Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich penciled in a visit to South Florida during a forum with Miami Dade College students on Jan. 25, just in time for Florida’s primary elections.
Both 2012 Republican presidential contenders participated in the Meet The Candidates question-and-answer session held at Univision Studios and MDC Wolfson Campus.
“MDC is a most important destination for any world leader that comes to Miami,” said College president, Eduardo Padrón. “They know that this institution is a catalyst for everything important that happens in the city.”
The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Univision News along with MDC sponsored the forum.
Univision journalist, Jorge Ramos, hosted the discussions with Gingrich and Romney and opened the remaining half of the discussion with the presidential hopefuls to students and community members for a question and answer session.
“I loved the questions that were asked, they were great,” Ramos said. “I wish that the format of these debates would be much more open so that [students] could have a conversation with the candidates.”
In the morning, an audience comprising more than 30 MDC students gathered for a discussion with Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House. Gingrich spoke about issues concerning the Hispanic community.
West Campus Student Government Association representative Genesis Angulo asked Gingrich if he supported in-state college tuition for students born in the United States to undocumented parents. Those students currently pay out-of-state tuition.
Gingrich said he was unaware of the existing problems that have led American-born students with undocumented parents to pay out-of-state tuition. But he said he strongly supports the idea that a students status as an American-born citizen should allow them to get in-state tuition.
After the discussion ended the doors of the Wolfson Campus Auditorium opened for a discussion with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
“I definitely liked that [Romney] is pro-business. I thought that was great,” said Wolfson Campus student Jeremy Randolph. “I think that’s what we need, definitely a revitalization of our economy. However, I didn’t really like how he was poking at Obama saying he gives corporate handouts. I don’t think that is necessarily true.”
President of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Javier Palomarez was impressed by the quality of questions and engagement by MDC students.
“You could tell that these were students who take their education very seriously and take the future of the nation very seriously,” Palomarez said.
Univision News invited all four GOP presidential candidates. However, Ron Paul declined to attend and Rick Santorum pulled out a day before the discussion.
Padrón assured that this was only be the beginning of things to come during the 2012 election battle.
“[Students] having the opportunity to see the Republican candidates and seeing the president, which I’m sure will come [to MDC] before the election, will give [students] enough information to make [their] choice,” Padrón said.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the Florida primary election on Jan. 31 by a 14 percentage-point margin.