Univision, which has had sharp disagreements with Republicans over immigration and has shown a penchant for favoring Democrats on its network, sent shockwaves through the Republican Party and the liberal media by actually asking tough questions of the candidates during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate.
The debate was moderated by Univision anchors Jorge Ramos, Maria Elena Salinas and Washington Post correspondent Karen Tumulty.
Ramos was the first to take off the gloves by asking Hillary Clinton about her private email server while serving as secretary of state:
When you were secretary of state, you wrote 104 emails 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 email, 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 email system as you did? Was it President Barack Obama? And would you drop out of the race if you get indicted?
Clinton responded by saying that it wasn’t the best choice and that she had made a mistake, but that it wasn’t prohibited—though none of her predecessors ever had a private email server, just private email accounts—and that she didn’t send or receive emails that were marked classified at the time.
Unsatisfied with her answer Ramos pressed on, asking Clinton, “If you get indicted would you drop out?”
“Oh, that’s not going to happen. I’m not even answering that question,” she said.
Later in the debate it didn’t get any easier when Washington Post correspondent Karen Tumulty asked Clinton about her low honesty and trustworthiness numbers:
Tumulty: Secretary Clinton, a Washington Post poll just yesterday found that only 37 percent of Americans consider you honest and trustworthy. Now, when you’ve been asked about this in the past, you have said that this is the result of many, many years of Republican attacks upon you. But Americans have also had 25—more than that—years to get to know you for themselves.
Is there anything in your own actions and the decisions that you yourself have made that would foster this kind of mistrust?
Clinton: Well, first Karen, obviously it’s painful for me to hear that. And I do take responsibility. When you’re in public life, even if you believe that it’s not an opinion that you think is fair or founded, you do have to take responsibility. And I do.
And I also have, you know, very much committed to the best of my ability my energies and efforts to helping people. That’s something that I care deeply about. And I will continue to do that, to demonstrate by my past actions and my present levels of commitment and plans that people can count on me.
That is certainly what happened to me in New York, where people got to know me. They saw me in action. And they did.
Look, I have said before and it won’t surprise anybody to hear me say it, this is not easy for me. It’s not easy to do what I think is right, to help people, to even the odds, to hear a story like the woman’s story we just heard. And to know that I can make a difference and I want to in every way possible.
I am not a natural politician, in case you haven’t noticed, like my husband or President Obama. So I have a view that I just have to do the best I can, get the results I can, make a difference in people’s lives, and hope that people see that I’m fighting for them and that I can improve conditions economically and other ways that will benefit them and their families.
It’s good to know she’s taking responsibility for her low honesty and trustworthiness numbers, though she may want to have a chat with her surrogate—former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm—who told CNN this week that Hillary’s low numbers were due to Fox News and right-wingers who for decades have spent millions of dollars attacking the Clintons.
As for her not being a natural politician like her husband, or President Obama, she’s right, but at the same time she isn’t a neophyte to the political process. She was the First Lady for eight years, a senator from New York for another eight years and secretary of state for four years. It was primarily her record as secretary of state that sent her honesty and trustworthiness poll numbers downward.
Clinton wasn’t the only one on the receiving end of a tough question, as the moderators played a 1985 clip of Bernie Sanders praising Nicaraguan Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, while denouncing President 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?” Salinas asked.
Sanders: …both in Nicaragua and Cuba. Look, let’s look at the facts here. Cuba is, of course, an authoritarian undemocratic country, and I hope very much as soon as possible it becomes a democratic country. But on the other hand…
…on the other hand, it would be wrong not to state that in Cuba they have made some good advances in health care. They are sending doctors all over the world. They have made some progress in education. I think by restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba, it will result in significant improvements to the lives of Cubans and it will help the United States and our business community invest.
Any advances Cuba has made—and they’ve been minimal—are due to help received from outside and not from any great success of the communist system, which has ruled the country for more than 50 years.
Based on the criticism Univision is getting from the liberal media, they aren’t likely to be that tough again, if given the chance. But they deserve credit for trying to do their job and not hewing totally to the Democratic line.