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October 30, 2014

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Jon Ralston:

What might Kihuen and Titus say?

Welcome to the first of our series of debates in Congressional District One where a white woman, Dina Titus, is running against a Hispanic man, Ruben Kihuen.

Kihuen: “Excuse me, but I think it’s very inappropriate for you to bring up race.”

Titus: “I see you don’t mind that he called me a woman. Guess what? Neither do I. And you brought race into this, señor.”

Kihuen: “Señor? That was nasty, congresswoman. Or should I call you senator? Or professor? Or civil rights commissioner? You sure have been around awhile on the public dole.”

Titus: “Well, at least when I was raking in all that money at UNLV, I was doing something for it. I taught students. Whatever you were doing over there at the community college was so important they got rid of your job after you left.”

Kihuen: “That’s because I had completed my mission — to diversify the student body. You can say, “gracias,” professor — that is, if you know what it means.”

Titus: “You can take your ‘gracias’ and … (pauses). As I said, you brought race into this.”

Kihuen: “Yes, I am proud of my race, which, by the way, is Hispanic. I am Hispanic. Hispanic. Why do you have a problem with that, professor?”

Titus: “I don’t. What I have a problem with is that’s all you have. I would suggest that you show us a list of your legislative accomplishments, but I don’t think there’s a piece of paper that small.”

Kihuen: “About as big a piece of paper as it would take to list the number of times you were able to unite Democrats to get a majority in the state Senate. I’m a minority — Hispanic, that is — but you are really an expert on being in the minority. Some leadership.”

Titus: “Let me explain how the legislative process works, young man. You may not be familiar with the concept because no legislation has your name on it and you chaired a committee that didn’t do anything and was created just so you could have a platform. You have to sponsor important bills. I did that. You didn’t.”

Kihuen: “Well, one thing I did that you didn’t, senator: I cared. I care. I care a lot, in fact. I don’t think you care. You are not caring, as I am.”

Titus: “Yeah, you care about Hispanics. What about the rest of the world? What have you done for Latinos anyhow? I was there in Carson City and I was on the Civil Rights Commission. And, yes, I care, too — I care that you think your race is enough.”

Kihuen: “Hey, I got a token female and some African-Americans, too. Be fair. And the Civil Rights Commission? You were there for a cup of coffee, a resting place for you until you decided where you could run next. And when you were in Washington, our people came to you about illegal immigration and you were reluctant to sponsor the DREAM Act. Maybe that’s why they are with me now.”

Titus: Oh. Yes. That must be the reason Hispanic leaders are with you. Nothing to do with the fact that you are …”

Kihuen: “Hispanic? Yes. Yes, I am.”

Titus: “Exactly. I have supported minority causes my entire career, which spans decades. And you know it. In fact, you knew that when you were a surrogate for me. And now you want people to believe you changed because I didn’t meet some litmus test?”

Kihuen: “Litmus test? You were so afraid of losing to Joe Heck that you played both sides, pretending to be against immigration reform before you were for it, just as you did with health care reform. We knew what you were doing. And look what happened. You lost, I believe. Right?”

Titus: “Barely. But I put up a good fight. What have you fought for?”

Kihuen: “For my community. The Hispanic community, in case you forgot.”

Titus: “Oh, really? The culinary union, which created you, has not even endorsed you. Why?”

Kihuen: “Patience. There is still a year to go and my labor brothers will see who the best candidate is. I noticed Sen. Reid, who worked with you in Washington, doesn’t seem thrilled with you. Where’s his endorsement?”

Titus: “I never needed Harry before and I don’t need him now. If you want to be used by him, that’s your call.”

Kihuen: “That is offensive. I am not being used. Just because Sen. Reid hooked me up with my media and polling firms doesn’t mean I am in his debt. It just means he thinks I’m a great candidate. A great Hispanic candidate.”

Titus: “My goodness. Is that all you got?”

Kihuen: “With all due respect, professor, it’s all I need.”

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  1. Maybe Jon Ralston needs to start writing screen plays. He's one of the media who predicts an "ugly" campaign and sets the stage for it. Are there underlying themes of race and power going on? Yes. But we hope that the cast of characters and their supporters are more mature than as Ralston writes them. But, of course, the drama helps make his column a must-read.

  2. to Kihuen: It seems like you are portraying Titus as predjudice. It seems to me you are. All you care about is Hispanics. I am white and I vote too. What I see from you is another Republican(you act like one) newbee with no experience going to DC to get the DREAM ACT passed and nothing else: like the Tea Party newbees with cut taxes and the middle class. I agree the dream act is important and should be passed but not to hurt me. I believe you and many hispanics(not all) are predjudice and that concerns me. It also concerns me that many support you because you are hispanic and nothing else. That's not good either. Also, many do not like Harry Reid. That can work against you. I like him but don't think that makes you a shoe-in especially with me. You seem to be too arragent and too sure of yourself. That shows immaturity. Don't get so blustery. It can work against you, too. I and most of America is tired of politians acting like dark age clergy bullies believing in their rights only while we suffer. Your actions are showing me that you are opposite of the same coin.

  3. to Titus: Stop going to Kihuen's immature level. Be the adult. Run on your record that shows where it includes everybody, not just hispanics. If you have done for hispanics, show it. Get details out there. I want to see them. I want to see records on both sides. I want facts not emotions. You are running in the district in which you live in. That's the right thing to do. If you win, then Reid better support you. I don't want another Republican "no" stealing my tax money and doing nothing. Working for UNLV is good too. You can teach. Teach us now. And you can help improve education. EXPERIENCE is not a bad thing. It's how you use it.

  4. Amusing dialog, Jon. It actually reflects what most folks out there are thinking!

    Enjoyed your comments on Nevada Week in Review as well, I think you have this pretty well dialed in.

    Senator Reid is like a "company man" except he is a political party man. He will do anything to advance his party's agenda, including playing both sides of the fence. It is what it is.

    Thanks for the giggles, Jon!

  5. Weren't Titus and Kihuen at the same jobs rally over the weekend? No blood sport ensued. Perhaps if local media covered the events and issues that mattered to the community including a call to pass our president's jobs bill then the professionalism and dedication to the issues of both of these fine democrats would be the story.

  6. She's not a professor remember. She took the job for one semester (perhaps knowing full well of a buyout) and now gets paid to do nothing.

  7. So often, we are asked to choose between candidates
    who will not serve the needs of all citizens.
    I suspect many tire of voting for "the lesser evil"
    and then later come to regret their decision. This appears to be the case looking at Titus's
    sad Congressional history and Kihuen's statements.
    How can anyone support the DREAM act who lives here? We have the highest unemployment, record
    bankruptcies and record foreclosures. We need to
    put our own people, our citizens, back to work before granting law breakers amnesty and then
    have them compete with us in the job market.