This week, President Barack Obama telegraphed two vulnerabilities his reelection campaign could not have predicted at the outset of the campaign: the state of Wisconsin and Hispanic voters.
On Monday, Obama gave interviews to eight local stations, and six of those stations were in key swing states such as Virginia while another, given to a Fresno station, was in an area with a large Hispanic population. Among those six local affiliates was a Green Bay, Wisconsin television station. Of course, in 2008, Obama won Wisconsin by 14 points, but his campaign, in light of Scott Walker’s decisive recall victory, is now treating Wisconsin like a swing state.
On the same day, the Super PAC affiliated with Obama, Priorities USA, and the SEIU bought $4 million worth of Spanish-language ads in the key swing states of Florida, Nevada, and Colorado in what is one of the largest independent Spanish-language buys in history. In 2008, 67 percent of Hispanics voted for Obama, but many have grown disillusioned with a president who has not lived up to his promises improve the economy.
In his interview with the Green Bay affiliate, Obama was asked why he did not campaign for Tom Barrett, Walker’s opponent.
“The truth of the matter is that as President of the United State, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities,” Obama said. “Obviously, I would have loved to have seen a different result.”
When asked if the Wisconsin recall election had broader implications going beyond Wisconsin, Obama said, “I don’t think so.”
“My suspicion is all across this country, governors who are dealing with tough budgets have to make tough decisions,” Obama said. “But one of the lessons learned is that it is better to make them with people as opposed to against people.”
But Obama’s actions — and lack thereof — speak louder than his words. Obama’s interview with a Green Bay station at this point in the campaign — and not showing up in the weeks leading up to the recall election — say that the recall election in Wisconsin highlighted how vulnerable Obama is on fiscal issues.
These are the same issues that makes him vulnerable among Hispanic voters. Outside groups making such a large Spanish-language television buy this early in the election season to target a group that is already in Obama’s column reveals how vulnerable Obama is among Hispanic in November.