Today, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign unveiled a new online ad in English and Spanish directed at Latino voters. The ad juxtaposes a range of statistics about the economic struggles of Latinos with a clip from an Obama campaign ad that says “We still haven’t arrived where we need to be, but we’re on the right path.” Repeating the phrase “on the right path” over and over again, the implication is obvious – the Romney campaign wants Latinos to believe President Obama doesn’t acknowledge or even care about their economic difficulties. Notably, the ad does not mention or feature Mitt Romney, let alone address immigration.
This ad is clearly part of the Romney campaign’s three-part Latino “outreach” strategy: (1) focus solely on the economy to compete for the small slice of Latino voters willing to look past anti-immigration rhetoric and policies; (2) have the candidate avoid discussing immigration (even when speaking before Latino audiences); and (3) try to depress and suppress the numbers of Latinos who turn out to vote.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Will Mitt Romney ever appear in a campaign ad geared to Latino voters? Given Romney’s hardline immigration stance, and the low standing among Latino voters it gets him, the answer may be ‘not if his campaign can help it.’ However, despite the candidate’s absence, there’s no doubt that the Romney campaign and Republican surrogates grasp the importance of Latino voters to the eventual 2012 outcome. The problem is that the campaign’s strategy is ugly and cynical.”