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Democrats Talk Iraq in Univision Debate
Dodd, who served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, also speaks Spanish fluently. He called for more U.S. engagement with Latin America, including a lifting of trade embargo against Cuba.
"We're allowing a Hugo Chavez to win a public relations effort in Latin America because we don't invest enough in Latin America," he said.
Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel boasted that he's also bilingual _ in French. "I honor everyone who comes to this country as an immigrant because we are all immigrants."
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich said he would make Spanish a second national language, but no leading candidate was willing to go that far.
The candidates were asked why they supported a wall along the Mexican border _ and not a similar fence along the U.S.-Canadian border _ a question that seemed to catch them somewhat off-guard. Most avoided answering directly, saying simply that they believed security was a key part of comprehensive immigration reform.
"I do favor more security on the border and in some cases a physical border because that has to be part of securing our borders," Clinton said.
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama spoke of his father's experience as an immigrant and noted that he supported the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the U.S. Senate last year.
Richardson, who has opposed the wall, said he would commit to comprehensive reform in the first year.
"If you're going to build a 12 foot wall. You know what's going to happen? A lot of 13-foot ladders."
But there are strong feelings against the Iraq war among Hispanics, so that topic lead the debate, with the moderators noting that two-thirds of Hispanics support a withdrawal from Iraq. Kucinich was loudly applauded for saying he would pull troops out.
Obama aligned himself with Kucinich.
"I was a strong opponent of the war, as Dennis was," Obama said, adding that President Bush is trying to make it appear that the 35,000 troop surge earlier this year has had an impact.