Obama Targets Disillusioned Hispanic Voters en Español

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Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND/2008 AFP

The Obama campaign's latest effort to win over Hispanic voters sounds extremely familiar — except it makes the case for a second term in Spanish. The pro-Obama super-PAC Priorities USA and the Service Employees International Union have teamed up to release their first Spanish-language ad. The TV commercial, which starts airing on Monday in Colorado, Nevada, and Florida, features some of Mitt Romney's most familiar gaffes, followed by commentary from Latino voters. CNN provides a translation for those who failed Spanish 101.

First, the ad shows Romney saying, "You can focus on the very poor, that's not my focus."

A woman says in response to Romney's quote (in Spanish) "What about us? He's not thinking about us." Another man adds: "It's easy for him to say that since he doesn't have the same necessities as us."

Next, text on the screen references Romney's time at Bain Capital.

"Mitt Romney made millions of dollars leaving thousands of people without work," the screen reads.

Then the ad airs Romney's joke about being unemployed.

In the commercial, a man responds to the clip, saying unemployment is no laughing matter. "When you are really out of work, you are worried, you don't want to laugh or make fun of anybody," he says.

Polls have shown that Hispanic voters care more about jobs and education than immigration, so it makes sense that the ads focus on general themes from the campaign. Plus, as the New York Times reports, many Hispanic voters aren't thrilled about President Obama's track record on immigration. Proposals that would create new pathways to citizenship have been blocked or stalled in Congress, and despite the announcement that the administration would focus on deporting criminals, few cases involving illegal immigrants with clean records have been suspended.

Of course, President Obama isn't really in danger of losing the Latino vote. A recent Gallup poll found that Hispanic voters favor him over Romney by 67 percent to 26 percent. Yet, while Latinos mobilized against Republicans in 2008 and 2010, the Obama team is concerned that their ambivalence about the president's record may cause them to sit out the election. Concerns about a lack of enthusiasm among former Obama supporters aren't exactly unique to Latinos.

Though he faces a huge disadvantage, Romney isn't giving up on Latino voters. His campaign recently hired a full-time Hispanic outreach coordinator and advisers have told him to tone down his immigration rhetoric. The two candidates will go head-to-head on the issue later this month. On June 21 and 22 respectively, Romney and Obama will speak before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Florida. Romney's Hispanic advisers told the Boston Globe that his speech could be a turning point in his relationship with Latino voters. If all else fails, the Republican campaign could always try to capitalize on Hispanic voters' current attitude toward Obama by resurrecting the 2010 ad that told Nevada Latinos "don't vote."