(CNN) – John McCain is airing a new ad - in which he calls Hispanic Americans “God’s Children” - in his latest bid to win over that key voting bloc.
The spot comes amid a major push on that front by the presumptive Republican nominee, including private meetings with community leaders, Spanish-language radio ads, the launch of regular campaign conference calls with Hispanic pastors, and speeches at high-profile gatherings like this week’s address at the League of Latin American Citizens and next Monday’s speech at National Council La Raza - two of the trifecta of major Latino conferences McCain will make an appearance at this cycle.
The new ad – which will air in Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, all neighbors of McCain’s home state of Arizona which are all heavily-contested states this cycle – features comments from a summer 2007 debate in which the senator praises the service of Hispanic veterans.
“My friends, I want you the next time you're down in Washington, D.C., to go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the names engraved in black granite. You'll find a whole lot of Hispanic names,” McCain said in remarks included in the 30-second spot.
He praised the service of members of the military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, including “some of the few thousand that are still green card holders who are not even citizens of this country, who love this country so much that they're willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship and enjoy the bountiful, blessed nation.”
“So let's from time to time remember that these are God's children. They must come to our country legally, but they have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them,” he concluded.
McCain faced tough criticism from many conservatives early in the campaign for his support of comprehensive immigration legislation, and had shifted on the trail to an enforcement-first message that resonated with GOP primary voters, who listed immigration as among their top concerns.
The campaign has released both English and Spanish-language versions of the ad.