Jeb Bush, struggling to retool his campaign and regain traction in the GOP presidential race, says Telemundo should be reinstated in the primary debate lineup – a move that could score big with Hispanic voters, but infuriate Donald Trump's camp.
"We should have the debate," Bush said in English and Spanish at an event Monday, the Miami Herald
"I think we ought to have a Telemundo debate, or a Hispanic debate. It happened four years ago. Telemundo's not part of the problem of CNBC. They (CNBC) just didn't keep their word."
"America's Hispanic comity deserves to hear from our candidates," he tweeted.
The Washington Post
reports that at a private meeting Sunday, several Republican presidential campaigns began laying out new demands for more control over the format and content of debates – and that Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz recommended Telemundo get a pass on the RNC's decision to suspend its partnership with NBC News
in response to the CNBC Republican debate that was universally panned
as unfair to the candidates.
Telemundo is owned by NBCUniversal, and is the second-largest Spanish language network, behind Univision, which is holding a candidates' forum with The Washington Post on March 9 in Miami.
But Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski threatened to boycott a debate moderated by Telemundo – with which Trump has clashed
in the past – the Post reports.
Igor Bobic, an associate political editor at the Huffington Post, writes
that if the GOP "does decide to freeze out Telemundo, it would be akin to shooting oneself in the foot."
"Republicans would lose a primetime opportunity to engage with Latino voters at a time when primary debates are setting records with tens of millions of new viewers," Bobic writes.
"Reinstating the Telemundo debate would be a wise move for a party looking to make inroads with Latino voters, a crucial and growing demographic that swung heavily toward Barack Obama in 2012."
According to The New York Times
, "within hours" of the RNC's suspension of the scheduled Feb. 26 debate hosted by NBC News and Telemundo, the Spanish-language station was on the phone with the Democratic National Committee, pushing for a greater role in the Democratic Party’s early nominating process.
The news was first reported by the Post
, which noted if the talks between Telemundo and the DNC work out, "it would mean Democrats end up holding two debate-style events on Spanish-language networks."
According to the Times, since removing NBC News and Telemundo as a partner, the RNC hasn't had any behind-the-scenes talk with the the Spanish-language station – but remains hopeful.
"What we’ve tried to tell everyone at NBC is it’s a suspension, not a cancellation, so we’ll see," Sean Spicer, communications director at the RNC, tells the Times.
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