Election 2012: Can Barack Obama Run On His Record With Latino Voters?

Is our country headed in the right direction?  That’s the question millions of voters are asking themselves. The answer will mean re-election--four more years--for Barack Obama or becoming a “one term” President if his still-to-be-named Republican challenger wins. We decided to take a look at the President’s major achievements and failures, so Latinas can make the best decision when they go to the polls in November.

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When Mr. Obama ran against Arizona Senator John McCain, he was perceived as not having the foreign policy credentials the “President of the Free World” needs. Yet for having such little experience, Mr. Obama has scored some of the biggest points of his presidency on the world stage, including killing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan; withdrawing combat troops from Iraq in December of 2011, and fulfilling a campaign promise to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” with openly homosexual military members now able to serve in the armed forces.

Still, critics note that the President broke one of his campaign promises--to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, where detainees believed to have links to terrorism are being held, many for years, without being formally charged. Critics also note that despite Mr. Obama’s big scores with the assassination of Osama Bin Laden and the Iraq troop withdrawals, the world is a dangerous place: extremists in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan are threatening the political stability of these nations, the Syrian government continues killing civilians in its attempt to snuff out rebellion, and the drug cartel violence in Mexico is escalating and spreading.

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On the domestic front, the President’s biggest success is in education. His “Race to the Top” initiative has convinced states to adopt many reforms with relatively little federal money, while giving states “No Child Left Behind” waivers and the flexibility to set and meet their own achievement standards.

Here’s where Mr. Obama’s overall grades total average, meaning that some give him an “A” while others an “F.”  Although he signed health care and financial regulation reform into law, do these laws go far enough?  50 million Americans are still uninsured and many say financial reform hasn’t put a stop to the most dangerous banking practices that touched off the global financial crisis such as not requiring banks to have a large enough “cushion” or deposits.  Critics vow to repeal health care reform because they insist government is trampling on personal rights as seen by the recent controversy  over religious institutions like hospitals and universities being required to offer women contraception as part of their insurance coverage.

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President Obama broke his promise made as a candidate to overhaul the immigration system, while drastically increasing the number of deportations.  After Latinos turned up the heat, the Administration tweaked its removal policies to focus on violent criminals and repeat offenders, as well as the time needed outside the country while an illegal immigrant with a citizen spouse or child applies and receives her green card.

The economy is showing signs that it’s picking up steam with the national unemployment rate dropping to 8.3% and that among Latinos to 10.5%.  But critics note this level is still high and blame the President for having focused his attention at the beginning of his presidency on passing health care reform instead of fixing the economy.

What grade do you give President Obama’s record?