- and could potentially backfire -- elsewhere. It's tricky for the endorsers, too, who stand to be accused of putting their party over their principles when their presidential pick (or one of his surrogates) doesn't agree with them on some of their key issues.

It's safe to say the Cuban-Americans won't be stumping for Romney in Flake's district in Arizona -- and Flake won't be glad-handing for Romney in South Florida.

Comments

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John McAuliff

Rep Flake actually reflects better the opinion of Cuban Americans on travel for themselves and the rest of us than the trifecta.

Why is Sen Rubio holding back? Waiting to see who the likely winner is so he preserves his suitability as a VP nominee?

Alina Quintero-Calvet

Rep Flake is not representing all Cuban Americans in this country, only the younger that were indoctrinated before getting here. We stand with Ileana, Mario and Lincoln Diaz Balart.

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