HEADLEE: I want to play the ad that John just talked about in the headline. This is the ad that is running on some channels in Nevada
[COMMERCIAL] “no votes, si, escuchastes… Don’t vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message. You can no longer take us for granted. Don’t vote”
HEADLEE: Joining us now is the man behind this ad; the ad that urges Latinos not to vote in the Nevada senate race. Good Morning to Robert De Posada
POSADA: Good Morning
HEADLEE: You are the president of Latinos for Reform. Was this ad campaign your idea?
POSADA: Yes. I mean a group of us got together you know, we’ve been working on the issue of immigration reform for quite a long time, and we were so tired with the fact that they keep on making promises to Latinos every two years and then they go to Congress and completely ignore Hispanics, particularly on the issue of immigration reform. We did an ad, but the funny thing is that you all are concentrating on just the last tag line of the ad. When you look at the content and the substance of the ad and when you look at the accompanying articles in our website, we’re not telling Latinos not to vote, we’re telling Latinos not to vote for the people who have promised you every two years to do something and then for the past two years have completely ignored the issue of immigration reform.
HEADLEE: Which I assume is referring to Harry Reid but the ad, the text of it does say over and over, don’t vote this November and ends with “don’t vote”
POSADA: In the last two lines, but the fact is when you look at the substance and when you look at the complete substance of the ad, what we’re talking about and what we specifically say about those candidates who have done nothing for two years; that’s the purpose. Let’s not forget, two years ago, Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership promised Latinos that within a year they were going to deliver on the immigration reform. The fact is they haven’t a thing. They haven’t moved one legislation to one sub-committee of congress and you cannot tell me that with a super majority they enjoyed in congress, they could not have done this. They did it for other issues like health care. They did it banking reform. They did it for the stimulus. Why was there such a low priority for these people?
HOCKENBERRY: I got you, but if that raises the question then why wouldn’t you run the ad in Arizona? You’ve chosen only to run it in Nevada which is a puzzlement.
POSADA: That’s where you’re wrong. We started with an ad campaign in Nevada.
HOCKENBERRY: Are you moving to Arizona?
POSADA: And we’re going to continue in California. We’re doing California, we’re doing Florida.
HOCKENBERRY: Alright, but Telemundo and Univision aren’t running the ad in Nevada. They’re probably going to continue that policy in Arizona and California.
POSADA: Right, I mean, that’s why we’re reassessing our strategy, but the ad was never intended just for Nevada. The ad was intended for a variety of states including Florida, I might add.
HEADLEE: Well, but Robert de Posada, you are the former director of Hispanic affairs for the RNC, the Republican National Committee, granted it was twenty years ago but you’ve long been on the conservative tally of the political columns. Let me read you President Obama’s response to the ad campaign. He said “I think it’s terrible. It is a cynical political ploy to try to drive Latino votes to benefit a Republican candidate in Nevada who would never vote for immigration reform.” What’s your response to that?
POSADA: Well I’ll tell you what’s cynical. Cynical is going to twelve million vulnerable individuals telling them that within a year I’m going to deliver for you and then not move a finger to do it other than doubling the number of deportations in this country. So for me, to have the president say that; let’s not forget President Bush a few years ago assigned two of his top cabinet levels, the homeland security and the commerce secretary to go to the hill and to work on legislation and immigration reform.
HEADLEE: But he didn’t get it passed.
POSADA: But that’s no the point he at least tried. With the Democratic president and the Democratic majority in the senate, in the house, they should have been able to at least, at the very least submit a bill and bring it to a vote and put people on the record. I’m not defending republicans here, republicans have behaved incredibly irresponsible on the issue of immigration reform and that’s why we’re not saying vote for one person or the other because that’s the problem that both candidates have betrayed us.
HOCKENBERRY: Alright, but Robert de Posada what do you say to the challenge that this is really the problem with the citizens united case that big money people can come in, throw a line like “don’t vote” around and change the debate? There’s no candidate that’s saying don’t vote there’s no Hispanic sort of organization that is a grass roots movement saying “don’t vote”. You’re just saying it. You wrote a check, you run an ad, now we have to respond.
POSADA: Well, I mean honestly that’s one of a — you’re talking about a group of Hispanic businesses around the country. Nobody has put more than five thousand dollars on an effort and we have to report and disclose like any other organization would have to do. So I mean it’s clearly just expressing our concern and our voices to be heard. I’m totally shocked because I have been affiliated with Univision. I’ve been their political consultant, you know political commentator on the air for the past sixteen years and for them to actually reject it after they had approved the script, approved the ad and ran some of it.
HEADLEE: But I would imagine Robert De Posada that part of their reasoning and again I’m assuming, is that one of the easiest ways to make sure that you’re taken for granted on the political scene is not to vote.
POSADA: If you specifically send a message, we’re talking about civil engagement, you have an option, if you don’t like the alternative, not to vote for that specific race. When you look at everything we have written on this issue, we’re urging people to go for governor or for school boards and for state reps and all the other candidacies. But for those candidates that have betrayed us, I think we deserve a right. It’s as simple as saying, you know, you can’t take us for granted. You can’t expect us to say that we have no other choice and no alternative but to vote for you because the other guy is so bad. I think that’s just the wrong message and we cannot allow that to continue.
HEADLEE: Robert De Posada, president of Latinos for Reform, he is behind the ad that is running in November. Latinos for Reform is encouraging Latinos not to vote in the Nevada senate race in which senate majority leader Harry Reid is running against Sharon Angle.
HOCKENBERRY: And counting on Hispanic votes.
HEADLEE: Specifically courting Hispanic votes in order to get a win there. It has been pulled from Univision and Telemundo. Tell us what you think about this. What’s your opinion? 877-8-my-take or thetakeaway.org. What’s your view? Don’t vote as a show of political strength.