Campaign Ads Target Latinos As A Key Issue Looms Barack Obama got overwhelming support from Latino voters in 2008, helping him win the White House. Mitt Romney hopes to hold down that margin this year. So both campaigns are targeting Latino voters in TV ads. But how will Obama's halt to some deportations affect the campaigns' messages about immigration?
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Campaign Ads Target Latinos As A Key Issue Looms

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Campaign Ads Target Latinos As A Key Issue Looms

Campaign Ads Target Latinos As A Key Issue Looms

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/155143198/155192456" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are both scheduled to address Latino leaders later this week in Florida. And after the president's announcement Friday, putting a stop to some deportations, immigration reform will likely be front and center. Both candidates see Latino voters as key to their success this November, so both campaigns are unleashing Spanish-language TV ads to win their votes. Here's NPR's Brian Naylor.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: Of the two candidates, it's the Obama re-election team that has the most elaborate campaign aimed at reaching Latino voters. The most recent spots feature Obama volunteers speaking with Latino families and talking about their own life experiences and concerns about health care and education.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)

NAYLOR: The Obama campaign has reportedly spent nearly two million dollars on the ads, which are airing in Florida, Nevada and Colorado. Candidate Obama won all three of those states in 2008, and all are expected to be closely contested this year. The Obama Spanish-language spots are all highly positive and warm feeling. By contrast, the Service Employees International Union and the pro-Obama superPAC Priorities USA announced a $4 million campaign this past week that goes after Mitt Romney using his own words.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHER)

: (Through Translator) He's making fun of us. I was unemployed. Our children are suffering and he jokes about it?

NAYLOR: Gabriel Sanchez, who teaches political science at the University of New Mexico, says the pro-Obama ads are all trying to reignite the spark felt in the Latino community for Mr. Obama four years ago.

GABRIEL SANCHEZ: That's certainly the intention is to try and galvanize some enthusiasm among Latinos to get out and vote because all the numbers are suggesting enthusiasm is dropping and actually voter registration numbers among Latinos have dropped over time since the last election.

NAYLOR: The Romney campaign has so far been less focused on reaching Latino voters. It bought a small amount of TV time in North Carolina and Ohio. It's running an ad, called dia uno, or day one, projecting what the first day of a Romney presidency would look like.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)

NAYLOR: That ad is a straightforward translation of an ad the Romney campaign has run in English, and misses the mark, at least culturally, says Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a visiting scholar at the University of Texas.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO: 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, Latinos are a much more warm in terms of when you greet each other you tend to hug each other, you know, you tend to not see that in English-language ads. Something small like that.

NAYLOR: The Romney campaign believes that its overall focus on the economy appeals to Hispanic voters. While the economy, health care and education have all been the focus of ads, one issue that neither campaign has addressed is immigration. And with good reason, says DeFrancesco Soto.

SOTO: They're staying away from it for different reasons. 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.

NAYLOR: That may now change. The announcement Friday that the Obama administration will no longer seek to deport young people brought to the U.S. as children could spur a new round of ads aimed at Spanish-speaking voters. Brian Naylor, NPR News, Washington.

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