Republican presidential candidates are standing up against the country’s largest Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision, to defend the honour of GOP Golden Boy Marco Rubio.
The Florida Senator has been quietly feuding with Univision over a July investigation into Rubio’s brother-in-law’s 1987 drug trafficking conviction. According to the Miami Herald, Rubio’s supporters claim Univision tried to blackmail the senator into doing an interview about with a liberal host by saying they would hold or soften the story about his brother-in-law.
Spotting an opening with Rubio, a Tea Party darling and oft-mentioned VP contender, 2012 contenders Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman have all rushed to Rubio’s defence, announcing Tuesday that they will boycott Univision’s January presidential debate in Florida unless the broadcaster makes amends.
Univision denies offering Rubio a deal, and stands by the story, which uncovered Rubio’s brother-in-law Orlando Cicilia’s involvement in a Florida drug smuggling ring that killed a federal informant and chopped up his body. Cicilia was arrested and convicted of drug smuggling charges in 1987, when Rubio was still in high school.
Rubio does not deny that the story is true, but his supporters argue that it is part of a smear campaign against the Senator. Univision has frequently criticised Rubio for his conservative positions, particularly on immigration issues.
The debate illustrates the fine line that 2012 GOP presidential candidates have to walk to woo Latino voters while maintaining a hardline on illegal immigration. Rubio’s beef with Univision gives them the opportunity to back out of a potentially awkward debate with the Spanish-language channel, while still showing support for a popular Latino lawmaker. Earning bonus points with the No. 1 VP draft pick is just an added bonus.
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