Latinos Launch Tequila Shot At Tea Party

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Host Michel Martin and NPR Digital News' Corey Dade comb through listener responses to Tell Me More's recent parenting conversation about leaving children in hot cars. Dade shares his report on a new political movement. There's also an update on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' intern Daniel Hernandez, who threw the first pitch for MLB's All-Star Game in Phoenix, Ariz.

MICHEL MARTIN, host: And now it's time for BackTalk where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. And today we want to try something new. We're going to talk about a story featured on NPR's website. It's about a new political group called the Tequila Party. It was formed by Hispanic activists to get more Latinos to vote in 2012.

We're going to hear from Corey Dade. He's a national correspondent for NPR Digital News. And he reported this story. Corey, welcome back.

COREY DADE: Hi, Michel.

MARTIN: So tell me about the Tequila Party. How did they come up with the name?

DADE: Well, tequila shots all around.

MARTIN: That's it?

DADE: Actually, no. This isn't a drinking party. But the Tequila Party is a Latino answer to the Tea Party. They blame the Tea Party for its influence on Republican officials who pass laws cracking down on illegal immigrants in states like Arizona and Georgia. And instead the Tequila Party wants immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship.

Now, the large national Tea Party groups tell me immigration is not their issue. But I found several local Tea Party organizations that clearly support these tougher immigration policies. And, Michel, get this: The Tequila Party president, DeeDee Garcia Blase, was a well-known Republican activist in Arizona. Now, she's left the Republican Party over this issue.

So, can they motivate more Latinos to vote in 2012? Well, it won't be easy. Only half of all eligible Hispanics voted in 2008. Turnout is projected to rise next year, but enough to turn the tide on immigration policy? Well, we'll see.

MARTIN: Well, thanks, Corey. And we'll link to your story on the TELL ME MORE program page of, so people can check it out. Now let's turn to a story that aired on our program this week. There was some strong reaction to Tuesday's parenting conversation.

DADE: Absolutely, Michel. Your moms panel talked about a tragic case in Virginia where Karen Murphy accidentally left her two-year-old son in a hot car for several hours. The child died. And the mother has been charged with child neglect and felony murder.

MARTIN: This story stirred up some very strong feelings for our panel of parents and also for many listeners. Ramie Weisser(ph) of Decatur, Illinois told us this story about her own child.

RAMIE WEISSER: Ten months ago my one-month-old son passed away as a result of an accident. I love my son and I never would've hurt him. I cannot imagine being charged with murder for my accident. The fact that Karen Murphy has done this before, though, changes my mind. I do think that she should be charged with neglect, but being charged with murder is absurd. She will never forget that it was she that hurt her child.

MARTIN: First of all, obviously our hearts go out to you, Ramie Weisser, and to all those who shared some very painful stories with us.

DADE: Yes.

MARTIN: And so we thank you for sharing your stories. And obviously we're going to keep all of you in our thoughts. Corey, do we have any updates?

DADE: Yes, Michel. We have an update from Arizona. We all remember Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head back in January. That day 12 others were also injured and six people died. Giffords might not have survived that day without the help of her intern, Daniel Hernandez. He provided first aid to Giffords before the ambulance arrived. And of course he talked with you about this back in January.

Well, on Tuesday, Daniel Hernandez got a hero's welcome in Phoenix where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Major League Baseball's All-Star game.

MARTIN: Well, that's nice. Well, thank you, Corey.

DADE: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. That number again is 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave us your name. You can also find us on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE, NPR.

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