Obama says Republicans are driving Latino votes his way

WASHINGTON Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:56am EST

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the end of the G20 Summit in Cannes November 4, 2011.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the end of the G20 Summit in Cannes November 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama believes harsh immigration stances of Republicans will drive Latino votes toward him in next year's election.

Speaking with Hispanic reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Democrat Obama said simply replaying the remarks about immigration made by the Republican presidential candidates would help him secure the backing of Latino voters.

"We may just run clips of the Republican debates verbatim," he told the reporters, according to a report from Spanish language broadcaster Univision.

"We won't even comment on them, we'll just run those in a loop on Univision and Telemundo, and people can make up their own minds," he said. Telemundo is another popular Spanish language broadcaster.

Obama's 2008 White House victory was helped by heavy Latino support, but some in the Hispanic community have since become disillusioned over the president's failure to deliver on campaign promises on immigration reform.

However, hard-line positions taken by Republicans on illegal immigration and border control may help Obama win them back in vital swing states with high Hispanic populations like Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico that he hopes to hold in 2012.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann says she would build a fence on the border and enforce English as the official language of the U.S. government. Mitt Romney and Herman Cain, currently front-runners to win the Republican nomination to face Obama next year, also favor building a fence.

Texas Governor Rick Perry does not favor a fence, but has talked instead about using predator drones to police the 1,300 mile border.

"That's not to say the Latino community is going to think my administration is perfect. But I think they know where my heart is and they know the kind of America that I want to see for all of our children," Obama told the reporters.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

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