Presidential campaign season is now into the 50-day stretch, and the Obama campaign is on the offensive to guard against Mitt Romney getting a foothold among Latino voters who could be the difference in swing states such as Florida, Nevada and Colorado.
In a web spot titled "Mitt Romney: Extreme Makeover Campaign Edition" that made its debut yesterday on YouTube, Mr. Romney is shown vigorously declaring his intention to repeal Obamacare and veto the DREAM Act as president, while voiceover in the style of TV's reality hit "Extreme Makeover" facetiously comments on his efforts to court Latino voters. "Can he cover up his belief in self-deportation with a bold new wallpaper choice?" it asks, before panning to footage of Mr. Romney saying he supports the idea of illegal immigrants being induced to return to their native countries of their own free will when they're not able to find work in the U.S.
While Mr. Obama's overall share of the Latino vote is bound to dwarf his opponent's, it's still crucial for Mr. Romney to siphon off some of the Spanish speakers in swing states who voted for the president in 2008. Mr. Obama only won 67% of the Latino vote nationally in the last election, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, but captured 76% and 69% in Nevada and New Mexico respectively, which contributed to his victories in those states.
Though Mr. Romney is continuing to woo undecided Latinos, speaking at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles yesterday (which the timing of the "Extreme Makeover" spot seems intended to coincide with), the Spanish-speaking electorate seems to be slipping away from him. New weekly polling by impreMedia-Latino Decisions shows 68% percent of a 300-person panel of Latino voters leaning toward Mr. Obama (or roughly what he captured four years ago), while 32% favor Mr. Romney.
Recent video on Mr. Romney's YouTube page also underscores his commitment to winning over a bigger slice of the Latino vote than Sen. John McCain did in 2008. Three videos geared toward Latinos have been posted in the last 10 days, most recently "Herencia Hispana," in which Mr. Romney strikes a positive tone by talking about the contributions of notable Spanish speakers like Roberto Clemente and Severo Ochoa, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Spain.
The other two, "Yo Pague" and "Ya No Mas," are in Spanish and take aim at Mr. Obama's policies and record. The first underscores Mr. Romney's commitment to protecting Medicare, stating that Obamacare would defund Medicare, while the second features a range of speakers who in some cases declare their sympathy for the president but declare they won't vote for him again after his four years of unfulfilled promises.