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The Obama camp blamed Mr. McCain for introducing the negative Spanish ads.

“We’re responding hard with the truth. They’re going to resort to lies and distortions,” said Federico de Jesus, a spokesman for the campaign who said the negative ads show Mr. McCain “has a Hispanic problem” among voters.

Polls of Hispanic voters show Mr. Obama leading Mr. McCain by as much as 30 percentage points.

The voters themselves are left to sort out the charges and countercharges, but Spanish-speaking voters are hindered by the dearth of news voices available to them.

Federico Subervi, professor at Texas State University and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Media & Markets, said unless a Spanish-speaking voter lives in Miami, New York, Los Angeles or a handful of other major cities, it’s unlilkely they can get a Spanish-language newspaper delivered. And he said Spanish radio is devoid of most political talk outside of a few major markets, such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago.

“But leave those cities, and unless you live in california and have access to Radio Bilingue … you don’t get political news on a regular basis,” he said.

That leaves the national Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision as the main sources for political news - and gives Spanish-language ads enormous power to control the debate.

Both campaigns have been accessible to Spanish-language press, with Univision’s Sunday political talk show Al Punto airing yet another McCain interview last weekend. The topics were Mr. McCain’s attacks on Mr. Obama, military action in Venezuela - the candidate ruled that out, saying, “I don’t think it’s necessary” - and immigration and Hispanic outreach.

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