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"The Only Spanish [Bush] Speaks When it Comes to Jobs is Hasta La Vista" - Democratic Candidates Slam GW in First Ever Bilingual Presidential Debate

September 05, 2003

Eight candidates took part in the first official debate of the Democratic presidential contenders yesterday. We play an excerpt of the debate as candidates criticized the White House policy on Iraq.

Eight candidates took part in the first official debate of the Democratic presidential contenders yesterday evening.

The debate, which was held on University of New Mexico campus, was the first bilingual presidential debate in U.S. history. Questions were often asked in both Spanish and English. The New York Times described the candidates as "stumbling over one another to try to demonstrate their sensitivity to Hispanic issues and culture."

The debate covered a range of issues including the war on Iraq, global trade, the economy, healthcare and immigration. But it was the issue of Iraq that garnered the most attention with more than one third of the 90-minute debate spent on the war.

The debate was the first of six party-sanctioned debates with the race for the nomination wide open.

The Washington Post reported that nearly two-third of voters do not know the name of even one of the eight candidates who took the stage. One candidate, Rev. Al Sharpton of New York, had planned to attend but missed a plane connection because of bad weather and never arrived.

  • Excerpt from Democratic Debate September 4, 2003
    • Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean
    • Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri
    • Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
    • Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut
    • Sen. Bob Graham of Florida
    • Former Illinois senator Carol Moseley Braun
    • Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina
    • Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts