Photo: Obama and Latino Voter in 2012
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign said the Hispanic vote will be a “deciding” element in the upcoming election and, to capture it in November, on Wednesday launched a barrage of Spanish-language radio and television ads in Florida, Nevada and Colorado.
“It’s no secret that Latinos will be (a) deciding factor in this election,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a conference call with the media to introduce “Latinos for Obama.”
Obama, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said on the same call, is “someone who clearly stands on our side” and is committed to working with Congress to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.
Also taking part in the call was San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who attacked virtual Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
“Mitt Romney would be the most extreme nominee that the Republican Party has ever had on immigration,” the Texas politico said.
The almost 50 million Hispanics in the United States constitute the country’s largest and fastest-growing minority, but just nine million of them are registered to vote.
Each of the Spanish-language ads released on Wednesday presents an Obama supporter who speaks about education policy, including improving the Head Start centers that serve some 365,000 Hispanic kids and increasing the Pell Grants with which some two million Latino students finance their university studies.
Latinos for Obama is “the largest ever national effort to engage Hispanic Americans in their communities and involve them in the upcoming election through voter registration, volunteering and voting,” the campaign said in a statement.
In the 2008 presidential election, Obama garnered 67 percent of the Hispanic vote.
The presence of many collections of Latino citizens in several key states makes this group a voting block that finds itself much-courted by the candidates of both parties.
It is true that the Obama administration has increased the rate of deportations of undocumented immigrants and has not fulfilled the president’s promise to regularize their immigration status, but the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Republican presidential hopefuls and the harsh laws against undocumented immigrants approved in states with GOP governors seem to have chased Latinos away.
Spanish-language media outlets and groups such as the National Council of La Raza have launched campaigns to encourage eligible immigrants to become citizens and register to vote.
Along with the running of radio and TV ads, the Latinos for Obama campaign on Wednesday also offered a program in which comedian George Lopez and national policy director Katherine Archuleta participated.