Today on “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” actress and activist Eva Longoria outlined her new role as national co-chair of President Obama’s re-election campaign. Longoria told Mitchell that her role in the campaign will be “to engage and mobilize the voters, specifically with the Latino community and the women’s community,” and that she would be going to swing states across the country. Longoria also talked about the issues that she finds most important this campaign season, including immigration reform and women’s health, saying, “I think the election is going to be about choice and it’s going to be pretty clear for women who's on their side regarding their health care issues. There is an attack on women's health care and President Obama's policies are the only ones that are going to move that forward and move the agenda for women's rights.”
Check out the clip below, and don't miss "Andrea Mitchell Reports" weekdays at 1pm ET.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: The Latino vote is now poised to become a deciding factor in key states like Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. The Obama campaign is now deploying some star power to sell its message to Latinos. Eva Longoria shot to fame playing Gabrielle Solis on the TV show "Desperate Housewives" but now she is embracing her new role as a national co-chair for President Obama’s reelection campaign.
She joins me now. So nice to meet you.
You were very involved in the last election campaign four years ago. You're taking a larger role now. What is your main purpose and how do you see yourself being helpful to the candidate?
EVA LONGORIA, ACTRESS, CO-CHAIR FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA’S REELECTION CAMPAIGN: I was asked to be a co-chair. My roles are to engage and mobilize the voters specifically with the Latino community and the women's community. Those are two areas of interest that I participate in heavily and I’m pretty literate about. So that’s what I’ll be doing. I'll be going to swing states.
MITCHELL: You know a lot about health care, I know. And we, in fact, profiled you on NBC Nightly News because of what you're doing with the special needs community.
MITCHELL: But the women's issues, women's health issues have become the front-and-center force of what has happened on the Republican side. Now in Texas, interestingly, Governor Perry has turned back $35 million for Planned Parenthood preventive programs, including pap tests and mammograms and Texas, as you know better than I has -- I think it's your home state -- has the highest number of uninsured women.
MITCHELL: Do you think this is going to become a mobilizing force?
LONGORIA: Absolutely. I think the election is going to be about choice and it’s going to be pretty clear for women who's on their side regarding their health care issues. There is an attack on women's health care and President Obama's policies are the only ones that are going to move that forward and move the agenda for women's rights. There's so much dismantling of what we've accomplished as women by the right side. So I'm going to be out there and campaigning for him. I think one of the things about the Affordable Care Act that just came out was that the gender rating for women, we're charged more because we go to the doctors more. The Affordable Care Act will eliminate the gender rating for insurers. Women need to be educated on everything that Obama has done in his first term regarding their rights and access to health care.
MITCHELL: Now, one of the striking things that is quite noticeable is that there are seven co-chairs who are Latino.
LONGORIA: That's not a mistake, you know?
MITCHELL: That is absolutely targeting 16.3 percent of the population. Mitt Romney had this to say after winning Puerto Rico on his chances of doing very well with Hispanic voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Those people who don't think that Latinos will vote for a Republican need to look in Puerto Rico and see there that conservative principles and Latino voters go together and that Hispanic voters are going to vote for Republicans if we stand for something, conservative principles that bring growth and good jobs and rising home values. That's why we're going to win. We’re going to get Latino voters to help us out.
MITCHELL: Now, George W. Bush did very well in his first election with Hispanic voters.
MITCHELL: And that has gone down.
LONGORIA: He's also from the state of Texas which has one of the largest Hispanic populations. He has the Hispanic vote. He was also the closest to immigration reform, George W. Bush.
MITCHELL: Do you think that immigration reform is the issue that has --
LONGORIA: Well, I want to speak to the clip. The clip is really interesting. He makes a huge generalization because he won the primary. So Republican voters -- Puerto Rican voters, Republicans who live in Puerto Rico who voted for him -- is a huge generalization that he's going to get the Latino vote. Sixty-three percent of Latinos in America are Mexican-American. There’s Cuban-Americans, there's central Americans and of all the candidates, Mitt Romney is probably the one on the wrong side of every issue pertaining to Latinos: education, the economy, health care access. He's campaigning with -- he's calling the anti-immigration law from Arizona a model law for the rest of the country. He's campaigning with the author of it. That is polarizing to Latinos. He wants to veto the DREAM Act if he was in office. That is dangerous for our community. Obama, for me, is the only one that understands that the success and the future of America is intricately tied to the success of the Hispanic community.
MITCHELL: There have been many Hispanic leaders in the last couple years who have been disappointed in the president for not doing more on immigration reform.
LONGORIA: Yeah. It’s a problem. Immigration reform has been on the national agenda for three administrations, so people like to point --
MITCHELL: Even longer.
LONGORIA: Even longer. And it does need to be fixed. It's broken. Nobody wants illegal immigration. The misconception is Latinos are for illegal immigration. That is not true. Unfortunately, Obama can’t do it by himself. I know there's disappointment in the Latino community but what he has done, what he can do, he's proposed changes to keep families together. He has reallocated resources from the Department of Homeland Security to focus on deporting criminals, not DREAM Act students. So he’s done what he can do without having his hands tied by Congress. So I think also because the GOP primary has been so long, all we've heard is attacks on his record and that's what I'm going to be doing as a co-chair is getting out there and showing the great things about what he's done in his first term. Latinos need to hear it.
MITCHELL: Eva Longoria, thank you very much. We appreciate your coming today.
LONGORIA: Thank you.