Latinos for Reform Head Robert de Posada Defends Controversial ‘Don’t Vote’ Ad

Oct 21, 2010 11:33am

ABC News' Huma Khan reports: The brains behind the controversial ad that urges Hispanics not to vote isn't backing down, despite backlash from the Latino community and a repudiation from Republican candidates.

Robert de Posada, head of Latinos for Reform, a conservative independent expenditure that sponsored the ad, said he’s not planning to buy any more airtime. But he'll continue to push the ad on the Internet. The "Don’t Vote" ad was pulled by Univision after it aired five times on radio in Nevada.

"We basically have no options" if Univision, the largest Spanish-language media company in the U.S., decides not to air it, de Posada told ABC News, adding that he plans to file an FEC complaint against the network.

The ad specifically targets Democrats and calls on Hispanics to stay away from the polls because of lack of action from the leadership on immigration. Neither the English nor Spanish-language ad features any Republican leader. De Posada insists he’s going after all lawmakers and claims there was a second version of the ad that showed Sen. John McCain, Sen. Jim DeMint and former Rep. Tom Tancredo, but it wasn’t finished before Univision decided to pull his ads altogether.

Hispanic leaders both nationally and in Nevada denounced the ad as the “height of cynicism” and as an "ugly" example of "overt voter suppression,” a charge that de Posada denies.

"We’re saying to people, you need to look at the record of the candidates and understand that in a civic engagement situation, you have the options of not necessarily voting. You should not be told you have no option but to support the lesser of two evils,” he said. “We need to start making people accountable for their efforts and at the same time, we cannot reward this irresponsible behavior, and a perfect example is Harry Reid.”

De Posada, a conservative, launched a similar ad in 2008 attacking President Obama’s record on Hispanic issues. In that election cycle, Latinos for Reform spent $54,300 – the bulk of its expenditure — on media efforts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

De Posada was the Republican National Committee's director of Hispanic affairs and worked for the Bush administration and a group founded by Tea Party leader Dick Armey.

Senate GOP candidate Sharron Angle’s campaign denounced the ad Wednesday, which Democrats say came too late.

"No ad should ever discourage voters from voting or expressing their opinions at the ballot box," Angle's spokesman Jarrod Agen said in a statement to ABC News.

The Hispanic vote is crucial to Reid, embroiled in a neck and neck race against Angle. Read more HERE


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