Nearly all the candidates committed to overhauling immigration laws in their first year in office, days after Republican candidates accused each other in a debate of supporting "amnesty."According to the NYT, there were some other criticisms raised about the Republican response to the "grand bargain":
"We all know that this has become a contentious political issue," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) said. "It is being demagogued, and I believe that it is being used to bash immigrants, and that must stop. The Republican candidates need to understand that they are doing a great disservice to our country."
The three leading candidates, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, had especially sharp criticism for leaders of the Republican Party. They expressed concerns that Republicans were enabling anti-immigrant feelings and even racist attitudes, or at least not taking a tougher stand against them.
Later, Mrs. Clinton added: “There are many in the political and frankly in the broadcast world today who take a particular aim at our Latino population. I think it’s very destructive.” A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton said after the debate that she was referring to the CNN anchor Lou Dobbs and the radio host Rush Limbaugh, among others.
“That’s what’s been missing from presidential leadership — explaining to the American people from all walks of life that our separate struggles are one,” Mr. Obama said. “A president has to not only speak up forcefully against anti-immigrant sentiment and racist sentiment, but also make sure that all workers are being tended to.”
Mr. Edwards put the blame on President Bush for divisive attitudes that can lead to anti-Hispanic sentiment, saying he “uses absolutely every tool available to him politically to divide the country.” Mr. Edwards added, “This needs to be brought to an end.”
The NYT also reports that Dennis Kucinich was alone in openly advocating for Spanish as an official language for the United States.
Meanwhile, Christina Bellantoni at the Washington Times reveals some of the technical difficulties faced by the press during this debate:
But 90 seconds before the forum began tonight, the Media Room had no sound - not in Spanish, English or French. Nada.
Spanish- and English-speaking reporters in the room erupted in a panic, sending University of Miami staff scrambling to try and fix the feed. What most reporters heard for the first 16 minutes of the debate was static - both from the closed television feed and from the translation device.