For the first time ever, candidates for President of the United States appeared in a telecast debate aimed at Spanish-speaking Americans and Univision is crowing about its audience draw. Sunday’s Democratic Presidential Candidate Forum, broadcast live from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL, drew 4.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen Fast National Ratings. The previous English-language debates drew an average of 4.3 million viewers. "The enormous audience that tuned in to witness this historic event just goes to prove that Hispanics are eager to hear the presidential candidates speak directly to them about the issues they care most about – issues that are both unique to their community and impact the nation as a whole," said Univision communications CEO Joe Uva. Univision is planning a similar event for the Republican candidates.
TVBR/RBR observation: We noticed some criticism of the debate format, chiefly that two Univision anchors were the only questioners, with no other journalists involved and no questions from the audience. Our experience has been that the fewer people asking the questions and the better prepared they are, the better for everyone. We would note that Tim Russert from NBC is the master. The nature of a two-language debate is that it will seem slow, since every question and answer has to be immediately translated. Did bi-lingual Hispanic Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) score points with Hispanic voters by trying to answer in Spanish, or did he come off looking like a jerk for deliberately breaking the rules that he had agreed to?