WASHINGTON -- The Obama campaign is upping its use of the Dream Act to rally Latino voters in a new ad out Tuesday, featuring Obama speaking straight to the camera, in Spanish.
The ad is part of a larger push to tout Obama's June directive to the Department of Homeland Security to stop deporting some undocumented young people -- a popular decision among Latino voters. The Obama ad comes on the same day as a straight-to-camera spot from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, also aimed at Spanish speakers, but spoken in English, with Spanish subtitles.
Romney opposed the Obama administration's decision to grant deferred action, which the Obama campaign points out in its ad. Romney also said he would veto the Dream Act, a bill that would grant legal status to some of the same undocumented young people as the deferred action directive, and legislation that holds strong support among Latino voters.
"In the young people known as the DREAMers, I see the same qualities that Michelle and I try to instill in our daughters," Obama says in Spanish in the ad airing in Nevada, as translated by the campaign. "They respect their parents, they study for a better life and they want to give back to the only country they know and love. As a father, they inspire me. And as a President, their courage has reminded me that no obstacle is too great. No road too long."
Obama's support for the bill and for immigration reform in general aligns with the views of most Latino voters, who rate immigration higher on their list of concerns than the population at large. (It's not at the top, however -- the economy and jobs are rated as more important in most polls of Latino voters.) Obama holds an overwhelming lead among Latino voters, but faces lower enthusiasm than he did in 2008, when 67 percent of Latino voters supported him in the election.
The Obama campaign is using immigration, along with other issues such as education and the economy, in hopes of ensuring Latinos get out to the polls.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said during an Obama campaign call with reporters on Tuesday that the so-called "Dreamers," "deserve a president that defends them and fights for them." Reid attacked Romney for "multiple choice" answers -- or flip-flopping -- on immigration. Romney said last week that he would honor deferred action granted by Obama, but would discontinue the policy -- which would mean that many people who have already applied would be left out.
"That's really too bad, really too bad. It's an unfortunate deadline for hundreds of thousands of DREAMers," Reid said. "So that's unfortunate. I could use stronger words but I think we get the point."
He said these types of efforts to point out Romney's policies on immigration can help increase enthusiasm among Latino voters and ensure voters come out to the polls.
"We believe that the way the turnout is going to be magnified is by explaining to the American people what Mitt Romney doesn't stand for," Reid said. "It's obvious he can't make up his mind on immigration, and I have been in the trenches now for a number of years, and the reason we don't have comprehensive reform that the president wants is because we can't get Republicans to do anything. ... That's what we need to get the Hispanic community to understand."
Benita Veliz, who became known during the Democratic National Convention as the first-ever undocumented immigrant to speak at such an event, also joined the call Tuesday to discuss Obama's immigration policies, praising the president's decisions in Spanish.
Obama aired ads featuring himself speaking Spanish in 2008, although he isn't fluent. Romney hasn't done full Spanish-language ads, but usually does the taglines -- "Soy Mitt Romney" -- in ads featuring his son Craig, who is fluent.
Romney's ad on Tuesday discussed the economy, which has been the focus of his pitch to Latino voters.
"Our economic recovery needs the success of the Hispanic community," Romney says in the ad. "But President Obama's misguided policies are dragging down businesses. You deserve better."
Watch the Obama ad: