Successful political candidates are agile — quick thinking and able to respond intelligently and concisely on many topics. Failure to do so can easily cost a candidate the election. Nixon’s lack of poise and hesitancy in responding to answers in the 1960 debate with Kennedy is a case in point.
Other examples include Al Gore’s eye rolling during the 2000 presidential debate and Michael Dukakis’ cold answer about the death penalty if his wife was raped and killed. Many consider these career-ending moments.
Political pundits suggest viewers saw another career-ending moment on Monday evening when Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs could not answer a question about what she had learned from Latinos — a demographic that represents more than one-third of the voters in her state.
The fairly straightforward question stumped the candidate.
The debate was sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Forum in Phoenix, Arizona. The Daily Caller noted that “each candidate received questions without their opponent on stage with them.”
León Krauze, an anchor for the Spanish-language news outlet Univision, served as moderator and asked Hobbs the softball question:
“Today, today you said that growing up in Arizona, you have seen and heard how impactful the migrant community, talking about the Hispanic community, has been. Let me ask you, how has it impacted you personally? What have you learned — specifically learned — from the Latino community?”
Hobbs’ response was rambling and disjointed. She struggled to name anything but noted that she had learned “so much.” In her painful response, she mentioned she has a Latina sister-in-law, and she attempted, without great success, to say a few words in Spanish.
The gracious moderator gave her a second chance to answer the question — asking her to share just one thing she has learned from the Hispanic community.
Hobbs hesitated. The moderator prompted, “It’s one-third of the state.”
Still, Hobbs struggled, finally saying, “Umm. I. I mean I think there’s, there’s many lessons. Ah, the, the emphasis on, ah, family values, umm, hard work, umm, those are, those are something I value in my own life, and, umm, you know, it’s something that I, that I respect.”
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