Rebuffed in its bid to host a debate between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications nonetheless has scored some face time with the candidates.
Wednesday, Univision News announced that next week it would team up with Facebook to hold two “Meet the Candidates” events “to discuss education and the future of the Hispanic community."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will be first up to bat, participating in a conversation with the network that is scheduled to air Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. President Obama will be featured on Sept. 20, also in the 10 p.m. slot.
Both events will be moderated by Univision News anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas and streamed online in English. The discussions will be taped before a live audience at the University of Miami.
“Hispanics will play a key role in electing the next president of the United States, and these events will help address key issues so that the more than 20 million Hispanics expected to vote this year can make an informed decision,” Cesar Conde, president of Univision Networks, said in a statement.
Last month, Univision Communications Chief Executive Randy Falco unsuccessfully petitioned the Commission on Presidential Debates to amend its debate schedule to include a Latino-focused debate. Falco had asked the commission to create a fifth forum hosted by a Univision journalist, noting that Latinos nationwide make up 8.7% of all voters, many of them in the swing states of Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
However, the commission declined to adjust its schedule, saying the other debates would cover topics of interest to Latinos, and Univision instead scheduled its own forums.