By Hadas Gold
March 10, 2016
Many Republicans view Univision as a hostile news organization, with its unapologetic pro-immigration reform stance and ties to Hillary Clinton.
But on Wednesday night the network's two top anchors, Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas, along with Washington Post correspondent Karen Tumulty, tried to shed that image, while also previewing what a potential general election debate might look like between Clinton and Donald Trump.
"Secretary Clinton, I want to disclose once again that my daughter Paula works for your campaign," Ramos said in his first question of the night before launching into a question about Clinton's use of a private email server.
"When you were secretary of state, you wrote 104 e-mails in your private server that the government now says contained classified information, according to The Washington Post analysis. That goes against a memo that you personally sent to your employees in 2011 directing all of them to use official e-mail, precisely because of the concerns. So it seems you issued one set of rules for yourself and a different set of rules for the rest of the State Department. So who specifically gave you permission to operate your e-mail system as you did? Was it President Barack Obama? And would you drop out of the race if you get indicted?"
Clinton gave the same answer she's been giving on her email use, which wasn't satisfactory for Ramos. He pressed Clinton to actually answer his questions, leading to one of the more memorable lines of the night in response to whether Clinton would drop out if she was indicted over her email use.
"Oh, that's not going to happen. I'm not even answering that question," she said.
Later on, the moderators played a clip of Sanders from 1985 where Sanders praised Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, comments Sanders said he made in the larger context of denouncing President Ronald Reagan's interventionist foreign policy.
"Everyone was totally convinced Castro was the worst guy in the world. They forgot that he educated their kids, gave them health care and totally transformed their society," Sanders says in the clip.
"Senator, in retrospect, have you ever regretted the characterizations of Daniel Ortega and Fidel Castro you made in 1985?" Ramos asked.
Sanders said while he recognizes Cuba is an authoritarian regime, the United States shouldn't be involved in trying to overthrow governments.
"Whatever you think of the question, at least the moderators are following up, which is missing from most debates," tweeted Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake.
That's not to say the praise was universal. There were some production issues such as the translators' English dubbing not being loud enough to cover the moderators speaking in Spanish. Sanders' microphone at one point was cutting in and out. And others were disappointed that the moderators kept such strict tabs on the time and quickly moved on from topics.
"Don't understand why moderators would insist on moving past a fierce engagement between candidates on a critical dispute in Dem politics," tweeted New York Times reporter Alex Burns as the moderators switched from a question on the Export/Import bank to a question about Benghazi.
For Univision, the debate proved they could be tough on Democrats as well as Republicans, while providing a glimpse at the kinds of questions that might surface in a Clinton-Trump debate.
"Secretary Clinton, you recently said, instead of building walls we need to tear down barriers. However, last November in New Hampshire, you openly said that as senator you voted numerous times to build the wall with Mexico. What's the difference between what you did, voting to build the wall, and what Donald Trump wants to do now?" Salinas asked.
"Looks like Univision gets its coveted "We're Hard On Both Sides!" media badge so they're free to unload on Trump in the general," tweeted former President Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau.
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