Mitt Romney has latched onto Barack Obama's failure to follow through on a 2008 campaign promise of immigration reform in a new Spanish-language television advert aimed at trying to win over some of the largely pro-Democratic Latino vote.
The 30-second spot picks up on the president's difficulties over the issue from Tuesday's night's presidential debate and Obama's admission during an interview with Spanish-language Univision that the lack of immigration reform was his biggest failure.
"The liberal Democrats promised immigration reform," the advert says. "Now, the Democrats say they never made a promise."
Romney also hit Obama with the accusation of breaking a promise during Tuesday's debate.
"When the president ran for office, he said that he'd put in place, in his first year, a piece of legislation – he'd file a bill in his first year that would reform our – our immigration system, protect legal immigration, stop illegal immigration. He didn't do it. He had a Democrat House and Democrat Senate, super majority in both houses. Why did he fail to even promote legislation that would have provided an answer for those that want to come here legally and for those that are here illegally today?" Romney said.
Obama sidestepped the question, listing changes to the immigration system he had made but not addressing why he failed to put a bill to Congress for comprehensive reform.
However, while many Latino voters are unhappy with the president about that, there is little evidence they have confidence in Romney and the Republican party to address immigration in a way that is sympathetic to undocumented migrants.
Romney's advert promises to unite families, provide work permits and find permanent solutions for undocumented youth living in the US. But he has offered only sketchy policy proposals and Obama noted that Romney's adviser on the issue was at the forefront of drawing up Arizona's controversial law permitting the police to challenge people over their immigration status.
In a second Spanish-language advert released on Wednesday, Romney attacks Obama with allegations he has made more than $700m in cuts to Medicare – a theme the Republicans have repeatedly pressed during the campaign despite fact checkers saying the charge is false.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © Gage Skidmore