Monday, October 31, 2011

Republicans diss Hispanics...again

Now that Perry has pulled a "Romney" and flip-flopped on participating in GOP presidential debates, it looks like we're in for more of the clown show.

But Republican candidates are united in one thing...they won't participate in a debate on Univision.

There are almost 12 million potential Hispanic voters in the United States. And both parties say they are eager to court their votes. So one has to wonder why the Republican presidential contenders would miss the chance to debate before the largest possible audience of Spanish-language television viewers.

This month, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman Jr., Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich said they would not participate in a debate on Univision tentatively scheduled for Jan. 29, before Florida’s Republican primary. Instead, they are expected to debate in December on NBC’s Telemundo, which has less than a third of Univision’s typical evening audience.

You might wonder why these GOP candidates would want to miss out on the opportunity to reach out to so many Hispanic voters.

The candidates will be asked about immigration whatever Spanish-language network they are on. But on Univision they were to be questioned by Jorge Ramos, a Mexican-American anchor who has been harshly critical of policies to crack down on undocumented immigrants and openly supports a path to legalization. On Telemundo, they will face its less hard-charging host, Jose Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-American who is the brother of two powerful Florida Republicans, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart and former Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

Jorge Ramos has certainly never given President Obama a pass when it comes to asking hard questions, but the two of them have conversed several times both before and after the 2008 election. You might remember that the President did a town hall forum on education at Univision that was also hosted by Ramos.

Republicans, on the other hand, seem to only want rabid right-wing audiences that cheer things like electric fences on the Mexican border. I doubt that kind of talk would go over very well with Ramos or the Univision audience.

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