Kerry Eyes African Americans, Hispanics

The Kerry-Edwards campaign last week framed its new ad campaigns aimed at African Americans and Hispanics in historic terms.

The campaign called its $2 million African American push “an unprecedented commitment this early in a presidential campaign” and its $1 million Hispanic effort the largest Hispanic buy in the history of presidential politics. Kerry’s spending on African American and Hispanic ads earlier in the campaign was undisclosed.

Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said the decision to pour significant ad dollars toward the groups reflects a campaign that is “built on the foundation that building a stronger America means creating opportunity for all Americans. [Kerry] is running for president to make the American dream real for every family by ensuring that Americans have the opportunity to build a better life for their families.”

Each effort will include TV, radio and print ads that will run in the battleground states and in major cities. One 30-second spot features African Americans wondering if Kerry is “really any different.” Then an announcer says, “Find out how John Kerry will fight to bring back the 1.8 million jobs that have been lost under George W. Bush.”

In the commercial, called “Honor,” an announcer says Kerry “has defended working people” for more than 20 years. Kerry is also referred to as “a man of faith, a man of family, a man of honor and a man for our community.”

A pair of Washington political consultants—Shrum, Devine & Donilon and Squier, Knapp & Dunn, which worked on President Clinton’s campaigns—prepare ads for Kerry.

Bush reps referred to Kerry’s Hispanic effort as “Kerry come lately.” “We have spent $1.1 million in Hispanic media, and we started in March,” said Sharon Castillo. “We have done four TV ads and two radio spots, so Kerry is a little late.”

As for African American media, Castillo said, “We are in the process of announcing something soon, so stay tuned.”