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Bill Richardson Pissed That Spanish Debate Was In English

Posted by Casey on September 10, 2007

I wish I were kidding, but I’m not.


“And I do want to say at this point that I was under the impression that in this debate Spanish was going to be permitted because I’ve always supported Univision all my career, but I’m disappointed today that 43 million Latinos in this country, for them not to hear one of their own speak Spanish — (applause) — is unfortunate,” Richardson said. “In other words, Univision has promoted English only in this debate.”

He then began speaking in Spanish, only to get cut off by the moderators. “The rules that the seven candidates have accepted for this debate is that everyone is going to communicate in English,” one responded, “and everything would be translated into Spanish. Thank you very much.”

The rebuke didn’t stop the governor and only Latino candidate from speaking in Spanish. In the press room after the debate, both Richardson and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the only other fluent Spanish speaker of the seven candidates, both answered question after question in Spanish.

While picking this fight on camera allowed Richardson to speak more about his heritage, Univision had informed the candidates months before the debate answers would be in English and reminded them repeatedly before the debate, when Dodd and Richardson both started speaking in Spanish while testing their microphones. If Richardson had gotten his wish to speak Spanish, it’s unlikely Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would have showed up to the debate in the first place, defeating the purpose for Richardson.



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