A leading union and a Super PAC supporting President Barack Obama launched a volley of Spanish-language advertisements charging that Mitt Romney's economic policies would hurt financially struggling Americans.
Set to air in Colorado, Nevada and Florida -- all swing states with large Latino populations -- the $4 million worth of advertisements emulate the Romney campaign's strategy for appealing to Latino voters. Polls consistently show Obama enjoying a far higher level of support among Latinos than Romney, who has alienated some Hispanics by embracing the Republican party's increasingly hardline immigration stance.
Romney's response has been to maintain his singleminded focus on the economy. Hispanics have suffered disproportionately from the fallout of the recession, particularly in sections of Nevada with soaring foreclosure rates, and Romney has presented himself as more capable than Obama of injecting new life into the economy.
The new ad barrage, sponsored by the Service Employees International Union and the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action, turn that critique back on Romney. Clips of now-notorious gaffes, like when Romney told voters that I'm also unemployed, are overlaid with Latinos discussing how Romney is out of touch with the struggles of working people.
It's making fun of us, a woman says in one spot. I was actually unemployed. Our children are suffering and he goes and makes this joke.
The ad buy also represents a Democratic counteroffensive in the air war being waged by third-party groups. The Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision shattered previous campaign spending barriers, allowing independent groups to pour unlimited amounts of money into political ads as long as they don't coordinate with candidates.
So far, Republican-affiliated groups have decisively outspent their liberal counterparts on television spots. The Associated Press reports that conservative organizations like Crossroads GPS and Restore Our Future had spent $37 million on TV ads through the first few days of June compared to $11 million from groups backing Obama.