WASHINGTON -- Hoping to exploit former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's potential weaknesses with Latino voters, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and a major Democratic super PAC are attacking the Republican presidential candidate in a Spanish-language radio ad entitled "Las Dos Caras de Mitt Romney," or "The Two Faces of Mitt Romney."
"Mitt Romney has no shame," the ad says in Spanish. "He shows one face to the Hispanic community and another completely different one to everyone else."
The six-figure ad buy, made jointly by the service workers' union and the super PAC, Priorities USA Action, will be released Tuesday and will air in Tampa and Orlando. The Romney campaign aired its own Spanish-language spots in Florida, but the SEIU says the "Dos Caras" ad will counter those ads and inform the state's Latino voters that the presidential hopeful doesn't share the values of the Latino community. Throughout the GOP primary, Romney has taken a hard stance on immigration issues in debates and on the campaign trail.
"He said in Spanish that he believes in us, and then he said in English that he will veto the Dream Act and wants immigrants to leave the country," SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina said when of the ad on a call with reporters. "Romney and other Republicans seem to forget that Latinos speak English too and we know what they say about us."
In particular, the ad points to Romney's endorsement from Kris Kobach, the current Kansas Secretary of State and immigration hardliner, who helped draw up some of the nation's strictest immigration laws. Kobach endorsed Romney earlier this month and advised his campaign in 2008.
The ad also criticizes the former Massachusetts governor for not supporting the Dream Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children to stay in the country under certain conditions. Although he's reiterated his opposition to the bill even when confronted by an undocumented woman in New York last week, in recent days Romney has tried to soften his stance on the Dream Act in the lead-up to the Florida primary.
"If you want to know his position, take a look at where he's standing and who he's talking to," Paul Begala, senior adviser for Priorities USA, said on the conference call.
He also promised to continue to target Romney, and other Republicans, for their statements on immigration and other issues Latinos care about.
"Romney's brutal attacks on Latinos are certainly going to come back to haunt him, and we're going to make sure that they do," Begala said.
The radio ad can be heard here. Below is the English translation:
Mitt Romney has no shame. He shows one face to the Hispanic community and another completely different one to everyone else.
On the one hand, he launches a commercial here in Florida targeted to Hispanic voters to try and convince us that he shares our values.
But in another state he boasts about having the endorsement of Kris Kobach, a leader in the anti-Hispanic movement and author of many anti-immigrant laws like Arizona's SB 1070 that unfairly attack our families and spread fear and uncertainty in our communities.
Romney says he cares about our children, but he has promised to veto the DREAM Act that would open the doors of opportunity for young Hispanics.
His Spanish-language ads say Romney "believes in us," but his deeds speak for themselves.
Let's not be fooled. He might have two faces, but we know all too well who the true Mitt Romney is.
Paid for by SEIU-COPE. SEIU.org. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
UPDATE: 6:10 p.m. -- The Romney campaign said later on Tuesday that the ads are "a dishonest smear from President Obama's liberal allies and a desperate attempt to distract from his abysmal record."
"It will do nothing to help the millions of Hispanics who have been hit especially hard as a result of the Obama economy," Romney adviser Albert Martinez said in a statement. "Hispanics, like all Floridians, are supporting Mitt Romney because they know he has a proven record as a conservative businessman, and is the best person to rebuild the economy that President Obama has spent three and half years destroying."
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