Hillary Clinton relies on a former Bush administration official to attack Donald Trump in Spanish as part of a new ad campaign targeting Hispanic voters in Florida and Nevada.
The Democratic presidential candidate's campaign on Wednesday plans to begin airing new spots in the two battleground states with the largest Hispanic voting populations. During the general election, Clinton has aired just one Spanish-language TV ad during a highly rated soccer match that aired on Univision this summer. Digital ads targeting Hispanics have appeared in both languages and the campaign aired ads targeting Hispanic voters during the primary campaign.
But the lack of Spanish advertising during the general election especially has prompted some Democrats to voice concern that Clinton is taking the Latino vote for granted, warning that millions of dollars need to be spent to remind millions of Hispanic voters to register and cast ballots.
The first ad will air in Miami and stars Carlos Gutierrez, a Cuban-born Republican who served as George W. Bush's commerce secretary for four years. He delivers a straight-to-camera appeal, imploring fellow Hispanics to vote for Clinton because Trump is "dangerous."
"Donald Trump doesn't have the qualities necessary to be president. I know, because I served in the Cabinet of George W. Bush for four years," Gutierrez says in Spanish. "I was born in Cuba, but this country gave me my success. I've been a Republican my entire life, but first I'm an American. Vote for Trump? I can't. It's dangerous and we don't want to go back. Hillary Clinton has the experience and I trust her. For me, country first, and then party."
Gutierrez announced his support for Clinton last month, becoming one of the most prominent Hispanic Republicans to do so. A former Kellogg's chief executive, he is now co-chairman of the advisory firm Albright Stonebridge Group. Gutierrez initially supported the campaign of former Republican Florida governor Jeb Bush and frequently warned fellow Republicans that Trump's anti-immigrant message would be detrimental to their party.
The second ad, "Verdadera Fuerza," or "Real Strength," will air in the Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach markets in Florida and the Las Vegas and Reno markets in Nevada, according to the campaign.
"Because he shouts insults, Trump thinks he has real strength," the announcer says before Trump is heard saying that Mexican immigrants are "bringing crime, they're rapists."
"But Hillary Clinton understands that real strength is revealed in what you do for others," the announcer ads before touting Clinton's early work on behalf of disabled children and as first lady in support of a children's health-care program.
"A life of work — that's where you find real strength," the announcer says before reminding viewers to register to vote.
Clinton maintains a wide lead over Trump among Hispanic voters, but it's not as large as some might expect, which has sparked much of the worry among Democratic activists and political consultants who specialize in targeting Latino voters.
An average of recent Washington Post-ABC News polls shows Clinton leading Trump by 70 percent to 25 percent among Hispanic voters — similar to President Obama’s margin over Republican rival Mitt Romney in 2012.
In 2008, Obama’s campaign began airing Spanish-language ads in mid-September, meaning that Clinton will beat that timeline, if barely. In 2012, Obama’s reelection campaign spent tens of millions of dollars on ads in Spanish beginning in April when he did not have a competitive primary contest.
Overall, Clinton is far outpacing her rivals on the airwaves, with at least $61 million spent by her campaign as of last month. Trump has started airing TV ads in a handful of battleground states, with no signal that he plans to do so in Spanish.
Abby D. Phillip contributed to this report.