It's a strong rebuttal, but one that so far could be drowned out by President Obama's six-figure spending in Spanish-language media. "The president has our back,'' says pop star Marc Anthony, who will headline a concert fundraiser for Obama on June 26 in Miami Beach and stars in a new video promoting Obama's Hispanic outreach.
After a robust fundraising month in May, Romney appears to be testing his message in the battleground states of Ohio and North Carolina before making any decisions about a Spanish media blitz. In the meantime, Obama is pulling way ahead. A Latino Decision poll released on Friday shows Obama with a 43-point lead over Romney among Hispanic voters nationwide.
"He's an investor," Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra of California said of Romney in an interview on Thursday with Fox News Latino. "And for him to invest such a tiny fraction of his campaign money to reach out to Latinos I think is a clear sign he doesn't care much about Latinos."
Romney doesn't have to win the Hispanic vote to get to the White House. But he does have to garner enough of the community's support to win a handful of key battleground states, including Florida.
And if the 2010 governor's race in that state is a guide, Romney needs to boost his presence on Spanish-language television and radio before November.
Exit polls show Republican Rick Scott narrowly carried the Hispanic vote -- despite a primary campaign that promised to bring Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigration to the state. He spent roughly $3 million in Spanish-language ads that focused on his jobs agenda.
"Scott was on the wrong side of the immigration issue, but he invested in Hispanic media,'' said Democratic strategist Freddy Balsera, who advises Obama on Hispanic outreach. "Investment translates into votes.''
Certainly, many Hispanic voters will be exposed to Romney's English-language ads. But media experts say penetrating the Hispanic market demands targeted advertising. Romney aired Spanish-language ads before the Florida primary that featured Cuban-American members of Congress from Miami touting Romney's economic agenda and opposition to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. He dominated the Hispanic vote, drawing 54 percent, and handily won the Jan. 31 primary.
"I don't have any insight into our future spending plans on Hispanic media, but I know this: Hispanic Americans, like all Americans, are worried about jobs,'' Gutierrez said in an interview Friday with National Journal. "They want a growing economy and prosperity, and it's very obvious this president can't do that.''
Gutierrez was a leading supporter of the Bush administration's efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Romney seemed to support the legislation at the time, but he has decried allowing undocumented workers to earn legal status as "amnesty'' since he began running for president in 2007. "The answer is self-deportation,'' Romney said in a debate shortly before the Florida primary vote.