President Barack Obama is getting some Spanish-language help for his campaign in a new Nevada ad starring Cristina Saralegui, who's known as the "Hispanic Oprah." The commercial begins airing Friday on Spanish-language TV in the Reno and Las Vegas markets, the campaign said.
The Cuban-born television talk show host endorsed Obama for re-election in June.
In the ad, Saralegui makes the case for sticking with Obama and for rejecting his GOP challenger Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin. She says Obama inherited an economic mess when he took office in 2009 and is turning the country around.
"When President Obama took office, our economy was on the verge of disaster," Saralegui says, speaking into the camera.
The ad cuts to images showing a "business closed" and a home foreclosure sign as she speaks.
"The policies of the last Republican president were disastrous," she says. "Obama stopped the crisis and we are recovering."
The ad shows Obama hugging a worker on the factory floor of an automobile plant from an industry he helped save with federal support.
Saralegui says, "Romney and Ryan ask us to return to the policies that caused the crisis."
"Back to the future?" she asks. "No way. Forward with Obama," she finishes, giving a thumb's up.
Obama says in Spanish that he approved the message.
The ad is aimed at Nevada's growing and influential Latino community. Hispanics are 26 percent of the state's population. Latinos already favor Obama by three to one over Romney, according to recent polls. But the Democratic president needs a high turnout on Nov. 6 for what's expected to be a close race in Nevada.
The state has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12 percent. It's several points higher for Hispanics, who lost thousands of construction jobs.
The new ad coincides with a visit Friday to Las Vegas by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro for the Obama campaign. The rising Hispanic political star delivered the keynote speech at last week's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., a first for a Latino at the event where Obama was nominated.
Castro is expected to highlight Obama's programs to help homeowners refinance loans to stay in their houses. And he's expected to criticize Romney for not offering a plan to help people who own more on their homes than they're worth. Instead, Romney has said the market should be allowed to "hit bottom."
Obama critics, including the Romney campaign, have said the president didn't act quickly enough to deal with the housing crisis, which hit Nevada harder than any other state in the nation. As a result, tens of thousands of people have lost their homes and savings and ruined their credit ratings as well.