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Politics

Romney’s Fla. Ads Tie Obama To Chavez, Castro

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File photo of President Barack Obama meeting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2009. (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of President Barack Obama meeting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2009. (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Mitt Romney’s campaign is running a Spanish-language ad in Florida that claims Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro’s niece would support President Barack Obama.

The spot shows a clip of Chavez saying that if he were American, “I’d vote for Obama.” The Venezuelan leader did say that in September, when he also called Obama “a good guy.”

Obama’s campaign on Thursday said the move unduly rewards the Venezuelan leader. Venezuela has had tense relations with the U.S. government for years, even though the U.S. is a top buyer of its oil.

“Mitt Romney continues to play Hugo Chavez’s game, giving Chavez the attention he thrives on and that he doesn’t deserve,” said Dan Restrepo, a national security adviser to the Obama campaign. “Keeping America safe and advancing U.S. interests require the kind of leadership President Obama has provided, not Romney’s bluster.”

The ad, first reported by The Miami Herald, is airing on three Spanish-language TV stations in Miami. Romney’s campaign plans to spend about $213,000 on Spanish-language TV in Miami through election, according to a Democratic source that tracks media buys.

There’s a similar clip featuring Castro’s niece, Mariela, who has no official link to the Cuban government. She’s a noted advocate of gay rights and has praised Obama’s stand in support of same sex marriage.

The ad represents an effort to court Cuban Americans in Miami, many of whom have supported Republican presidential candidates in past elections. Romney campaigned Wednesday in Florida, stopping at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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