Mitt's unwitting campaigner in Florida: Hugo Chávez

Yes, the Romney campaign has enlisted the help of Venezuela's leftist president in the pivotal swing state of Florida. Hugo Chávez figures prominently in a 30-second Spanish-language television ad being run by the Romney campaign. It starts with a narrator asking: "Who supports Barack Obama?"  

Next comes the answer: a television clip of Venezuela's anti-American president. "If I were American, I'd vote for Obama," he says.  

Later in the ad, Chávez says: "If Obama were from Barlovento, he'd vote for Chávez." (Barlovento is a Venezuelan town whose population is overwhelmingly black.)  

Chávez, who has made anti-Americanism a cornerstone of his foreign policy, endorsed Obama last September in an interview on Venezuelan television.  

In the same ad, the narrator points out that Fidel Castro's daughter Mariela Castro also supports Obama. "I would vote for President Obama," she says.  

Finally, the narrator points out that the "Environmental Protection Agency sent out e-mails for Hispanic Heritage month with a photo of Che Guevara." It's all true, of course, and the Obama campaign is furious, and an article in the Miami Herald - a paper that just endorsed Obama - called it an example of unseemly negative campaigning.

But it's sure to energize Cuban-Americans to get to the polls. They comprise a third of Florida's Hispanics, vote overwhelmingly Republican, and they're no fans of Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, nor Che Guevara. The ads comes as a new poll, whose results were published on Saturday by the Miami Herald, gives Romney a 51 to 45 percent lead over Obama.  

Citing a survey from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, the Herald said Governor Romney's strengths include "independent voters and more crossover support from Democrats relative to the Republicans who back Obama."Other polls, to be sure, are predicting a tighter race, the Herald noted - a fact that must be a relief to the Herald's editorial board and the paper's left-leaning reporters and columnists.  

Oh, and don't forget to take a look at that television ad in which Hugo Chávez has been transformed into a Republican campaign stooge. Even if you don't understand Spanish, you'll catch the drift of things - and smile.