Richardson: Debate slighted Hispanics with English-only policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Sep 12 14:27:09 UTC 2007

Richardson: Debate slighted Hispanics with English-only policy

The Associated Press
Monday, September 10, 2007

DENVER: Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson said Monday
that sponsors of the first ever U.S. presidential debate on a
Spanish-language network slighted them when they barred him from
speaking Spanish in what he called appeasement to the front-running
candidates. The New Mexico governor, who is Hispanic, said Hispanics
will be a major force in the upcoming presidential election,
especially in states with early primaries and caucuses such as Arizona
and California.

"Hispanics, I believe, are going to determine this election. I was
disappointed that Univision, the largest Hispanic network, practiced
English-only, instead of letting the one Hispanic candidate just say a
few words in Spanish," Richardson said. "I felt it was a gag that was
unfortunate because here you had the leading Hispanic network in the
country not allowing Spanish. It was a bow to the so-called
front-runners who didn't want us to show off our Spanish," he said at
a news conference to announce a Hispanic outreach program for his

During the Sunday debate in Coral Gables, Florida, anchors Jorge Ramos
and Maria Elena Salinas posed questions in Spanish and the candidates
had earpieces to hear simultaneous translations into English. The
candidates' responses were simultaneously translated into Spanish for
broadcast. Univision did not want to give Richardson an unfair
advantage, spokeswoman Brooke Morganstein said.

"We wanted to ensure a level playing field for all of the candidates," she said.


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