The race is on to influence Hispanic views of President Obama.
The Democratic National Committee on Friday announced the release of a Spanish-language television ad that pushes back against the ad "Despertarse" ("Wake Up") released by Crossroads GPS, an arm of American Crossroads. The spot defending Obama's legislative achievements is the DNC’s first buy of the 2012 election cycle.
The DNC ad, called "En Quien Confiar" ("Who to Trust"), aims to “shine a light” on President Obama’s commitment to serving Hispanic voters, said DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
The DNC ad begins with a screen shot of the Crossroads spot, and the line: “Behind the ads that pretend to care about our children …”
“It’s the Republicans who would end the Medicare guarantee while protecting tax cuts for the very rich,” reads a translation of the ad. “It was the president who extended health insurance to our children, financial aid to students, and cut taxes for the middle class. We know who to trust, and who we can’t. Because it’s our job to protect our families.” As the narrator speaks, footage of smiling Latinos of all ages scroll across the screen.
The DNC ad will air on broadcast television in Denver; Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, Fla.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; and Washington, D.C. — cities also targeted by the Spanish-language American Crossroads spot, which started airing in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The regions targeted are critical swing states with growing Hispanic populations.
Wasserman Schultz maintained that the DNC ad wasn’t purely an attempt to hit back at Crossroads. “This is nothing more than a strong signal of just how high a priority the Hispanic community is to this president and this campaign,” the congresswoman said.
The Crossroads spot focuses on the troubled economy and mounting national debt, and plays off voter disillusionment and fear for the future. The Republican National Committee launched a new ad called "Change Direction" on Wednesday that likewise focuses on the economy; that spot will air in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada in English and will be supplemented by a Spanish-language radio spot.
The DNC ad “is a desperate attempt by Democrats to save face in light of the GOP’s successful messaging within the Hispanic community,” said RNC spokeswoman Victoria Martinez in a statement. “Whether it is the economy, the debt debate, or the Hispanic community, the White House is consistently playing defense.”
The Crossroads ad will also run in English in eleven states on both national cable and broadcast TV. Both the English and Spanish language versions are part of the advocacy organization’s planned $20 million advertising blitz for this summer.
“Both political parties recognize that in order to win national elections today there needs to be an effort to reach out to Latino voters,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
Ads “that are designed in a very authentic way to reach Hispanic voters” tend to have more success with the demographic, Vargas said, while those that merely air in translation tend not to fare as well.