By Geneva Sands - 09/26/12 03:25 PM EDT
"President Romney ... What would that mean? For our kids, a steeper climb to college," says a narrator in Spanish. "Up to 2 million Hispanic students could see their Pell grants cut by almost a thousand dollars. Thousands more would lose their federal work study. And under his plan, there would be less funds for community colleges," the voice-over continues. "Register today to make sure Romney doesn’t shut these doors."
Both ads will be broadcast in the key swing states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.
"What’s Romney’s solution for students who are concerned about paying for college or getting ahead? He’s told them to 'shop around' or “borrow money” from their parents," said an Obama campaign statement announcing the new commercials. "President Obama, on the other hand, has made education a national priority, working to ensure America is on track to out-educate the rest of the world and that our workers are prepared to compete in the global economy."
The Romney campaign responded to the ad, saying that Obama's economic record had already set back younger voters.
“The theme of President Obama’s campaign might be ‘Forward,’ but his policies have taken young Americans in the wrong direction,” said Romney spokeswoman Yohana De La Torre. “Half of recent college graduates can’t find full–time work, college costs have increased, and most Americans say college is unaffordable. Young Americans deserve better. Mitt Romney has a plan to jumpstart the economy and ensure that young Americans have the same opportunity to find work and live the American Dream as previous generations.”
Education reform has been front and center in the presidential race, with Obama using the issue to appeal to young voters, a key focus of his reelection efforts. The president has held rallies at college campuses and touted his efforts on financial aid and education spending.
This week both Obama and Romney appeared as part of NBC's "Education Nation."
The president criticized Romney's education plan, telling NBC that the Republican budget would result in more teachers being fired and class sizes increasing.
"This is a big argument and a big difference that I've got with Gov. Romney in this election, because they talk a good game about reform, but when you actually look at their budgets, they are talking about slashing our investment in education by 20 percent, 25 percent," Obama said.
During his appearance on "Education Nation," Romney touted his proposals to connect federal education money to students, institute an "A" to "F" grading system for schools, add more flexibility in hiring and firing teachers and create more independence for states.
"I'm not looking for more federal spending. It is the nature of politics for someone in my position to promise more free stuff," he said. "I really care about education. I care so much about our kids that I don't want to saddle them with trillions and trillions of dollars of debt."
Obama's new Spanish-language ads are also the latest targeted appeal from both campaigns to the key demographic group.
The president has maintained a strong advantage over his GOP challenger among Hispanic voters. A poll released earlier this month by Latino Decisions showed the president with a 68-26 percent lead over Romney among all Latinos.
This story was updated at 1:50 p.m.