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December 10, 2007
GOP Univision Debate A Yawner
Hillary Clinton was never mentioned. And as Ed Morrissey points out, the GOP debate on the Spanish channel Univision (candidate answers were translated into Spanish), was pretty much of a passionless affair:
How dull was this debate? A look at the transcript reveals that not one candidate even bothered to mention the name "Hillary Clinton" during its entirety. Barack Obama did get a mention, criticized for his suggestion that he would meet with Fidel Castro and/or his brother Raul without preconditions. The candidates were forced to tone down some of their rhetoric on illegal immigration but it was a balancing act that most of them sought to play; not offending their audience while assuring the GOP base that they would enforce immigration laws:
Even the few generic references to Democrats didn't hold all that much passion. The Republicans came into the Univision debate with one mission: promote the GOP. The transcript doesn't reveal much in the way of campaigning as individuals, but instead a seven-man effort to convince Hispanic voters to go with the Republicans.
Did it work? Possibly some voters might have been convinced, but only if they already had an inclination towards tough immigration policy and away from socialized medicine. The policies didn't change, and even John McCain talked about the necessity of securing the border before any kind of normalization. However, they did make the effort, even if one needed No-Doze to get through it.
Most of the seven candidates took a softer tone on Sunday, even as many spoke of working to eradicate illegal immigration. Some spoke of trying to send some of the 12 million people who are estimated to be in the United States illegally back to their native countries. The real show will come this Wednesday as the last debate before the Iowa Caucuses takes place in Des Moines. It is expected that the fireworks will start early and continue throughout as Mike Huckabee, who has been surging in the polls, comes under attack for a variety of statements he made and actions he took as governor of Arkansas.
They sandwiched their remarks between gauzy paeans to legal immigration and the values of immigrants. The debate, less than a month before the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire cast the first ballots, came as the battle to the Republican presidential nomination assumed greater intensity and uncertainty.
Candidates found themselves fending off attacks on their records, and a shifting field threatened to throw some campaign strategies into disarray.
Also expect Rudy Giuliani to come under attack for recent revelations about using city funds to chauffer his then mistress, now wife Judith Nathan around town and then trying to hide the expenses by placing them as line items in the budgets of obscure city services.