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The Next America - Politics 2012 / Politics

Hispanic-Backed Ads Attack Romney

Ads show Latino voters' negative reactions to Romney remarks, question his Bain record.

The Spanish-language ad campaign highlights some of Mitt Romney's remarks on the unemployed and poor.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

June 11, 2012

Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting President Obama, has teamed with the Service Employees International Union to release a series of television ads that feature Latino voters reacting negatively to Mitt Romney’s statements about the unemployed and poor. The ads, though they do not mention Bain Capital by name, are designed to present a critical spin on the success of Romney's former company.

The Spanish-language ad campaign, "Mitt Romney: En Sus Propias Palabras” (In His Own Words) will run $4 million in television and radio ads in Florida, Colorado and Nevada over the summer.

(Related Demographic Snapshots: Hispanics and Poor Americans)


The ads – which the groups are calling part of one of the largest ever independent Spanish-language campaigns – feature some of Romney’s less-than-flattering statements from the campaign. They include clips of Romney saying, “You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus,” and making a joke where he tells a group of voters that he, too is unemployed. They are designed to respond to Romney’s recent outreach to Hispanic voters centered around economic issues.

“When you are really out of work… you are worried, you don’t want to laugh or make fun of anybody,” says a man in the Florida version of the ad, according to an English translation provided by Priorities USA and the SEIU.

In the Nevada ad, a woman remarks, “Says a lot about his character. He probably won’t do much for those without jobs,” according to the translation.

The ads also feature text in Spanish that reads, “Miles de trabajadores perdieron sus empleos para que la empresa de Romney ganara millones de dólares en ganancias” – “Thousands of workers lost their jobs so that Romney's company could make millions of dollars in profit.”

The voters in the ads then conclude that they could not support Romney.

“This ad is part of a broader effort to ensure Latino voters know the stakes in this election and who has been on the side of Latino Families and who will continue to stand with them in the coming years,” said SEIU National Political Director Brandon Davis in a news release from Priorities USA.

Romney's campaign has made his own outreach Latino voters, targeting them mainly through his insistence that his economic policies will make that demographic much more economically well-off than President Obama's.

Priorities USA has adopted the campaign’s strategy of attacking Romney’s record at Bain. In a strategy memo circulated Saturday, Priorities USA co-founder Bill Burton wrote, “While criticism of Romney’s business record may not resonate with elites, it is clearly resonating with the actual voters who will decide this election. New independent data this week replaces theoretical banter by pundits with empirical evidence from voters.” He cited news reports of a recent focus group of “Wal-Mart moms” that say the Bain attacks are resonating with voters.

The super PAC released another ad Sunday featuring a former employee of a steel plant that closed under Bain’s watch. It is part of a $7 million buy announced last month that will run ads in swing states Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia.

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