Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in Miami on Wednesday touting the need to unite the country and to stop all the personal attacks that characterized the presidential election.
But meanwhile the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign had already begun running a Spanish-language TV ad in the Miami area that ties President Barack Obama to figures who are reviled by some in the region’s Cuban population such as former Cuban president Fidel Castro, leftist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and deceased Argentinian Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
The Miami Herald reported that the ad has been running since at least Tuesday, and links Obama to endorsements from Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro’s niece as well as to an email sent by an EPA administrator containing an image of Guevara.
The ad shows that Romney remains worried about Florida and its 29 electoral votes. Recent polls give the GOP standard bearer has a statistically insignificant edge in the state. The ad is an attempt to shore up his support among traditionally Republican Cuban voters, a majority of whom are voting for Obama, according to a recent Survey USA poll.
The survey, however, polled just 600 voters with only 10 percent (60 people) of those being Cuban-Americans.
Both Romney’s and the campaign of President Barack Obama say they feel good about where the race stands in Florida and other key swing states as the presidential race enters its final days.
The Obama camp feels optimistic because of an extensive ground presence in each of the states, as well as large leads among minorities, women and young people.
The Romney say the race is just where they’d hoped it would be at this point, and point to Obama’s national approval ratings that are hovering just below 50 percent as reason to for their optimism as Nov. 6 approaches.
But that doesn’t mean either campaign will take anything for granted between now and Election Day.
The latest Romney ad was praised Wednesday morning by Spanish-language radio host Ninoska Pérez Castellón on Radio Mambí. U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican and guest on the show, also touted it, citing a Spanish proverb that loosely translates to, “Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
But at least one Cuban reader, Rosa Hombredela, was outraged and said in an email that the ad is evidence of “corrupt politics. True, people like my father and mother helped build what the city of Miami is today, but, it is unfortunate but also true, that the same infectious style of politics that put Castro in power has germinated in Miami making it a banana republic. I was born in Cuba, raised in the United States, I’m a woman, a Republican and I voted yesterday for President Barack Obama. Proud to say so.”
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Here’s a translation of the ad:
NARRATOR: Who supports Barack Obama?
CHAVEZ: “If I were American, I’d vote for Obama.”
NARRATOR: Raúl Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro, would vote for Obama.
CASTRO: “I would vote for President Obama.”
NARRATOR: And to top it off, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency sent emails for Hispanic Heritage month with a photo of Che Guevara.
CHAVEZ: “If Obama were from Barlovento (a Venezuelan town), he’d vote for Chávez.”
ROMNEY: I’m Mitt Romney, and I approve this message.
The EPA said that the e-mail had been sent by a staffer without official approval, and she has apologized for her error.
Mariela Castro, who is the daughter of current Cuban president Raul Castro, is the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education. She said that she would vote for Obama during a visit to the U.S., a move that Romney criticized.