Sunday, September 09, 2007

La Prensa Editor: Univision Debate to Hillary, Edwards

The editor of an influential newspaper in western Iowa's Latino community tells us she thinks Hillary Clinton and John Edwards had the strongest perfomances in the Univision debate in Miami.

La Presna's Lorena Lopez, who says she is leaning toward an endorsement of Barack Obama, says Clinton appeared to command issues and seemed "calm" in her approach to the questions on issues of concern to the Latin community. In an interview with Iowa Independent tonight Lopez said she thinks Edwards may have made some inroads with his debate performance as well.

The western Iowa Spanish-language paper, La Prensa (The Press), is a family operation, the product of an ambitious mother-son team originally from Nicaragua but with deepening roots in Carroll.

Published twice a month, La Prensa, a free tabloid, is distributed at several locations in western Iowa including Carroll, Storm Lake, Denison, Spencer, Humboldt and Fort Dodge. Distribution stands at about 6,800.

In terms of specific issues, Lopez said she was disappointed with the candidates' answers to a question about why many in the U.S. support the erection of a wall with Mexico -- but not with Canada.

Here is The New York Times on the issue:

Mr. Obama did not address the distinction between Mexico and Canada, talking instead about his support for an immigration overhaul and border security. Mrs. Clinton said she supported “much more border patrolling and much more technology” on both borders, and a barrier “in certain areas.” Mr. Dodd echoed Mrs. Clinton, then focused on making trade and economic agreements that benefited Central American countries.

The blog VivirLatino noted the fence question as well.

You had to love watching Dodd, Clinton, and Obama dance around why they supported the border wall between Mexico and the US. They all cited security, but as made clear in the question, that answer doesn't fly for Latino voters after all none of the 9-11-01 attackers came in through Mexico.

Like Lopez, the Huffington Post had some high marks tonight for Clinton.

"Hilary has the best closing statement, more feeling and warmth and the most applause. And she got the last word!" writes HuffPost in a live blog of the event.

I watched the debate on Univision but had trouble picking up much of the dialogue because of the simultaneous Spanish translation of the English answers.

Richardson, the first serious Latino candidate for the Oval Office seemed to perform well in what was clearly a home game -- but the Univision format remarkably didn't allow the New Mexico governor the true homefield advantage: the rules forbid Spanish on the stage. (Only he and Dodd speak fluent Spanish in the Democratic field so that probably was necessary to even get the other candidates in the debate.)

A blogger named La bloguera has some witty observations on the translation issues as well as the debate in general.

In response to the fence question Richardson get off a great one-liner (one he uses here in Iowa) about the 12-foot border fence launching a great 13-foot ladder business.

The Univision debate -- which may have frustrated some Progressives who didn't pay attention in Spanish class -- provided some fodder to the political right on the language issue.

Michael Kraft who blogs for Charlotte Conservative News said the Univision debate is nothing more than an hour-long "commercial for amnesty." He does, however, promise to post a transcript of the debate.

This story is crossposted at Iowa

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