The Other Ad War on Spanish-Language TV

Anyone doubting that the election will hinge on Latino turnout need only tune in to Spanish Language television these days.

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The World Series is over, and the X-Factor is no American Idol. So I spent my evening after trick-or-treating brushing up on my Spanish comprehension by watching a Telenovela on Univision called “Por Ella… Soy Eva.” It’s about a transvestite who wears less makeup than her female friends, and it’s sort of a riot, like a Mexican “Bosom Buddies” meets “Dallas.” But for a political junkie like me the ads were even better.

Anyone doubting whether the Wall Street Journal headline “Election May Hinge On Latino Turnout” has relevance need only tune in to Spanish Language television these days. There is a whole other ad war playing out that the English language press is largely leaving unnoticed. Two things jumped out at me from my 30-minutes in front of the boob-tube last night: Pro-Romney groups seemed to be outspending the President and the ads were vicious.

This one, from Crossroads GPS, the dark money group co-founded by Karl Rove, ran twice while I was watching:


This woman is pissed off, much more so than the English version of the same ad, which feature’s TIME’s own Mark Halperin. It also hammers social values squarely: “The ObamaCare healthcare law,” she says, “is going to force our holy church to violate our own principles.” “Violar,” the verb for violate, also means “to rape” in Spanish.

That was followed by this ad from People For The American Way, another non-disclosing group, about Mitt Romney and the DREAM Act.


Even if you don’t speak a lick of Spanish, the point comes across pretty clear. Mitt Romney does not deserve your vote.

Then came a spot from the Hispanic Leadership Fund, a third dark money group, that does not disclose its donors, with a personal testimonial for Romney.


The English version of this spot can be found here. Suffice it to say, this guy believes in Romney.

Then there was the one Obama ad, aimed squarely at women who like watching Telanovelas about transvestites. The First lady stars in conversation about the importance of the vote with Christina Saralegui, a former talk show host that draws comparisons to Oprah.


But perhaps the most important advertisement on during the commercial breaks was an in-house spot for the local D.C.-area network that rebroadcasts Univision into northern Virginia. It flashed the number 6 on the screen. That is the number of days left until the election. The network was telling its viewers it had a responsibility to vote.