McCain honors Hispanic troops in Memorial Day advert
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Republican John McCain aired a stirring television spot on Memorial Day honoring the role of Latino servicemen and women — his latest salvo in a campaign to woo back Hispanic voters who deserted to the Democrats.
“My friends, I want you, the next time you’re down in Washington, D.C., to go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the names engraved in black granite. You’ll find a whole lot of Hispanic names,” McCain intoned over a montage of clips showing monuments to fallen service men and women.
“When you go to Iraq or Afghanistan today, you’re going to see a whole lot of people who are of Hispanic background.”
U.S. Hispanics support for the Republican Party, small but growing steadily over the past decade, has ebbed in the past year, following a bruising battle over illegal immigration.
Republican lawmakers last June sank a comprehensive immigration bill — co-sponsored by McCain — that would have created a path to citizenship for many of the 12 million mostly Hispanic undocumented immigrants in the United States.
A report by the Pew Hispanic Center in December, before McCain emerged as the Republican front-runner, found that just 23 percent of Hispanic registered voters called themselves Republicans — 5 percentage points fewer than in 2006.
Both McCain and Democrat rival Senator Barack Obama made campaign stops on Monday in New Mexico, one of several swing states with significant Latino populations that may prove key in the November election.
In an apparent attempt to soothe Republicans still angered by his support for comprehensive immigration reform, McCain also used the television spot to stress the key role played by immigrants with legal U.S. residency.
“You’re even going to meet some of the few thousand that are still Green Card holders who are not even citizens of this country, who love this country so much that they’re willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship and enjoy the bountiful, blessed nation,” he said.
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-Photo credit: Reuters/Richard Clement (Republican presidential candidate John McCain)