Back in 2008 when he first was running to be our president, President Barack Obama received many votes from the Latino Community which helped him step into the White House. And no Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is hoping to sway some votes from the Latino Community hoping it would put him into the office. So how do both candidates plan on acquiring the golden Latino vote? By putting out campaign ads specifically targeted to Latinos.
After making an announcement on Friday putting an end to some deportations, President Obama appears to be focusing his re-election campaign—in part—to immigration reform. In his most recent campaign spot the ad features Obama volunteers speaking with Latino families where they discuss their own life experiences and their own concerns about education and health care.
In one ad sponsoring Obama’s re-election, a Field Organizer named Daniella Urbina from Denver says: “I’m the first one to go to college in my family. I think President Obama understands us—he understands what it’s like not to have what everyone else has.” The ad is spoken completely in Spanish is just one of the $2 million dollar ad his re-election team has spent to be aired in Florida, Colorado, and Nevada. In 2008, Obama won all 3 states but this year they are expected to be closely contested.
While the ads paid for Obama’s team are warm with a highly positive message, other ads wanting the President re-elected are more direct and forward about Mitt Romney. The Service Employees International Union in partnership with the pro-Obama superPAC Priorities USA announced a campaign plan where $ 4million dollars will be spent using Mitt Romney’s own words against him.
One ad shows Romney saying, “You can also tell my story. I am also unemployed,” describing his “unemployed” status since he’s running for president. Right after the clip a woman says, “He’s making fun of us. I was unemployed. Our children are suffering and he jokes about it?” discrediting Romney’s sensitivity about the growing economic situation of many Americans.
A Political Science professor at the University of New Mexico, Gabriel Sanchez, says the pro-Obama ads are aiming to reignite the spark once seen and felt within the Latino community back in 2008. According to Sanchez, “That’s certainly the intention…to try to galvanize some enthusiasm among Latinos to get out and vote because all the numbers are suggesting enthusiasm is dropping,” but along with the enthusiasm Sanchez states that “voter registration numbers among Latino have dropped over time since the last election,” as well.
For the Romney Campaign focus on reaching Latino voters is lesser than the Obama’s campaign. Having bought a small amount of airtime in North Carolina and Ohio, the Romney’s campaign is running an ad called Dia Uno or Day One. The ad is a projected look into the future if Romney were to take office as President. Also in Spanish, the voice over says: “How would Mitt Romney’s presidency go? Day One: President Romney immediately approves Keystone pipeline, therefore creating thousands of jobs that Obama blocked.” The ad is similar to the English speaking ad Romney’s campaign already runs.
“You know the words are being said, but the faces that you’re seeing and the actions and even little details like dress, for example,” fails to connect with the Latino community according to Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a scholar from the University of Texas. “Latinos are much more warm in terms of when you greet each other you tend to hug each other. You tend to not see that in English-language ads—something small like that,” will be noticeable by Latino viewers.
While both ads address the concerns regarding the economy, health care, and education what they both fail to do is address the one key issue that would sway many in the Latino community: Immigration. “They’re staying away from it for different reasons,” says Soto, “the President, because he wasn’t able to fulfill his promise of comprehensive immigration reform and Romney, to distance himself from the harsh lines he took on immigration during the debates.”
Although both candidates have chosen to avoid addressing the issue of immigration it cannot be avoided. And as of Friday the issue will not be avoided since the Obama Administration declared they will no longer seek to deport young people brought into the United States as Children. The declaration is the second strike, in favor of Obama, made by a candidate allegiance against a hot button issue. A month ago Obama won over the Gay Community when he supported Gay Marriage in the United States.
Later this week the candidates will continue their bid for the 2012 Presidential Seat when they address Latino Leaders in Florida this week. But for now check out the ads themselves and see what they are all about: