Controversial Obama ad revives immigration issue

September 18, 2008

Immigration has been absent from the presidential campaign for months, but it came to the front again this week in a controversial television spot for Barack Obama.

The Democratic presidential candidate sought to cast Republican rival John McCain as an anti-Hispanic hard-liner and link him to talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

The Spanish language TV ad — dubbed “Dos Cartr220ai.jpgras,” or “Two Faces” — aired on Wednesday. It courted Hispanic voters who make up 9 percent of the electorate and who could help swing the outcome in battleground states in the U.S. southwest as well as in Florida on Nov. 4. 

The 30-second spot begins with a voice-over attacking the Republicans: “They want us to forget the insults we’ve put up with, the intolerance … they made us feel marginalized in the country that we love so much.” The screen then shows two quotes from widely syndicated radio host Limbaugh, one reads “stupid and unskilled Mexicans,” the other, “You shut your mouth or you get out!”

The paid spot then says: “John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote … and another, even worse, that continues the policies of George Bush, which puts special interests ahead of working families.” It closes with the line “more of the same Republican lies.”

The advertisement is a stretch. McCain was the co-author of a bi-partisan bill that sought a path to citizenship for millions of mostly Hispanic illegal immigrants living in the United States. It was backed by President George W. Bush, but was ultimately killed by Senate Republicans last year.

His support for the measure brought McCain the ire of many immigration hard-liners in his own party, and met with scorn from cigar-chomping Limbaugh, who was outspoken in his opposition to the veteran Arizona senator during the primary election process.The McCain campaign shot back on Thursday with a rebuttal of the television spot. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, calling the immigration ad “offensive and dishonest.”

“Instead of making false ads with baseless attacks, Barack Obama should be apologizing to the Latino community,” he said.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo Credit: Reuters/David Allio (Obama speaks in Las Vegas Sept. 17)


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Obama lies, and should be ashamed exploiting immigration. It’s a very serious issue, and lying about it is wrong!!

Posted by Rusty | Report as abusive

You wrote that the bill “but was ultimately killed by Senate Republicans last year.” This is incorrect. The bill passed through the Senate. Right wing conservatives in the House killed it. They did this by trying to pass a bill that would make anyone that helps an illegal alien deemed a criminal. This would include churches. Imagine even Mother Teresa would have been deemed a criminal.

What is most irritating about McCain is that last year his version of the legalization law would require enforcement of the borders while simultaneously legalizing the 12 million aliens. He understood that to require the borders to be completely sealed up before legalization would be impossible. Proof of this point is that the Congress mandated 700-mile fence will not be completed until 2010. Imagine 2000 miles… Perhaps in 20 years?

It’s clear that the only way to prevent aliens form sneaking through the borders is by creating a guest worker statute that would enable employers to hire foreign workers, which is badly needed in the U.S.

McCain, now talks about enforcing the borders before legalizing aliens. He knows this is an impossible dream and is only saying this to pander to the conservative right. If he had not changed his opinion on this issue, he would never have won the primary.

Posted by Moses Apsan – Home | Report as abusive

To Mainstream Media, I have to say that who are you? Are you Reporters of Truths or Messengers of Lies Deceptions and Propagandas? Chuck Hagel is right. McCain and Palin should be vote out for many reasons; Unemployment getting close to 7%, Stock Market Collapsed, Gas price is as high as ever, Everything else went up 25%, People are loosing their home daily, and McCain and his Economic adviser Mr. Gramm had to do a lot with these problems, yet most of medias supporting McCain /Palin since they do not want to admit that either they are paid off or scared of Republicans. McCain and Palin are on the wrong side of all issues and yet he gets free ride from Medias. All McCain’s staff are Lobbyist and the worst on is Bill Gramm. McCain has no plan for economy and at many occasions he said he does not understand it. He is the ultimate flip flapper. Palin lied about bridge to no where, since she was for it and politician in D.C killed it and she kept almost 400 million dollar money. She abused her power and fired a commissionaire for personal reason. She was Mayor of six thousand people city , when she took over city had surplus when she left city had deficit even so that she took 27 million dollar of tax payers money that was given to her by D. C through her lobbies. Mainstream Medias are betraying Americans once more without any shame by supporting McBush.

Posted by Alan | Report as abusive

During the Republican Primary debates when pressed Senator McCain said that he would NOT now support the very immigration legislation he once co-sponsored. Accordingly a charge that he has shown two faces stands. Based on his current position he is no better positionally than Limbaugh.

Posted by Chester Veal | Report as abusive

Lincoln Diaz-Balart is a purchased monkey of the Republican party. He doesnt stand for immigrant issues he stands for his pockets. Pure BS. McCain is for Country First? What country, China?

Posted by El Beny | Report as abusive

Neith candidate represents the the interests of America’s Citizens on this issue. Voters should concentrate on turning out as many long term incumbents in Congress as possible. By changing the balance of power and tenure in Congress, by removing these Congressional Elites and Power brokers, we can marginalize the damage that either an Obama or a McCain presidency will cause.

