Add this to the file of surreal campaign developments: the Houston Chronicle is reporting that David Dewhurst wants to debate Ted Cruz in Spanish. From the report:
Cruz, who has criticized Dewhurst for “ducking” past appearances, said he is open to the challenge.
“I would welcome a debate with Dewhurst in any form, but I think we would have a better debate if we did the debate in English,” Cruz told Univision.
However, Cruz’s Spanish speaking is suspect. He is a second generation Cuban-American that grew up speaking “Spanglish” and is not fluent like his father, Rafael Cruz, Sr., who travels and often speaks at his son’s campaign events.
Therefore, allowing candidates to speak only in Spanish would likely play to Dewhurst’s advantage, who learned Spanish while on assignment with the Central Intelligence Agency in Bolivia in the 1970′s.
“When I came back from Bolivia, my Spanish was in some ways as good as my English,” Dewhurst said. “I am rusty today. But I am comfortable talking in Spanish. I am not flawless or fluent, but I am comfortable. It takes me a day or two speaking a lot of Spanish to get back into a rhythm.”
UPDATE: Cruz campaign manager John Drogin calls the Spanish-language debate proposal a “gimmick.”
“Dewhurst clearly has a difficult time with plain English as he claims a Wage Tax isn’t and income tax and calls a $72 billion spending increase a ‘cut,’” e-mails Drogin. “As soon as Dewhurst reverses course from skipping 35 debates and decides to face primary voters across Texas to answer for his tax-and-spend record we’ll entertain this or any other gimmick he proposes.” Drogin also pointed out that Cruz had agreed to do a series of debates sponsored by the Texans Grassroots Network. The group confirmed that Dewhurst has still not responded to their invitation to the debate series.
The Dewhurst campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the reason behind the Spanish-language debate proposal.