A similar Republican debate in September was cancelled due to the leading candidates' non-participation, but the Miami Herald reports that Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter have agreed to appear.
Only McCain and Hunter had said they would participate in the original debate.
The difference, according to the Herald:
"Fred Thompson wasn't an official candidate when the debate was proposed, giving him an opening to take the lead. With their candidate facing mixed reviews after two months in the race, the Thompson campaign said Thursday afternoon that he was in."Other candidates quickly said they would be there, too.
Why the change of heart about an Hispanic debate?
Simon Rosenberg, writing at the progressive NDN website, wonders if the Republicans aren't throwing in the towel of welfare reform:
"Just three days after their 2nd consecutive election where a massive investment in demonizing immigrants did not pay off their Party, the leading GOP Presidential candidates have agreed to participate in [the debate]. There is simply no way to read this action as anything but a national repudiation of their extreme anti-immigrant strategy of recent years, and a desperate attempt to beg the Hispanic community for forgiveness.
"The GOP’s decision to go to
next month is a good one for the country. Let us hope it signals a new era for the Republican Party, one that ends both their demonization of immigrants and their strategy of blocking all common sense immigration reform legislation." Miami
Note further that the Miami debate appears to be a go not because the Republican candidates have a newfound symbiosis with Spanish-speaking voters, but because they didn't want to be one-upped by Thompson. Until proven otherwise, the Republican Party is determinedly white -- and is likely to stay that way.