Seeking to make inroads with the Hispanic electorate, a demographic with which former candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton was popular, Republican Senator John McCain has launched a 60-second radio ad targeting Florida’s Cuban-American community, a group that has traditionally identified with conservative values.
The spot features the voice of Roberto Martin Perez, an exiled Cuban national that was imprisoned by the Castro regime for 24 years. In the ad, Perez likens his captivity to that which McCain experienced during the Vietnam War, and asserts that his fellow Cubans are in some ways prisoners in their own country.
The message is meant to draw a contrast between Sen. McCain’s Cuba policy, which continues the hard line of economic sanctions and chilly relations that have characterized U.S.-Cuba relations since Castro’s assumption of power, and Mr Obama’s approach, which favors constructive dialogue with the island nation. A poignant, and pointed, line in the ad features Perez asserting: “As someone who has survived the harsh conditions of the Vietnamese prisons, John McCain knows that freedom in Cuba won't be achieved with concessions to dictatorships.”
The ad is running on Radio Mambi, which is highly popular among the State’s Cuban population. McCain is also currently running Spanish-language radio ads in Nevada and New Mexico.
The Obama campaign made news in the recent Puerto Rico primary, when it aired a Spanish-language ad spoken by the senator, done with a serviceable Spanish accent. Much has been made of Obama’s difficulty appealing to Hispanic constituencies, as Senator Clinton was much preferred among Hispanics in the primaries.
However, McCain must walk a fine line between advocating for Hispanic-friendly immigration reform and alienating his already tenuous base of conservative supporters.
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