McCain Continues Aggressive Spanish Radio Play, Targeting Obama in New Spot
Updated 1:26 p.m.
By Ed O'Keefe
John McCain's staff shakeup earlier this week came amid concerns that his campaign lacked a consistent message and had made few attempts to contrast himself with Barack Obama. A new Spanish-language radio ad released yesterday by the Arizona senator shows McCain's campaign beginning to take a more aggressive approach.
The 60-second spot, "Our Values," stars McCain's former college roommate, Frank Gamboa, who tells listeners that McCain "wants the best for Latinos," and "has always been with us, even in the bad times," while "the other candidate has just discovered the importance of the Hispanic vote." The spot, released yesterday, will air in Nevada, and New Mexico.
Another McCain campaign Spanish-language spot released earlier this week addresses Latinos on the economy -- which remains the top issue of concern among all voters. In the ad, McCain ties his support of the Colombia Free Trade Deal to economic growth in Florida. The ad, which is airing in Florida, stars Tony Villamil, the state's former head of tourism, commerce and economic affairs. He says in the ad that business with Colombia and all of Latin America is crucial to the state's economy.
Last month McCain aired a 60-second Spanish radio spot about the economy in Nevada and New Mexico, and later targeted Florida Cuban Americans, leading the Obama campaign to promise an "aggressive Spanish-language media outreach campaign."
"The Obama campaign will begin airing Spanish ads by mid-July," explained the campaign's Vince Casillas, "but, more importantly, we will have a strong presence on Spanish media all the way through November."
The Obama campaign responded to the Gamboa radio ad with a statement from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa contesting the ad's premise. "Barack Obama has long been a champion of the Latino community and the issues that matter to us and all of the American people," he said. "From educational opportunities, voting rights, immigration reform to equal access to health care, Barack has been at the forefront of fighting for our families. Barack's advocacy and long record of fighting to ensure voting rights for Hispanic Americans and other minorities demonstrates his understanding of how important it is to have all of our voices heard."
The Latino vote could tip the scales for McCain or Obama in several battleground states this November. Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, says that Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico will be key to either candidate's victory.
McCain has run ads in three of those states, but the tone and words used in the new ads suggest they're designed in part to introduce McCain to Latino voters. That's a problem, some argue, because Latino voters in South Florida and the Southwest should already be familiar with a senator from the Southwest who's a member of the political party most popular with Latinos in South Florida.
Posted at 12:40 PM ET on Jul 4, 2008
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