Romney wanted to talk issues, but bloggers focused instead 2012—on his tan.
Mitt Romney appeared on Univision's "Meet the Candidate" event on Wednesday evening to talk about issues of importance to Latino voters, including immigration, education and foreign policy. But some bloggers, Facebook subscribers and Twitter users focused more on the candidate's complexion than his message.
Some called it an orange spray tan, others labeled it "brownface," but the conjecture was the same. Hundreds of viewers of Wednesday's events took to the Internet, insinuating that the GOP candidate had somehow darkened his skin before coming on Univision's forum, many noting that it was an attempt to appeal to Latino voters. The accusation was reported on by The Huffington Post, Gawker and Wonkette, among others, receiving hundreds of comments on the sites. Here at
So we asked the man who saw it first hand -- makeup artist Lazz Rodriguez, who applied powder and concealer to the candidate's skin that night. The verdict?
"When he walked in, I remember thinking, 'Wow this is tanner than I thought he was,' but I think he's just been outside a lot lately for his campaign," Rodriguez noted. "It was definitely a real tan."
Rodriguez has been a makeup artist for 25 years, and has applied cosmetics to hundreds of famous faces, including many celebrities and politicians, and a handful of presidents.
Rodriguez says that his makeup of choice for the evening was
Rodriguez says that after hearing of the controversy, he spent time looking up pictures of the candidate online, and noticed that he had been tan days prior to the event -- even at his press conference in regards to the controversial "47 percent" remarks. Romney had indeed been travelling in sunny states in the weeks before the Univision event, stopping in
But many criticized the candidate for the tan, saying it was unique to his Univision appearance. Wonkette wrote, "So! Self-tanner 'accident'? Makeup lady that needs firing? Or did John Boehner take him tanning for a little pick-me-up? He has been having a very hard week."
Yohana de la Torre, the director of specialty media for the Romney for President campaign, declined to say why the candidate was notably tan, but said that the conversation over Romney's skin tone obscures more important issues in the campaign.
"Mitt Romney is worried about the 23 million people out of a job and an unemployment rate that has been above 8% for more than 42 consecutive months," she said in a statement to Univision. "The media, on the other hand, is interested in make-up jobs and not how long it's been since the President has met with his Jobs Council."
"It's time to focus on the real issues," she added.
The insinuations that the candidate had previously spray tanned or that the makeup hue was to blame are both incorrect, Rodriguez, the makeup artist, said.
"What they [bloggers and commenters] have done is all a bit sad to me," Rodriguez said, noting that the GOP candidate was very amicable in person.
"I also don't want this to jeopardize a career I've worked so hard to build in this field," he said. "He was tan from being out in the sun on the campaign trail -- that's the only possible explanation." (MORE)