At the 100 day marker of President Barack Obama's time in office there were many articles going over what he's done, has not done, wants to do, will do, etc. The most important untold story is the way Barack Obama has continued to revolutionize the way in which he communicates with the public - namely, a concerted and unprecedented Hispanic outreach strategy. Long ago, NDN began arguing the importance of the Hispanic electorate and the importance of speaking in Spanish for candidates and public officials.
Years later, candidate Barack Obama came along with record-breaking levels of outreach to Hispanics and the first television ad in a U.S. general Presidential election in which the candidate speaks entirely en español.
Now, at the White House, President Obama has continued this full fledged effort to communicate with Hispanics - in English and Spanish - at a level of sophistication never seen before. Spanish language media has caught on, with major outlets likeLa Opinión,CNN en Español,and EFE highlighting this unprecedented effort. Notably, "mainstream" media has not reported on Obama's efforts to reach every corner of the fastest growing electorate - often in their own language.
Most recently, on Friday May 8 the White House held its first ever Spanish-language town hall with Latino activists, community leaders, and health care providers from all over the country. A feat that Univision (who coordinated the event with the White House) described as "an unprecedented and an historic effort to establish a dialogue with the Hispanic community, the largest minority group in the country." Click here for the entire video and transcript of the town hall.
Just a few days before the town hall, President Obama continued the practice of celebrating Cinco de Mayo - a date of historical importance for Mexico. President Obama has also demonstrated a commitment to the "shared challenges" between the U.S. and Mexico and to establishing a new dialogue with the Latin American region through a concerted diplomatic mission. During March and April this mission took the U.S. Vice President to Chile and Central America, the U.S. Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney General, and the President himself to Mexico and to the Summit of the Americas.
Prior to his travels, the President announced a historic shift in U.S. policy towards Cuba. The change in policy was matched by its equally historic presentation, with a briefing in Spanishby Dan Restrepo. When Mr. Restrepo, Senior Adviser to the President on Latin America, addressed the Spanish-language media in their native tongue, he became the first person to speak a language other than English during a White House briefing:
Hispanic voters also love Spanish-language entertainers - President Obama had a guest appearance that rocked the Premios Lo Nuestro award ceremony:
These targeted efforts complement an unprecedented general practice of bi-lingual press and communications by the White House. President Obama has also held two major interviews with the most popular radio host in the country (who happens to be a Spanish-language radio host), "El Piolin," in addition to already having held four full-length interviews with the two principal Univision News anchors, Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas (two interviews with each). These examples clearly highlight the way in which President Obama "gets" that most Hispanics (80% by most polls) speak Spanish and listen to Spanish language media, even if they are English-language dominant. We congratulate the President on his continued efforts to building a new bridge of understanding between the White House and the vast Hispanic community.