Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hispanic Media Turn Against Obama

Hispanic voters largely supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election after he vowed to influential Univision anchor Jorge Ramos that he would draft an immigration reform bill during his first year in office.

More than a year has come and gone, no immigration bill has been forthcoming, and Obama is increasingly coming under criticism from Hispanic media figures — including Ramos himself. “He has a credibility problem right now with Latinos,” said Ramos, an anchor on Univision — the nation’s largest Spanish-language television network — for more than 20 years who has been called the Walter Cronkite of Spanish-language media.

He told Politico, “Latinos voted overwhelmingly for President Obama, and they expected him to keep his promise, and he broke his promise.

“If he was able to get 60 votes for financial reform, if he can get 60 votes to extend unemployment benefits, how come he can’t get 60 votes for immigration reform?”

Ramos is not alone. Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart complained on ABC’s “Meet the Press” in April that Obama’s campaign vow, known as “La Promesa de Obama,” has gone unmet.

After Obama said in May that he would send 1,200 guards to the Mexican border, an editorial in El Diario La Prensa asked, “Who’s in charge in Washington?”

Following Obama’s immigration speech in July, La Opinion, the nation’s largest Spanish-language daily, titled an editorial, “Words are not enough.”

And Andres Oppenheimer, a columnist for El Nuevo Herald, declared, “Obama came up short.”

Hispanics voted 67 percent for Obama versus 31 percent for Republican John McCain, according to an analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center. But Obama’s approval rating among Hispanics dropped from 69 early this year to 57 percent in May, according to the Gallup Poll.

Members of the Obama administration “know they are in trouble with the Hispanic community, and the problem in November is the Hispanic vote may be up for grabs again,” Ramos told Politico. “My fear is they might not vote. They don’t feel protected or supported by either party.”

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