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Latino Daily News

Saturday January 21, 2012

GOP Spanish Language Ads in Florida: Romney Avoids Discussion of Immigration, Gingrich Leans In

GOP Spanish Language Ads in Florida: Romney Avoids Discussion of Immigration, Gingrich Leans In

Photo: Romney Tabloid

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As Newt Gingrich seizes the momentum in the South Carolina primary and attention starts to turn toward the next primary battle in Florida, both the Gingrich and Mitt Romney campaigns are up with Spanish-language advertisements targeting Latino Republicans in Florida.  Notably, while the Romney television ad purposely avoids discussion of immigration, due to the candidate’s far right stance on the issue, the new Gingrich radio ad makes immigration a focal point, and calls Romney “anti-immigrant.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Mitt Romney’s run to the hard right on immigration, punctuated by his proud embrace of anti-immigrant leader Kris Kobach in the run-up to South Carolina’s vote, means that he has to avoid discussing immigration in his outreach to the Latino community in Florida.  Not only has the Romney immigration stance made life difficult for Romney endorsers and prominent Cuban-American leaders like Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, all of whom support comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act, but it also has given Gingrich fertile attack terrain and a chance to close the gap among Latino Republican primary voters in Florida.

As we pointed out yesterday, prominent Spanish-language commentators and media outlets already have started to highlight the disconnect between Romney’s embrace of hardline immigration positions and leaders as he campaigns in South Carolina, while ignoring immigration issues in his direct outreach to Latino voters in Florida.  Romney’s Spanish-language television ad, geared to the South Florida Latino community and announced last week, features several of Romney’s Cuban-American congressional endorsers, as well as his Spanish-speaking son, Craig.  The ad, entitled “Nosotros,” avoids discussing immigration entirely, relying instead on references to Romney’s belief in liberty, opportunity, American values, and national security.

Meanwhile, Gingrich’s new Spanish radio ad shows that he is intent to make Romney’s positon on immigration known to Latino voters in Florida.  The Miami Herald translates the new Gingrich radio ad, which states in part:

Mitt Romney is a government liberal, from the state of and similar to Kennedy.  He is the most anti-immigrant candidate…In contrast, Newt Gingrich is a candidate that has committed himself to the Hispanic community.  A Republican similar to Ronald Reagan, with experience. (emphasis added)

Concluded Sharry:

Not only is the Kris Kobach endorsement failing to boost Romney in South Carolina, but it may end up hurting him in Florida—not to mention the damage it as done to his potential general election campaign.