Tag: presidential debate

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Commentary: Between Obama and Romney, Choice Should Be Crystal Clear to Immigrants

Columnist Erwin de Leon has no doubt about who immigrants should vote for after watching the second presidential debate.

Immigration News

Obama, McCain and Joe The Plumber: Attack and Defense In The Last Presidential Debate

Barack Obama, John McCain – and Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher – took center stage at Hofstra University on Long Island last night, making the final presidential debate in this campaign the best of the general election season. Finally, the much-anticipated “YouTube moments” arrived, and both campaigns can claim to have scored points. Whether voters make up their minds based on debate scorecards is another matter.

McCain came out on the offense early, and as boxing-minded commentators will probably say, he landed a few jabs.

The Republican’s change of attitude was clear from the start. He purposely looked at his rival across the table and addressed him directly through the night. Among his early good moments was his much-awaited chance to differentiate himself from President George W. Bush. After Obama resorted to his usual “history lesson” and mentioned the current administration had greatly increased the national deficit, McCain quickly retorted, “If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago. I’m going to give a new direction to this economy and this country.”

Obama seemed a bit taken aback by McCain’s aggressive start, but sticking to his usual lines and playing a conservative defense game, he seemed to avoid committing any serious mistakes.

Then came Joe — a name that will probably stay in our Google and YouTube searches for a while. By one count, he got at least thirteen mentions in the first part of the debate. Soon enough, a Twitter user named PlumberJoe had been created. [Here’s a video of Joe with Obama and on the phone with Fox News.]

McCain brought up Joe, an Ohio plumber that had met Obama a few days ago.

Barack Obama answering a question from Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher
in Holland, Ohio last Sunday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong.)

According to McCain, Joe -no relation to Joe Sixpack- would fall into a higher tax bracket under his rival’s proposals. The Republican promised to keep the plumber’s taxes low and provide him with affordable health care for him and his employees. McCain also said Obama would take Joe’s money to “spread the wealth around,” which he deemed “class warfare.”

Those early attacks seem to fluster the usually-cool Democratic candidate, but he came back at McCain on the “Joe” situation later on. After McCain repeated his standard line about the Democrat’s plan to fine companies which don’t provide health coverage to their employees, Obama looked at the camera and told Joe: “Here’s your fine: zero,” going on to explain that his plan exempts small businesses.

McCain looked stunned for a few seconds after that, and responded “Hey Joe, you’re rich, congratulations.” (more…)

Immigration News

Does McCain Still Have A Chance? FI2W's Aswini Anburajan Analyzes the Campaign on New York Public Radio

Fi2Ws Aswini Anburajan on The Brian Lehrer Show at Hofstra University

Aswini Anburajan on The Brian Lehrer Show at Hofstra University. (Photo: WNYC)

Feet in 2 Worlds journalist Aswini Anburajan joined WNYC‘s Brian Lehrer this morning to talk about John McCain’s waning prospects in the presidential election, the role of race in the campaign and other election-related issues. Here’s an excerpt of her analysis of tonight’s debate.

It’s on John McCain: what does he have to offer to the American public in terms of real, tangible solutions. It doesn’t matter anymore if someone knew a radical in the ’60s, when they were in Chicago, because this is about the fact that Citibank is pulling out of every university in this country; you cannot get students loans, it’s much harder. It’s about the fact that there are foreclosures. It’s about the fact that my parents, too, lost twenty to thirty percent on their 401k.

There are real economic hardships happening and I think that John McCain has a great opportunity tonight, because no one really thinks that Barack Obama has explained the situation that well.

The Brian Lehrer Show was broadcast live from Hofstra University on Long Island, N.Y., site of tonight’s third and final presidential debate.

To hear the first hour of the program, featuring Aswini Anburajan, Lawrence Levy, executive director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra, and Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone political correspondent, click here.

To see more photos from Hofstra on the WNYC Flickr photostream, click here.

Immigration News

Nada Hispano: Spanish-Language Press Unhappy in Reaction to Debates

Hoy (New York) reacts to the second presidential debate.

Hoy (New York) reacts to the 2nd presidential debate.

“Nothing Hispanic. Debate ignores the border, relations with Latin America and immigration.”

That was the text on the cover of Hoy newspaper in New York after the second presidential debate this week. No references to immigration, no mentions of Latin America.

“At the end of the presidential debate … the concern of Hispanic analysts was quick to come. They do not understand why our community was not taken into account,” Spanish wire service Agencia EFE said under the headline “Indebted to Latinos.”

Mexican analyst Lorenzo Meyer told EFE,

The worrisome part is that they did not touch upon one single Hispanic issue.

“There was a big issue which was forgotten: immigration,” wrote Carolina Sotola of HoyInternet.com. She reported,

“It’s true that the economy is a topic that worries all of us no matter whether we are Hispanic or not,” said Paco Fabian, spokesman for pro-immigration group America’s Voice.

“But not even mentioning the issue of immigration reform seemed a mistake to me,” Fabian added, mentioning the very important role Latino voters will have in the Nov. 4 elections -especially in key states like Colorado, New Mexico, Florida and Nevada.

Sotola also quoted Christine Sierra, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico, saying she was “disappointed by the questions. They were all of the same kind, a little boring and focused on the economy.”

El Diario/La Prensa, the other Spanish-language daily in New York — both belong to the Impremedia conglomerate — ran an editorial Thursday criticizing John McCain’s performance in the debate. The paper said he failed to recover from “his out-of-touch response to the nation’s economic crisis.”

(more…)

Immigration News

Who Lost the Second Presidential Debate?

Answer: Immigrants and anyone interested in fixing the nation’s immigration system.

It’s now clear that immigration has replaced Social Security as the “third rail of American politics.” Touch it and you’re dead. The words “immigration” and “immigrants” were never mentioned in Tuesday night’s debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The candidates and their campaigns are maintaining a perfect record of not addressing this subject during the debates. But, as we have reported elsewhere, both campaigns have been running Spanish-language TV ads aimed at Latino voters that criticize and distort each other’s record on immigration reform.

While the candidates’ silence on this subject was notable, what was truly striking was that none of the questions posed by voters and moderator Tom Brokaw dealt with immigration. NBC’s Brokaw began the town hall-style debate by saying that “tens of thousands” of questions had been submitted by people across the country. It’s hard to believe that none of those questions dealt with the candidates’ proposals for dealing with the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in the US. It’s only a guess, but Brokaw and the team who culled the submitted queries, must have thought that immigration isn’t important enough for even one debate question.

So Obama and McCain got off the hook, and tens of millions of immigrants –both legal and undocumented – along with their children, neighbors and, yes, their employers and co-workers are still waiting to hear the two candidates compare and contrast their views on immigration reform. This, in an election year when immigrant and ethnic voters may prove pivotal in a number of battleground states.

During the presidential primaries former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney tried to use John McCain’s support for immigration reform as a wedge issue against the Arizona Senator. Romney’s strategy failed. But maybe he was more successful than most people believe. There is now a chill over the presidential campaign when it comes to talking openly about immigrants and immigration. Four weeks before Election Day no one – neither the candidates nor the mainstream media – seems willing to break the ice.