'Latinos for Obama' outreach launches in president's push for Hispanic support

The Obama campaign on Wednesday intensified its push to appeal to Hispanic voters, launching a new outreach effort, "Latinos for Obama," and calling the demographic the "deciding factor" in the 2012 presidential election.

As part of the efforts, Team Obama launched a string of Spanish-language advertisements in swing states such as Florida, Colorado and Nevada.

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Speaking to reporters on a conference call, campaign manager Jim Messina said the Hispanic vote will be critical to President Obama's reelection efforts. He touted Obama's support on issues that appeal to Hispanic voters, including education and healthcare, and said Obama's policies have created 1.2 million jobs in the Hispanic community so far.

The effort comes shortly after the Republican National Committee announced it is ramping up its push to court Hispanic voters.

Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, also confessed last weekend at a Florida fundraiser that "we have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party."

But Sen. Robert Menendez, (D-N.J.) who was also on the campaign call, said Republicans will have a hard time trying to convince voters that they have their best interests at heart.

"They may try to paint whatever picture they want, but they have a very tough time talking about immigration and so many other things," Menendez said.

"It is impossible to believe now that selling snake oil in our community is going to sell," he said, adding, "We see a pejorative language that goes directly to our community."

Messina echoed that sentiment.

"I feel very sorry for those organizers," he said, adding that Republicans will have to explain why they stopped the DREAM Act from becoming law and why they want to repeal the healthcare law.

A recent Gallup poll indicated that Obama had a 61 percent approval rating with Hispanic voters. Obama won over the demographic in 2008 against GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with 67 percent of the vote. Romney is trying to make inroads with McCain's poor showing with Latino voters.

Obama campaign aides also downplayed a trend that Democrats lost Hispanic votes in 2010.

Messina said polls will go up and down, but "what matters is on-the-ground organizing."