Tucson Citizen
Monday, March 1, 2004

Bush TV ad blitz aims at Hispanics

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Tune in to Univision or Telemundo next week, and you'll see a political ad praising President Bush.

Same for the Fox network's NASCAR coverage, the Golf Channel and ESPN.

The first advertising of Bush's re-election campaign begins Thursday, and the $4.5 million buy provides a window on one aspect of his spring strategy: appeal to Hispanics, the nation's fastest-growing minority group.

Bush's TV ad blitz also will try to energize his base of conservative support and will feature commercials on the Fox Sports Net, mostly during NASCAR programs, and on ESPN and the Golf Channel. On those channels Bush's campaign can hit younger white males and more affluent, older white males.

The ads on the Spanish-language cable networks will appear in New Mexico, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, Bush's campaign advisers say.

"President Bush feels that it's very important to reach out to citizens throughout this country who may not have English as their native tongue," said Scott Stanzel, a campaign spokesman.

Hispanics traditionally favor the Democratic Party in presidential elections, but support has dropped in recent years. In 1996, 72 percent of Hispanics voted to re-elect President Clinton, versus just 21 percent for Republican Bob Dole. Four years later, Democrat Al Gore won 62 percent of the Hispanic vote compared to 35 percent for Bush.

States with large Hispanic populations, such as Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida, were competitive in 2000. Bush beat Gore in Arizona by about 6.5 points in 2000.

"If the Republicans take 5 to 10 percent of the Hispanic vote, they're going to kill the Democrats in those key states," said Joe Velasquez, a Democratic consultant.