A screen grab from a new Obama television ad airing in Florida shows volunteer… (YouTube )
President Obama's reelection campaign on Wednesday ramped up its outreach to a key sector of its 2008 voting coalition with the launch of Latinos for Obama and the first Spanish-language advertising.
Obama won 67% of the Latino vote four years ago, a historic margin that the campaign hopes to sustain in the 2012 race against Mitt Romney, a candidate they branded Wednesday as "the most extreme nominee" in the Republican Party's history on the issue of immigration.
"For Hispanic Americans, this November offers a very clear contrast between two candidates, and a clear choice about their future where the consequences are very great," said Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and a national co-chair of the Obama campaign.
The television and radio ads launched Wednesday in battleground states Colorado, Nevada and Florida feature campaign volunteers talking about how the president's policies on education have helped the Latino community.
The campaign also addressed what they see as Romney's vulnerabilities among Latinos on other issues, including both immigration and the economy.
Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey invoked Romney's time as the head of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm, while discussing the latter.
"His idea of moving the economy forward was to take companies, strip them down, unemploy people, take others to bankruptcy. That hurt many Latinos along the way," he said. "And so it is impossible to believe that selling snake oil now is going to sell in our community."
The GOP this week also took steps to reach out to the Latino community. The Republican National Committee announced a Hispanic Outreach Program that included dispatching state directors to Florida, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia and North Carolina.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said he feels "very sorry" for those organizers who he said would be struggling to explain the party's record on immigration reform, the DREAM Act and healthcare reform.
"They're naming one person per state ... whereas we've had operations on the ground for over a year and are working every single night hitting the doors," he said.
Romney campaign spokesman Albert Martinez said the new Obama efforts "can't erase President Obama's record of failure on the issues most important to Latinos."
"Hispanics have been hit especially hard as a result of three years of President Obama's record of high unemployment, soaring debt, and skyrocketing gas prices. President Obama will do everything possible to make this election about anything other than his failed record," he said.
Original source: Obama campaign launches Spanish-language ads in Latino vote push