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Campaigns Unveil Spanish Ads

By Andy Lenderman
Journal Politics Writer
    The Democrats on Monday rolled out a million dollars worth of Spanish-language campaign ads. Just two hours later, Republicans held a news conference touting their own ads aimed at Hispanic voters.
    Sen. John Kerry and President George W. Bush continue to slug through the presidential election season, 112 days before Election Day on Nov. 2.
    At issue Monday was the attention of an estimated 6.7 million Hispanic voters the Kerry campaign projects to vote in the 2004 election.
    "It's obvious from the ad buy that we are not taking the Latino vote for granted," said Aida Alvarez, a Kerry adviser and former administrator of the Small Business Administration.
    A new television ad, "Honor," shows Kerry as a father, naval officer and campaigner.
    "We introduce you to a man of faith," a translated version of the script reads. "A man of family. A man of honor."
    The Democratic ads will run in 10 states, including New Mexico, according to the Kerry campaign.
    Later Monday, Bush's team hosted a teleconference call to promote their own radio ad, called "Havoc." The spot focuses on Kerry's missed votes as a senator, including one for a $25 billion supplemental funding bill for troops overseas.
    Chief strategist Matthew Dowd said the Bush campaign has spent a total of $1.1 million on Spanish-language ads so far.
    The Republicans announced new radio and television ads that will air in New Mexico, Arizona, Florida and Nevada.
    "This is the first time that the Kerry campaign has done any concerted effort at the Spanish-language media," Dowd said.
    Former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marín said, "They're coming to the party a little too late."
    Dowd said the campaign's goal is to get 38 or 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in this year's election. A recent poll shows support among Hispanic voters at 42 percent, Dowd said. Dowd was referring to a June poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, Bush campaign spokesman Danny Diaz said.
    Diaz noted that the Bush campaign started its Spanish-language ads in March.
    "We've been on the ground since the beginning of the year," Diaz said. "This is a sustained effort on our part. And the Kerry campaign can't make that same statement."
    Kerry's New Mexico spokesman Ruben Pulido Jr. pointed to another poll which showed that 57 percent of Hispanics polled said they would vote for Kerry, compared to 38 percent who said they would vote for Bush.