MIAMI — President Barack Obama is on track to name more Hispanics to top posts than any of his predecessors, drawing appointees from a wide range of the nation's Hispanic communities, including Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Colombians.
That won't necessarily give the president a free pass on issues such as immigration, but it may ease Hispanics' worries about whether he will continue reaching out to a group that was key to his winning the White House.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is by far Obama's most famous Hispanic appointee. In less than a year in office, the president has also tapped at least 48 other Hispanics to positions senior enough to require Senate confirmation. So far, 35 have been approved.
That compares with a total of 30 approved under Bill Clinton and 34 under George W. Bush during their first 20 months in office, according to U.S. Office of Personnel Management data.
The personnel office does not track appointments of judges or ambassadors. Early indicators suggest Obama is naming many Hispanics to those positions as well, though he has been slow to appoint judges in general.
"He's really captured our trajectory, and the vast, vast array of Latinos that make up our country, whether it's Mexicanos, Puertorriquenos or Dominicanos," said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the Cabinet's first Hispanic woman.