Obama, McCain aiming for Hispanic voters

On the campaign trail this week, both Obama and McCain have been targeting the Hispanic vote in a big way. Obama has been trailing with Hispanic voters since they seemed to favor Hillary Clinton during the primary. However, recent polls show that Obama still has a large lead over McCain with the Hispanic population.

Report from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – Presidential rivals John McCain and Barack Obama on Saturday vied for the support of Hispanics, beginning a four-month courtship of a pivotal voting constituency by vowing to revamp immigration policy.

“I come from a border state, my dear friends. I know these issues,” McCain told Hispanic elected officials. The Republican senator from Arizona said overhauling the country’s broken immigration system, not just securing its borders, “will be my top priority.”

Appearing later before the same audience, Obama accused McCain of walking away from comprehensive immigration reform. The Democratic senator from Illinois said: “We must assert our values and reconcile our principles as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. That is a priority I will pursue from my very first day.”

The two spoke separately to some 700 Hispanics attending the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference. It’s the first of three such appearances each is scheduled to make to Hispanic organizations in less than a month, underscoring the importance of the nation’s fastest-growing minority group.

Both McCain and Obama were warmly received at NALEO; the crowd gave each standing ovations and cheered loudly. When McCain spoke, the audience shouted down anti-war protesters who interrupted the Republican’s speech four times. The audience chanted Obama’s name when the Democrat entered later. As he took the stage, Obama said “Si, se puede!” — his “yes we can” campaign slogan in Spanish — and the crowd echoed him.

Earlier, McCain met separately and privately with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, while Obama stopped by Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit wounded war veterans. McCain also attended an evening fundraiser in Kentucky, where he criticized anew Obama’s withdrawal from the public financing system and said, “Senator Obama’s word cannot be trusted.”

Hispanics, however, were the primary focus as each makes an aggressive play for this up-for-grabs group that’s likely to carry important weight in battleground states of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and others with large numbers of Spanish-speaking voters.

A recent AP-Yahoo News poll showed that Obama lead McCain among Hispanics, 47 percent to 22 percent with 26 percent undecided.

Video report from the Associated Press on Obama:

Video report on McCain, also from the AP:

For the most part, McCain should do fairly well, however, I wouldn’t be spending all my time on the Hispanic voter block. They are overwhelmingly registered Democrats and will mostly break for Obama.