Certainly, given the state of our economy, there is no demonstrable need for additional population growth through immigration, legal as well as illegal.

Overpopulation, congestion, urban sprawl, crumbling infrastructure, diminishing resources, over crowded schools and emergency rooms, vanishing farm land and green space, crime, pollution, lack of affordable housing, depressed wages, increased tax burdens, the balkanization of our communities, the marginalization of American workers, taxpayer and voters, the overall decline in quality of life, are all the result of unconstrained immigration!

Too many people competing fro the same limited resources is not sound economic, environmental, social or cultural policy!

Indeed, virtually every industrialized nation, China, Mexico, Great Britain, the European Union, has adopted a zero tolerance policy for illegal aliens. They’ve adopted policies for incarceration and deporting illegals wherever they are encountered. Further, these same countries have implemented policies to curtail legal immigration to only that which is prudent, demonstrably necessary, and above all other concerns, in the best interests of their native population. It’s dangerously misguided to suggest that the United States not do likewise. How can we hope to spread democracy to other nations, so long as our immigration policies make it easier and far more lucrative to violate our immigration laws, and take advantage of American taxpayers largess?

Posted by Ed Weirdness | Report as abusive

Let’s not forget that it was McCain who began accusing Obama of the same lies he’s now facing from his opponent. It’s not an excuse, but you reap what you saw.

Posted by Ana | Report as abusive

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Posted by Obama ad and Reuters on immigration : Stop The ACLU | Report as abusive

McCain has tried to find some common ground on immigration. He deserves some credit for this. The compromise was killed by his Republican friends. Things have changed since then, and he no longer talks about immigration. In order to win, he discontinued the “Straight Talk Express”. He understands he cannot let Republicans know what his true positions are on immigration, and cannot afford to let independents know what he thinks about everything else, as the answer is “just like Bush”. He has made lies and deception the cornerstone of his campaign.

Posted by ehudmos | Report as abusive

Ed’s post the whole truth. McCain did not support that immigration bill in primaries that he previously co-sponsored for good reason; the American people Demanded the bill be killed. This is partly why I’m voting for McCain, he wanted the bill he relented to do the people’s will. He also wants a gas tax holiday for the people. He’s worked to serve the people, not himself. He has shown good judgement through the years and works across the isle; said will appoint both dems and repubs in his cabinet.
Romney would have been better for immigration reform but McCain is opposite of Obama who said to Hillary in debate in response to sending illegals back who are criminals that ‘it’s critical we be careful not to say that because hate crimes against illegals are on rise’. Very few hates crimes on illegals, but 40,000 plus hate crime murders on American citizens. Do we want his affirmitative action where whites who are a minority as in Los Angeles will be looked over in favor of official minority students. His plans to spend tax payer monies for illegals, minorities and other nations are vast. Good judgement means not copying others ideas, words, constantly, and it has to do with wisdom, maturity and strength.

Posted by Janet | Report as abusive

Niether McAmnesty nor Barakamnesty give a damn about the U.S. All they care about is getting votes from illegals.

12 million is a false number. The politicians have been using that number for years while the border is being breached by countless numbers of illegals 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

They both want to change the face of America and destroy it as we have known it.

I say seal the borders using all means available and then start rounding up every illegal and those that employ them. Deport all illegals and jail the employers for a minimum of 5 years per illegal that they have working for them. Let Americans get the much needed jobs at a fair wage.

I say use the National Guard to secure the borders and also use them to assist in rounding up and deporting ALL illegals.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

What a lot of us forget is that the basic idea of this country is to welcome immigrants. A great majority of us are Christians and our religion calls upon us to be open to helping those in need and living side by side with our fellow men. However, we cannot say yes to all of that if it just isn’t the way that we feel. Take a pick on which problems are the worst: abortion, economy, immigration or gay marriage. All are very prickly and difficult. This is the reason we need better leaders in Washington, DC than we have had, and this is why I am going to vote for Barack Obama because he has the most basic midwestern values in his intellectual and spiritual arsenal. He is a walking testament of what his 1950’s non-conformist mother and her conservative, good and wise parents taught their grandson. Folks, we couldn’t ask for more.

Posted by Evelyn H | Report as abusive

full of lies but effective…superbly engineered to strike deep and hard and create fear into a community who already is in a state of panic, and although they do not vote, they have families and friends who do. It is being played over and over here in Nevada. The Republicans have their work caught up. They outsmarted Obama when they chose Palin, but they NEED the Hispanic Vote to win. They better come up guns ablaze and counter this immediately, otherwise, they will pay the price on election day.

Posted by MALENA | Report as abusive

Will someone please explain to the Dems what “illegal” means.One reason wages are down for many workers is illegals working for peanuts.

Posted by Ray moore | Report as abusive

Any current proposal for “solving” the immigration issue isn’t going to cut it. There is no single solution. Until people can realize that it is not a cut and dry issue, no progress will be made.

Posted by Clint | Report as abusive