Romney’s Spanish Ads: Bright, Dark

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is reaching out to Hispanic voters with an upbeat message promising he will create jobs and greater opportunity.

But as Election Day approaches, he’s also working in swing states to sow doubts about President Barack Obama’s leadership and stoke disappointment in a growing voting constituency that disproportionately backs the president.

Two TV ads that Romney’s campaign has produced tell the story of his two-pronged pitch.

This morning, his team announced it was releasing a new Spanish-language ad entitled “Nuestra Communidad” — or “Our Community” — in which Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno speaks directly into a camera, telling Hispanics they will “play an important role” in the race.

“With Mitt Romney, things will get better — creating millions of good jobs and more opportunities for our children,” Fortuno says, as the screen shows idyllic images of kids and their parents, as well as Romney grasping hands with voters on the campaign trail. “It isn’t about `yes we can’, it’s about how we can.”

Also this morning, Romney’s campaign began airing another ad — a darker spot his team did not highlight in a press release. That commercial, set to grim-sounding music, pictures Obama alongside Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, and says their “great achievement” is to have left $16 trillion of debt to young people who can’t get jobs.

“The policies of Obama and the Democrats have resulted in half of our kids struggling to find work,” a female narrator says in Spanish. “The legacy for our children? A debt burden they don’t deserve and without jobs to pay it.”

The ad ran early this morning in Orlando, Florida, according to the media tracking firm Kantar Media’s CMAG. A CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University poll conducted Sept. 18-24 showed Obama leading Romney among likely voters, 53 percent to 44 percent.

Florida is one of several swing states, those with a propensity to vote for either major parties’ candidates, in which both Romney and Obama are focusing much of their campaign. One in five voters in Florida is Hispanic, including a swing-voting Puerto Rican populace in Central Florida that helped Obama carry the state in 2008.

If Romney hopes to win the election, he must cut into Obama’s support among Hispanic voters, who helped propel the president to the White House in 2008. Obama won 67 percent of their vote, compared with 31 percent for Republican John McCain, according to exit polls.

A Latino Decisions and impreMedia poll of registered Hispanic voters conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 6 found Obama leading Romney 66 percent to 29 percent.

Bill Faries in Miami contributed to this report.

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