President Obama, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and their respective allies are kicking off summer with a push to court Hispanic voters in states where Hispanics could play a decisive role in November's election.
Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC, and Service Employees International Union, one of the nation's largest labor groups, joined the fray Monday with a $4 million Spanish-language TV ad campaign attacking Romney's economic experience.
The 30-second spot -- "Mitt Romney: En Sus Propias Palabras" -- is reported to be one of the largest-ever independent Spanish-language presidential ad campaigns. It will run in Colorado, Nevada and Florida, the group said.
"This ad is part of a broader effort to ensure Latino voters know the stakes in this election, and who has been on the side of Latino families and who will continue to stand with them in the coming years," said SEIU political director Brandon Davis.
Obama for America, the president's re-election committee, has been on the air in the same states since late April. It has run three flights of Spanish-language TV ads that feature Hispanic supporters testifying to the positive impact of Obama's first-term policies.
Meanwhile, Romney and Republicans have stepped up their appeals to what is the nation's fastest-growing voting bloc, launching a national Hispanic outreach effort led by Carlos Gutierrez, who served as Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush. The push includes a series of web and TV ads with an economic pitch.
"The Hispanic community has been especially hard-hit by President Obama's policies," Gutierrez said in a statement. "We need a leader who will bring back jobs, help small businesses, and ensure that the American Dream remains for future generations."
The intensifying focus on Hispanics by both campaigns underscores their looming influence in key general election battleground this fall. An estimated 12 million are expected to go to the polls in November, up 26 percent from 2008, according to projections by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.
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