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Democrats Talk Iraq in Univision Debate

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said he's concerned the Petraeus report "will basically be a sales job by the White House."

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, recently returned from a trip to Iraq, skipped the debate to prepare for a Foreign Relations Committee hearing that he is scheduled to chair Tuesday on the Petraeus report.

Univision invited the Republican candidates for a similar forum, but only Arizona Sen. John McCain has accepted.

Hispanics have a new voice in the Democratic primary process with Nevada holding an early contest. Florida also has moved up its primary to Jan. 29, violating party rules. Democratic candidates have pledged to stop campaigning in Florida unless the date is changed by the end of the month.

In 2004, President Bush won about 40 percent of the Hispanic vote nationally, the most ever for a GOP presidential candidate. His Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, won 53 percent, down from the 62 percent former Vice President Al Gore garnered in 2000.

Throughout the debate, Richardson stressed that Hispanic's main concerns are the same as most Americans: the war in Iraq, health care, education and housing.

"We're part of the American mainstream," he said. "We shouldn't be put in a box."

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Associated Press writer By Laura Wides-Munoz contributed to this report.


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