Obama and his re-election campaign have appealed to Latinos in speeches and a barrage of TV and web ads by touting progress over the past three and a half years, placing blame for any disappointment at the feet of congressional Republicans and on difficult political and economic headwinds.
The White House noted that Obama signed into law payroll tax cuts that have benefited an estimated 25 million Latinos; approved $2.4 billion in small business loans to Latino-owned companies; signed a health care law that will expand health insurance coverage to 9 million currently uninsured Latinos in two years; and granted a temporary reprieve to some 800,000 illegal immigrant youth. They say 27 months of private sector job growth has spurred creation of millions of jobs.
Obama's Jobs Act would send millions in federal aid to state and local governments -- including many led by NALEO members -- to hire more teachers and first responders, and complete infrastructure projects that would put workers back on the job, including Hispanics.
"There are so many issues why voters in that community should and are going our way that go to fundamental economic issues," a senior Obama campaign official told reporters during a background briefing in Washington on Wednesday. "There's a lot at stake here and not much for them in Gov. Romney."
Still, Romney believes the economy gives him an edge with Hispanic swing voters and a chance to lure some away from Obama's coalition in several key swing states.
"President Obama will speak here, for the first time since his last campaign. He may admit that he hasn't kept every promise. And he'll probably say that even though you aren't better off today than you were four years ago, things could be worse," Romney said in an address to the NALEO conference on Thursday. "He'll imply that you really don't have an alternative. He's taking your vote for granted," Romney said. "I've come here today with a simple message: You do have an alternative. Your vote should be respected. And your voice is more important now than ever before."