BOSTON – Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) announced Monday that he's spending $1 million to air Spanish-language television ads, part of his effort to target Hispanics.
President Bush (search), making his own appeal to the politically diverse group, began airing a radio campaign costing more than $1 million in 18 states. The 60-second ad, broadcast in both English and Spanish, criticizes Kerry for missing more than two-thirds of votes in the Senate during his presidential campaign.
The Kerry ad will air on Spanish-language stations in Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
The 30-second ad is titled "Honor" and is designed showcase aspects of Kerry's life that his campaign is betting will appeal to Hispanics.
"We introduce you to a man of faith," a narrator says in Spanish. "A man of family. A man of honor. A man for our community. His name is John Kerry. And for more than twenty years, he has defended working people. And has fought so they can reach their dreams."
As the narrator speaks, the viewer sees images of Kerry playing with his young daughters, getting a medal in the Navy and working in the Senate. At the end, Kerry is heard saying "Si se puede!" — yes we can — to a cheering crowd.
Bush's ad is titled "Havoc," and it singles out two votes Kerry has missed — one to cap medical malpractice awards and one to fund the war in Iraq (search).
The ad points out that Kerry made it back to vote against legislation to expand the legal rights of the unborn by making it a separate crime to harm a fetus during an assault on a pregnant woman.
"If these are John Kerry's priorities, let's hope there is a lot of havoc in his schedule," a narrator says.
The ad includes a clip of Kerry complaining, "This is wreaking havoc with my schedule." However, Kerry was complaining about the length of a television interview, not votes in the Senate, although the ad doesn't explain that.
Nearly two-thirds of Hispanics supported Democrat Al Gore over Bush in 2000. Still, Bush made inroads with Hispanics in the last election and was rewarded with 35 percent of their vote. Previous Republican presidential nominees failed to break 30 percent among Hispanic voters — Bob Dole garnered 21 percent in 1996 and Bush's father got 25 percent in 1992.
Bush fared much poorer among blacks in 2000, losing their vote to Gore 9-to-1. Kerry, trying to repeat Gore's success among blacks, will speak to the NAACP (search) this Thursday and criticized Bush for his decision not to appear before the group.
"Friends, I will be a president who meets with the leadership of the civil rights (in) Congress, who meets with the NAACP," Kerry said during a Unity breakfast hosted by his campaign Monday morning.