President Barack Obama's re-election campaign Monday announced the endorsement of Cristina Saralegui, a prominent, Miami-based media figure who is making her first-ever presidential endorsement.
Often referred to as the "Hispanic Oprah," Saralegui actually made the announcement first, over the weekend. Obama's campaign distributed the news on Monday to capitalize on the endorsement, issuing a video in English and another in Spanish with a statement from Saralegui.
"President Obama, I was very fortunate to live the American dream and I know that only you will make it possible for millions more to do the same," Saralegui said. "You've had our back, and now, with utmost respect and admiration, I have yours."
The 64-year-old, Cuban-born Saralegui has won an Emmy for her 21-year-old talk show, "The Cristina Show." She is considered not only one of Florida's most powerful media figures but also somewhat a community leader among Hispanics.
The endorsement could be critical to determining whether Obama wins Florida against GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney this year. Both Obama and Romney are scheduled to speak this week at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando.
So far, Obama has a wide lead over Romney among Hispanics - a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 61 of Hispanic voters favored Obama compared to just 27 percent for Romney.
Obama for America Campaign Manager Jim Messina issued a statement Monday praising Saralegui.
"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.
Saralegui said she decided to make her first endorsement because the stakes are too high.
"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 statement.
She added, "President Obama is a principled man who has worked hard to put healthcare and a good education in the reach of millions of Americans and believes that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules should have a fair shot at the American dream."
by RTT Staff Writer
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