CHARLOTTE, N.C. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castros keynote speech to the Democratic convention was a potent message blending immigrant dreams with partisan bite.
The 37-year old Castro, a rising star in Texas but little known on the national stage, roused the packed audience at the Time Warner Center by claiming that Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesnt get it.
Castros tale was in part standard political fare for a party seeking to solidify its standing among immigrant voters.
Raised by a single mother born in the U.S. and a grandmother who had emigrated from Mexico, Castro and his identical twin brother Joaquin achieved happiness and success through hard work and a good education made possible by the American dream. But from there, Castro pivoted to an assault on Republican Mitt Romney, whose policies Castro said would dismantle the middle class if elected.
We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we dont accept is the idea that some folks wont even get a chance, Castro said. And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican party are perfectly comfortable with that America.
He added, I dont think Gov. Romney meant any harm. I think hes a good guy. He just has no idea how good hes had it, a pointed jab at Romneys considerable wealth.
Castro also taunted Romney for his shifting positions on issues like abortion rights, gay marriage and his own push for universal health care as governor of Massachusetts.
Gov. Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it isnt pretty, Castro said.
The Romney campaign shot back at Castros claim the GOP presidential nominee is insensitive to the middle class.
Middle class families understand that they are not better off than they were four years ago because President Obamas liberal policies have failed to turn around the economy, spokesman Ryan Williams said.
Until now, Castro has enjoyed a spate of favorable media profiles, a landslide re-election last year and speculation about whether hell become the governor of Texas or even the countrys first Hispanic president. His well-received turn at the convention all but guarantees more of such chatter.
Castro was introduced onstage his brother Joaquin, a Texas state legislator from San Antonio now poised to win election to Congress in November
My familys story isnt special. Whats special is the America that makes our story possible, Julian Castro said. Ours is a nation like no other, a place where great journeys can be made in a single generation. No matter who you are or where you come from, the path is always forward.