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Campbell Brown, right, interviews actor Eva Longoria. (Marc Bryan-Brown)

Unstoppable

Eva Longoria: Hillary Clinton and Latinos Can Flip Texas for Democrats

‘The tide is changing,’ actress Eva Longoria told the Women in the World summit, explaining why Latina women hold the key to immigration reform—and turning Texas blue. By Andrew Romano.

Sorry, Joe Biden.

On Friday morning, former Desperate Housewives star and Barack Obama campaign co-chair Eva Longoria announced that there’s only one presidential candidate for whom she’d be willing to volunteer in 2016: Hillary Clinton.

“I was so exhausted after 2012,” Longoria said during the Latina Power panel at Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s 2013 Women in the World Summit, shortly after Clinton herself left the stage. “I was thinking I would never volunteer for another campaign, and then someone said, ‘How about Hillary?’ And right away I was like, ‘Unless Hillary runs.’”

Longoria, whose Eva Longoria Foundation promotes education and entrepreneurship among Latinas, was joined on the panel by political adwoman Lorena Chambers, CEO of Chambers Lopez Strategies LLC, and chocolatier Maribel Lieberman, founder of MarieBelle New York. Writer and former NBC and CNN anchor Campbell Brown moderated.

Longoria’s admission came near the end of a conversation about the power and potential of America’s fast-growing Latino community—a population that’s set to double by 2050. Chambers, who created Latino-focused television spots for Obama’s reelection campaign and is considered, Campbell said, to be “the most powerful woman in political advertising,” argued that “if we”—meaning Democrats—“turn the vote in Texas, then we will absolutely turn the [2016] election.” (Many analysts believe that Texas, a majority-minority state, could become a battleground if low-voting groups like Latinos and African-Americans  register and organize.)

According to Chambers, that sort of transformation would require the right candidate at the top of the ticket—and she knew just the person for the job.

“I will probably get in trouble in D.C. for saying this,” she confessed, “but the one candidate who can do that is Hillary Clinton. She’s really beloved in the Latino community. If she runs in 2016, we have a fabulous chance of turning Texas blue.”

Chambers and Longoria agreed that, so far, the conversation around immigration reform has not helped politicians reach Latino voters. “Up until now, the messaging has been horrible,” Longoria said. “There’s so much xenophobia out there. People think there’s going to be a Taco Bell on every corner” if comprehensive reform passes.

A ninth-generation Texan, Longoria didn’t realize that she was “the Mexican” until leaving her home district in Corpus Christi to attend a gifted-and-talented school as a child. “I got on the bus and I had a tortilla, and everyone else had Pop Tarts,” she said. “I was like, ‘What is that?’ and they were like, ‘What is that?’ I kind of live on the hyphen between Mexican and American.”

But Longoria added that with legislation pending in Washington, “the tide is changing.”

“And I think it’s in the hands of women,” she said. “The messaging is in the hands of women, because we’re just better at it.”

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