Washington Daybook: Power of Presidency, Television

Photograph by Emily Harris/Bloomberg

A Barack Obama campaign sign in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami.

The power of the presidency and of television will be on display today as the White House announces $2 billion in support for rural businesses, coordinated with the release of a government report about the state of rural America.

President Obama will promote the initiative in interviews granted to anchors of eight local television stations in mostly Republican-friendly parts of swing states, Bloomberg News reported.

Organized labor and a super-PAC supporting Obama’s re-election are also turning to television as part of a $4 million ad campaign that targets swing-state Hispanic voters and aims to portray Republican challenger Mitt Romney as callous toward the working class, Bloomberg News reported.

The Spanish-language television and radio ads announced today by Priorities USA Action and the Service Employees International Union juxtapose Hispanic voters critical of Romney with video and audio clips of his verbal miscues on jobs and the economy. These include him saying, “I like to be able to fire people who provide services to me,” “I’m also unemployed,” and “You can focus on the very poor — that’s not my focus.”

The advertising offensive targets a constituency whose support Obama will attempt to hold for re-election in November. Obama, who drew criticism on June 8 from Romney that he is out of touch with the economic concerns of average Americans after saying the private sector is “doing fine,” won the Hispanic vote in 2008 over Republican John McCain by 67 percent to 31 percent, according to an analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of exit polls.

While it won’t be on TV, a Seniors’ Health Care Town Hall meeting today at the White House featuring HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Cecilia Munoz, director of White House Domestic Policy Council, will be streamed online, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus’s speech on the need for tax revenue at the Bipartisan Policy Center will be televised — on-CSPAN.

Cary O’Reilly and Margaret Talev contributed to this post.


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