June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am
Cristina Saralegui, the Cuban American journalist and Spanish-language talk show host, endorsed President Obama on Monday, a development that is likely to curry favor with Hispanics in Florida– a key voting bloc.
This if the first time the popular Miami media figure, often referred to as “the Spanish Oprah,” endorsed a president or actively participated in a presidential campaign. Saralegui said she was moved to get involved because Obama “understands the Hispanic community and has supported it unconditionally.”
“I came to this country when I was 12 years old because my parents wanted to give me the opportunity to succeed. Since then I have sat back and watched many elections come and go, but it wasn’t until this election, and because of what I see in President Obama and know he’s accomplished, that I decided to get involved,” Saralegui said in a release.
Saralegui called the upcoming election a highly-important time for Latinos. “This is a critical time for our country and for the Hispanic community. Hispanics could very well decide the next election and I will do everything I can from now until November to ensure that President Obama is re-elected; there’s simply too much at stake,” she said.
Following the Cuban Revolution, Saralegui and her family fled to Miami. In 1987, she launched the Miami-based Spanish-language talk show, El Show de Cristina on Univisión. Last year, Telemundo hired Saralegui to head-up a weekly variety show, Pa’lante con Cristina
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said Obama for America is honored to have Saralegui’s support. In addition to a release, Obama’s re-election team put out a video in English and Spanish with a message from Saralegui to the Hispanic community. In her message, Saralegui made a timely request for Hispanics to ”make sure” they’re registered to vote.
Given Gov. Rick Scott’s purge of “non-citizen” voters and the resulting lawsuits, it’s not surprising she called on Hispanics to ensure they are on the rolls. County elections supervisors last month found that the list of potential noncitizen voters that Scott sent them– many of whom have turned out to be lawful citizens and voters – disproportionately hit minorities, especially Hispanics.
Saralegui’s endorsement also comes three days after Obama made the decision to allow as many as 800,000 young immigrants to apply for temporary legal status and work permits. Both Mitt Romney and Obama are set to address a Latino group in Orlando this week.
“‘Cristina is one of the most trusted names in the Hispanic community and we’re honored to have Cristina be a spokesperson for the campaign, speaking directly to Hispanic voters about the President’s accomplishments,” Messina said.