Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Barack Obama Responds to John McCain's Most Recent Spanish Ads

As reported on La Plaza earlier this week, John McCain’s recent ads claim the Democrats are to blame for the failure to enact immigration reform. In his new ads, Barack Obama seeks to tie Sen. John McCain to talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

The issue of immigration may not be mentioned by either candidate in many campaign stops. But the candidates are fighting a battle for Latino votes in the Spanish media. The Obama campaign has launched an aggressive Spanish language ad campaign in response to the ads released by John McCain in recent days that suggest that Barack Obama and other Senate Democrats are responsible for the collapse of last year’s bipartisan immigration reform efforts. In a conference call with reporters this morning, key Latino surrogates and Obama spokespersons announced the release of these ads and added that an aggressive tone is necessary to respond to the deceptive ads aired by John McCain.

The TV ads in Spanish seek to tie Sen. John McCain to anti-immigrant comments made by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The ads also suggest the Republican has “two faces” when it comes to his relationship with Latino voters. The new messages, airing in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, tell Latinos, “they want us to forget the insults we’ve put up with, the intolerance,” the television ad’s announcer says in Spanish as a picture of Rush Limbaugh appears onscreen with quotes of him saying, “Mexicans are stupid and unqualified” and “Shut your mouth or get out.”

“They made us feel marginalized in a country we love so much,” the ad continues. “John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote and another, even worse, that continues the failed policies of George Bush that put special interests ahead of working families.”

The companion radio ad uses the same script as above and then continues:

“Don’t forget that John McCain abandoned us rather than confront the leaders of the Republican Party. Many of us were born here, and others came to work and achieve a better life for their families — not to commit crimes or drain the system like many of John McCain’s friends claim. Let’s not be fooled by political tricks from John McCain and the Republicans. Vote so they respect us. Vote for a change.”

This Spanish language ad battle started Friday when the McCain campaign started airing a TV spot in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico that laid the failure of comprehensive immigration reform at the feet of Obama and his Democratic colleagues, even though he supported the bipartisan efforts to enact such reforms and voted for their final proposal last year. It continued Tuesday when the RNC bought time in Nevada for a radio ad expressing similar arguments. The Obama campaign and Hispanic and pro-immigration reform groups denounced the ads as distortions.

“I think they don’t want us to pay attention to the fact that John McCain’s message in English is different than his message in Spanish,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) during a conference call with reporters today. “If the Latino community can’t count on John McCain in the heat of an election, how can we possibly count on him when the heat is really on in the White House?” Other Latino figures on the call included Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) all of whom answered questions from reporters in both English and Spanish.

The candidates continued willingness to spend money to woo Latinos is definitely a sign that the clout of Latinos has increased this election cycle. The efforts of both campaigns are concentrated in the states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Barack Obama is counting on Latinos to help him win in these key states. This may explain the aggressive tone and response that the campaign is taking in response to the John McCain ads. According to Federico Pena, former Clinton Transportation Secretary and key Obama surrogate, “Whenever we get a punch from Senator McCain, we’re going to counterpunch harder.” He concluded by saying “We’re not going to take any vote for granted.”

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