Univision/ABC News hosts presidential town hall interviews
Earlier this week the Spanish-speaking television channel Univision partnered with ABC News to host a series of interviews with both presidential candidates. “Gran Encuentro” moderators Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas interviewed GOP candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday and President Obama on Thursday. Although the crux of the questions centered around policies most concerning to the Latino population, the hosts did not deter from “grilling” the candidates on other prominent subjects.
Romney was first asked about his controversial video, released earlier in the week, by Mother Jones Magazine. In the video, the candidate made disparaging remarks on the 47% of Americans who receive some form of government assistance. He grouped these Americans as “victims.” In my previous blog “Mother Jones Magazine releases Romney video exposing political pandering,” I denote the fact that these Americans are only “victims” of our failed political system. Political factions that are more concerned with arguing with each other as opposed to solving our social and financial problems. Maybe if our issues were not only addressed but solved, Americans wouldn’t have to depend on government assistance. Romney responded to the question by saying he will work hard for “100% of Americans.”
When asked what he’d do with the issue of illegal immigration Romney reiterated he wouldn’t pursue policies of government-mandated deportation. Romney has advocated for self-deportation policies. He states that as president he’d pass legislation in which businesses would be held accountable for employing illegal immigrants. Each worker would be given a card verifying their legal eligibility for hire. In addition, he would endorse “paths to citizenship” through enrollment in the U.S. Military or National Guard. He opposes the “Dream Act” which in essence would provide government assistance for college-seeking illegal immigrants.
Furthermore, Romney was asked what he’d do if his grandson revealed to him that he was gay. The governor responded that he’d still love him and believe that he should be able to have a family with his partner. He indicated that marriage is between a man and woman. As I argue in my blog post “Solution to the gay marriage debate,” the best solution is for gay couples to garner equal rights, but institute a different legal name for the union. It’s unconstitutional to deny American citizens rights because of their sexual preferences.
President Obama was also asked about illegal immigration. Then Senator Obama promised to pass legislation on compassionately resolving the problem in his first year of office. President Obama retorted that resistance from the GOP has hindered his ability to pass substantive legislation on the issue. What he fails to mention is that he maintained control of all three factions of government in the first two years of his presidency. So in fact, he could have passed any legislation he so desired. At some point you have to take ownership for your failed promises. Granted I will not blame the entire economic situation on the president. There is however no doubt he is partly to blame for the country’s inability to improve in so many important categories (unemployment rate, escalating debt, etc.). I’m tired of the “blame game” from both sides. Get the job done already.
Another prominent issue asked by the moderators was on the recent deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. On Sunday, Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, visited numerous morning talk shows to defend the administration and share the current assessment of the consulate attack. Jake Tapper, ABC news correspondent, asked Rice why the U.S. is “impotent” in calming anti-American sentiments in the Middle East. President Obama had assured the American people his election would begin the “healing” of our image in the Middle East. Rice became indignant that the administration is not “impotent.”
She further maintained the attacks were not pre-meditated, but more a result of protests stemming from the YouTube release of the controversial movie “Innocence of Muslims.” The Libyan government fervently maintained that the attack were an act of terror from Al-Qaeda. Yesterday, the U.S. Foreign Council Committee finally admitted to the fact that the attack on our Libyan consulate on September 11th was an act of terrorism. It’s unfortunate and sad when Libyan intelligence is more accurate than our own. Sad when they are more transparent to their people. The truth is the administration is hesitant to admit that America was in fact attacked by Al-Qaeda. It would be an admission to a weak military leadership. Furthermore, the administration has no answer to why security wasn’t increased on the anniversary of September 11th; especially in a country who had recently toppled its old regime and thus became unstable and unpredictable.
It’s refreshing that some journalists are keeping our politicians accountable for their actions and promises. In an ever-growing partisan, political system, this effervescent journalism might translate to actual progression as opposed to political malnutrition.
I remain ever optimistic that the American people will enact real change we can believe in.
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate