Here’s what our man had to say tonight:
MODERATOR: Congressman Hunter, I want to ask you the same question. How are you going to think (inaudible) you’re going to recover the lost ground among Hispanics?
HUNTER: Well, you know what? I understand.
HUNTER: I talked to Donna Shalala, and she said actually a number of young people are going to register to vote tonight, and I want them to register for our party, for the Republican Party.
And I’ll tell you a great reason to be a Republican. And it’s a story that’s told 90 miles away and 1,500 miles away, because 90 miles away, in 1961, the Cuban freedom fighters fought on the beach in Cuba against Castro’s forces.
And a Democrat administration let their aircraft carrier sit there, while those freedom fighters were machine-gunned, because they felt there was too much pressure coming from the United Nations — either machine-gunned or captured.
HUNTER: Many years later, 1,500 miles away, in a little place called El Salvador, a Republican president, Ronald Reagan, provided that little shield around that government, while they stood up and had free elections and brought freedom to El Salvador.
It’s a story of two parties. It’s a story of the party of freedom. That’s the Republican party. That’s why I would register Republican and support our party this year.
MODERATOR: Congressman Hunter, why not support the (amnesty) legalization?
HUNTER: Did you ask the same question?
MODERATOR: OK, why you’re not support that idea?
HUNTER: Listen, when I was — when I came back from Vietnam, I was a practicing lawyer in the barrio. I was the only lawyer there, and I never turned away a family that came in and needed help.
But I told them a couple of things. One thing is, you have to be here legally, because the first thing you’ve got to learn in this country is the rule of law. And the second thing is, you have to make sure that your kids learn English, because that is the American opportunity.
Now, in 1983, we gave an amnesty, and when we gave that amnesty, 3 million people came in who were allowed to stay in who were here illegally. We said at that point, no more, and we’re not going to let anybody else come in.
HUNTER: After that, 12 million more people came in. If we give an amnesty to this next batch of 12 million people, you will have a third wave of people coming in expecting to catch the third amnesty.
You know, this lady behind me represents a lot of things. One is welcoming immigrants to America. The other is the rule of law. We have to establish the rule of law, and people who are here illegally have to go home.
MODERATOR: The vast majority of Hispanics, four out of five, are either legal residents or American citizens. Many of them feel affected by the negative tone of the immigration debate. How would you — what would you do to curb this anti-Hispanic sentiment?
MODERATOR: First of all, Congressman Hunter...
HUNTER: You know, I represent a district in San Diego, California and Imperial County, California, and that county for many, many years is a majority Hispanic and two-to-one Democrat. And I’m known as the guy who built the double-border fence that lowered the crime rate so dramatically, that stopped all the drug trucks from coming through, that stopped the smuggling of people and narcotics by more than 90 percent.
You know what you do? You look people in the eye and you talk to them frankly.
I would say this: I got more votes from the Hispanic community — known as the guy who built the border fence — from the Hispanic community, than anybody running for office, whether it was President Clinton on a presidential year, or one of the local or the state assemblyman or U.S. Senators.
That means that the Hispanic community in the United States does not agree with the idea of having open borders. They do agree with the idea of having order on the border and having a regulated system where this lady of freedom standing behind me, the Statue of Liberty, says: Come in, but follow the rules.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
The next question, of course, if regarding Iraq.
Congressman Hunter, surveys show that two out of three Hispanics think that the United States should withdraw its troops from Iraq. How would you convince
them of the fact that they should stay there — the troops should stay there?
HUNTER: Well, you know, there’s lots of Hispanic Americans serving in Iraq.
HUNTER: And my son came back from his third tour as a U.S. Marine on Thanksgiving, having served in Iraq twice and Afghanistan.
And, you know, if you check with the Hispanics of the 1st Marine Division or the 10th Army Division of the 1st Cavalry, you’ll get a lot different poll than the poll that you’re telling me right now, because the young men and women who are serving over there know we can win in Iraq.
And let me tell you what they’ve done. With blood, sweat and tears they have brought down the attack rate in Anbar province by 80 percent. They brought it down over the entire nation.
The Iraqi army is now standing up, all 131 battalions. That government’s going to hold and the army’s going to hold, and we are going to leave Iraq in victory, and we’re going to leave an Iraq that will be a friend, not an enemy of the United States.
So we’re going to be victorious in Iraq, and Hispanic Americans who serve there know that.
MODERATOR: Congressman Hunter, you know that problem of dropping out of Hispanics...
HUNTER: You know, in California there was a great teacher named Jaime Escalante, who taught calculus. And he taught calculus in the barrio so effectively that his kids when they took the test were accused of cheating by the school district because they scored so high.
Jaime Escalante brought to the school system the one thing that we need throughout America, and that is inspiration, because young people are deciding what they want to do when they’re in third, fourth, fifth, sixth grade.
And what we’re going to have to do — and incidentally, Jaime Escalante ultimately left that school district and the calculus program went down because he had a run-in with the teachers union.
What we have to do in this country is to take away all this old credentialing. We’ve got to bring in aerospace engineers and pilots and mathematicians and scientists and business-people, and we have to bring in people who can inspire kids at a young age to reach for the stars, and then convince them to work hard enough to get there.
HUNTER: Inspiration, that’s how we increase our capability in education.
Congressman Hunter, what would be — what role would Hispanics play in the future of our society?
HUNTER: Well, first, I want them to play a role as Republicans. And I want to invite, again, all the young people who are — registering to vote — tonight — to just remember a couple of things.
One thing is that that lady in El Salvador who stood there in the line for the elections after a Republican president, Ronald Reagan, had protected El Salvador and provided for free elections, and she had a bullet hole in her arm and she was asked, do you want to go to the aid station, and she said, yes, but first, I vote.
So, remember, Republicans stand for freedom.
Secondly, I want you to remember the Republicans stand for life, that the man who founded our party, Abraham Lincoln, did so on the basis of the value of human beings.
And lastly, I’d like you to remember that, you know, Democrats think this is a great country because of what government does for people, while Republicans think this is a great country because of what free people do for themselves.
HUNTER: I think Hispanics have a great role with this great nation.
I’m impressed. No pandering, says what he believes (and what he’s acted upon)...and he gets lots of applause (compare this to Paul’s boos when he brought up talking with Hugo Chavez). I’m reminded of the NALEO conference, where Hunter - being the only Republican to show up - once again spoke his mind communicated his beliefs.
Say what you will...but hey, Hunter’s Hunter. I’ll take it!
"And the fact of the matter is, if families would stay together, if fathers would raise their children, especially young men when they get into troublesome ages, we would solve a good part of the education problem in this country." (APPLAUSE)
Ping for men who get their acts together during their "troublesome ages". I thought the phrase reflected one who knew what it was to be young and troublesome and was touching in its own way.
I also note he got the applause line after he mentioned "marriage between a man and a woman".
Reading over Congressman Hunter’s words, spoken plainly, with sincerity, and no BS, I could have sworn I was reading a speech from Ronald Reagan.
If Republicans want to win, they need look no further than Duncan Hunter.
Thanks for the ping!
“Say what you will...but hey, Hunters Hunter. Ill take it!”
Yes, indeed! I liked Hunter’s answers also. He has the same message and it works no matter what situation or group he is addressing. We know where he stands on any issue, no guessing involved.
Hunter IS Conservative America.
Thanks for the ping! Congressman Hunter hit it out of the park again! He just gets better and better!
Duncan Hunter ‘08!!!
The audience must have been in shock, though it looks like they managed to applaud. The anti-panderer.
Thank you very much for posting the transcripts. This is the stuff that ends up being utilized on FR very effectively.
If the liberal evangelical Huckabee can take the lead from out of nowhere, so can Hunter the true conservative evangelical.
Why the smart money is on Duncan Hunter
Outstanding answers by Hunter!
Why the Republicans are so afraid to be strong on this issue because Hispanics won't vote for them is a mystery to me. Most Hispanics WANT the border under control and DON'T want amnesty.
Duncan Hunter for president!
Six questions, six answers.
I wonder what the ratio is for the other candidates. Or was this debate actually the most fair in terms of how many questions candidates were asked?