Hillary Clinton

Clinton ad with former Bush Cabinet member targets Florida Hispanics

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez speaks at a monetary policy forum in China in March 2015.
Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez speaks at a monetary policy forum in China in March 2015. Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS

A Cuban-American Republican who served as former President George W. Bush’s commerce secretary stars in a new political TV ad — for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Carlos Gutierrez says he is “an American first” in the Spanish-language spot, which began airing in Florida on Wednesday. It’s titled “País Primero” — Country First.

“Vote for Trump? I can’t,” the Cuban-born Gutierrez says into the camera. “It’s dangerous, and we can’t go back. Hillary Clinton has the experience, and I trust her.”

Gutierrez has broken with the GOP in the past, most famously on Cuba policy. He’s a high-profile backer of President Barack Obama’s policy to renew diplomatic ties with the island, a position that has upset many of Gutierrez’s longtime hardline exile friends in Miami.

After backing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for president in the Republican primary, Gutierrez endorsed Clinton last month. Another link to Democrats: The ex-secretary, who served in the Bush administration for four years, is now co-chairman of the Albright Stonebridge Group advisory firm with Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state under President Bill Clinton.

For Clinton, the ad is part of a larger campaign appealing to Hispanics. Some Democrats have quietly worried that Clinton hasn’t done enough to persuade Latinos to go vote on Election Day — that she’s taken them for granted simply because she’s running against Trump, who polls historically low among Hispanic voters. Recent Florida polls have shown a tightening presidential race in the nation’s largest swing state, where Latinos make up about 15 percent of the electorate.

The Clinton campaign began airing another Spanish-language ad Wednesday in Florida and Nevada. It had last been on TV in Spanish in June, during the highly rated Copa América soccer tournament final. That spot featured a Colombian-American woman from Miami.