Spanish ads pit McCain, Obama against each other
Most of the nation is mostly unaware of battle for the Hispanic vote in crucial states
By HERNN ROZEMBERG
San Antonio Express-News
Oct. 16, 2008, 11:54PM
SAN ANTONIO Months on the campaign trail and barely a mention.
Mum also in three nationally televised debates.
But for nearly a month, unbeknownst to much of the country, the two presidential contenders have been slugging away at each other on immigration through Spanish-language advertisements in crucial swing states with growing Latino populations whose votes could sway the election.
The ads, running on Spanish-language television and radio in states such as Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico feature Democratic candidate Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain pointing fingers at each other for not having done enough on immigration.
McCain launched the opening salvo by blaming Obama for the collapse of last year's Senate bill seeking to overhaul the current immigration system.
Put on the defensive by what he deemed a false assault, Obama countered days later with his own Spanish ad linking McCain to the extreme-right Republican wing, widely seen as anti-immigrant.
So ensued a series of ongoing volleys on an issue that, until eclipsed by such matters as concerns over the economic meltdown, had retained national interest.
Though the ads mostly dish out criticism and fall short of offering solutions to the immigration problem, it's no coincidence that they're being offered only on Spanish-language airwaves, experts said.
Issue kept under radar
Even before the economy took over as the top campaign issue, neither candidate took the initiative to bring up immigration on the trail because both actually share similar views and neither saw a clear opening to gain political muscle.
“Immigration has been complicated, heated and polarizing,” said Audrey Singer, immigration policy analyst at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Definitely not what you want to talk about in the last couple of weeks of the election.”
By keeping the discussion limited to Spanish, both candidates have found they could seek crucial Hispanic votes while keeping the issue under the mainstream radar, said Federico Subervi, who teaches journalism and mass communication at Texas State University in San Marcos.
It's essentially traditional niche political advertising taken to a higher strategic level because it's only in Spanish, said Subervi, director of the university's Center for the Study of Latino Media and Markets.
“Through these attack ads, they've found a safe way to make their case on who's the best candidate for Latinos,” said Subervi. “They've found a common denominator that's not offensive to the broader public.”
Why only in Spanish?
Each campaign's point person for Hispanic media accused the other's boss of being the culprit of the ad war while avoiding a direct answer on why it's being conducted only in Spanish.
Federico de Jess, spokesman for Obama, said McCain started it all by issuing Spanish ads smearing Obama's record on immigration and they were forced to respond in kind.
Unlike McCain, who's only willing to tackle immigration in Spanish so he won't get burned by his party's more restrictionist base, de Jess said, Obama shares his views in both languages .
But the fact that Obama always waits for his opponent to take the first step in tackling immigration proves a total lack of leadership on the issue, said Hessy Fernndez, a spokeswoman for McCain.
Obama had been absent on the long slog to enact systemic immigration policy changes until he decided to run for president, Fernndez said, while McCain, who hails from a border state, has an established pacesetter record in the Senate.
“Latinos feel very strongly about immigration, and we need to remind them that Senator McCain is their true friend,” she said.
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Txlady615 wrote: “All American citizens are required to speak English! Why advertise in Spanish? Yeah right…because illegals are voting illegally! ”
You can gladly THANK bozo / anti-USA Rick Perry for that.!!
10/17/2008 4:02:22 AM
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Alfredo, there is nothing wrong with diversity, however there IS something wrong when our nation caters to the spanish speaking 'population' by allowing them to avoid speaking English. We print everything in two languages. We have ESL classes for students, when they should be totally immersed in English. When people immigrate to our country they have to have a working knowledge of English when they take the oath of citizenship. Give Txlady615, me and others a list of countries who allow Illegals into their countries without regard as to what those illegals will do to their economies. If I were to visit or even move to Germany, I would learn German. Mexicans and others who come here legally try to learn the language. It's the Illegal Aliens who break our laws, first by crossing our border without LEGAL AUTHORIZATION, steal the identities of Citizens, etc. They ARE Criminals. I realize that some of them are trying to help their families but a good many of them just come for the free stuff, ie; medicaid, welfare, lawyers, etc. The people in Europe are probably shocked, as you say, because we have allowed our country to be over run by these Illegals.
10/17/2008 5:40:02 AM
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McCain will push forth policies that will help Hispanics help themselves. Obama is the choice of those who just want a handout. Government doesn't help ANYBODY by being unfriendly to business. Increase taxes on businesses, and guess what? The businesses pass that tax right down to the consumer, hurting the low income folks first. Taxing business doesn't work.
10/17/2008 12:47:50 AM
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“Taxing business doesn't work.”
Not taxing business the proper amount creates enormous wealth for a few. Everybody has to pay their fair share. Cooperations have been giving a break for to long.
10/17/2008 2:11:50 AM
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Biut I have a question for you guys……
If Obama were to win…….what happens to those of us who are not of the middle class that he speaks of? What about the old familys who have old money that was actually earned and whos familys worked their butts off (including the wives that no longer stay at home now that the kids are all grown) and actually have a disposable income? What happens to our careful investments..????
ANSWER…….THE RICH OR MIDDLE CLASS WILL SUFFER AND SUFFER GREATLY thats what. They will be taxed for just sneezing or riding in a nice car or renting a nice car to drive their grandparents around on their anniversary to a fancy resturant…because they are still alive and still together? What happens to us? WE LOOSE AND THE MIDDLE LOWER CLASS BLUE COLLAR WORKERS GET ALL THE BREAKS and WE have to suffer the reprcussions thats what.
10/17/2008 3:03:55 AM
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I wish both candidates would address the issue and make their positions clear, but I guess they realize that hateful voters would be against their similar views–not to cast people who are trying to better their lives or the lives of their families as villains the way a lot of people commenting here do. Some of the closed border nutjobs would be so turned off to be slapped in the face knowing that McCain and Obama both ultimately want to legalize all these immigrants that these closet fascists would not even turn out to vote at all. So, both campaigns don't mention it and want you to forget the issue until you vote one of them in and then they'll do something ghastly, like show some humanity, and then, boy, won't you haters be mad?
10/18/2008 10:57:17 AM
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10/17/2008 8:44:58 PM
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WHITE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GIVE OBAMA THE LANDSLIDE.
GET OVER IT. REAGANOMICS AND EIGHT YEARS OF BUSH SEALED THE ELECTION FOR OBAMA.
THE GOP IHAS BECOME THE GRAND OLE PANIC
THE PARTY IS OVER CHICA
10/17/2008 3:22:51 PM
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Txlady615 (and company) wrote: “All American citizens are required to speak English!
Well, Sugar PIe, I guess our Presdent is exempt, I wish my President could speak in complete sentences, NOT BROKE ENGLISH!!!
How bout dat W. flic folks.
10/17/2008 3:16:54 PM
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lone, you do know that Obama is trying to register illegals to vote. You do know that is the Democrats that want it to where you don't have prove who you are at the polls, i.e show your drivers license? Seems to me you need to do a little more research, because if you vote for Obama you are voting for something you are against!
10/17/2008 1:57:53 PM
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