By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barack Obama's re-election campaign launched a series of Spanish-language ads and a new program to win over Latino voters on Wednesday in an effort to expand the Democratic president's growing advantage with Hispanics.
Obama is hoping to capitalize on polls showing strong support from women and Latinos, two constituency groups that could decide the November 6 election against likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The Chicago-based campaign's "Latinos for Obama" program is designed to increase voter registration among Hispanics and get them involved as volunteers and voters.
"It's no secret that Latinos will be (a) deciding factor in this election," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told a conference call with reporters.
"Elections are choices, and the choice between the two candidates couldn't be any clearer for the Latino community," he said, calling Romney's view on immigration reform - a key issue for Hispanics - the "most extreme" in modern history.
Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, has advocated self-deportation of illegal immigrants.
Despite his high approval ratings among Latinos, many in the Hispanic community are frustrated that Obama failed to enact his promise of immigration reform within his first term in office.
Obama said last week he would pursue immigration reform early in his second term if he wins re-election. He has blamed Republicans in Congress for his inability to keep his 2008 campaign promise.
Republicans argue that Obama's economic policies have hurt the Hispanic community.
The Spanish-language radio and television ads, which feature campaign volunteers talking about Obama's policies and their personal stories, are airing in Colorado, Nevada, and Florida, all of which are important battleground states with sizable Latino populations.
To see the ads on Obama's campaign website, click here: http://www.barackobama.com/press/release/spanish-language-ads-highlight-president-obamas-commitment-to-issues-import
Obama's official and campaign-related travel in the last several months has focused largely on states with big populations of Hispanic voters. Obama campaign officials stress that his policies on the economy and education are also more favorable to Latinos than those policies put forward by Romney.
Even fellow Republicans have mocked Romney for his support of self-deportation of illegal immigrants.
Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives who is still challenging Romney despite having little chance of success, has called Romney's plan a "fantasy."
(Editing by Eric Beech)
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