Capitol Alert

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his lieutenant governor nominee Abel Maldonado continued their confirmation fight with legislators this past weekend -- in the parallel universe of international Spanish-language TV news.

Assembly Speaker-elect John A. Pérez, too, was pressed on Maldonado this weekend on Univision television's local Los Angeles channel.

Schwarzenegger went national, talking up embattled nominee Maldonado during an interview with the two that aired Sunday on Al Punto, a Univision broadcast with huge reach in the United States and abroad.

Top Univision anchor Jorge Ramos introduced the pre-recorded segment by describing it as a look at "the difficulty of being Latino and Republican in California."

Most members of the state Assembly's Latino Caucus voted against Maldonado, including Pérez, in a first round of voting on the confirmation Feb. 11.

The governor pulled the nomination and re-submitted it for consideration again last Tuesday.

Before cutting to Schwarzenegger and Maldonado, who were in Los Angeles, Ramos said California is the state with the greatest number of Latinos and undocumented immigrants. He said the governor wants to appoint a Latino lieutenant governor.

"Why won't they let him?" Ramos asked.

A Spanish-language translation of the governor's words had him describing the resistance to Maldonado's nomination in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly as a "political game."

"It's a sad story," Schwarzenegger said, "Latinos actually going after a Latino. I think it was unfair. But we've had good conversations now with the Assembly and their leaders and I hope that very soon they vote again."

Ramos then asked the governor if he thought millions of undocumented workers should be legalized. The governor said: "We need an immigration reform. Living in denial of this or being blind to this is worse for us."

Maldonado went on to say, speaking in Spanish to Ramos, "Obviously, one of the most important issues for our community is immigration."

"When I'm lieutenant governor of California," Maldonado said, "I'm going to have somewhat of a bigger microphone, and I guarantee you, Jorge, I'm going to emphasize and talk a lot about the immigration question."

On the Los Angeles station, Maldonado told a reporter that he had spoken with Pérez and was "more comfortable" that a vote might go forward again soon.

The reporter also interviewed Pérez, ticking off some votes Maldonado cast as a state legislators that the reporter said were supported by many in the Latino community.

Maldonado voted for in-state tuition for undocumented college students, the reporter said, and for a minimum-wage increase and driver's licenses for undocumented workers.

Pérez, in Spanish, replied, "yes, those are some examples" of voting for the community's interests, "but they are only a few."

"I haven't arrived at the point where I'm comfortable voting for him," Pérez said. "He has to explain to me how I can get to that point."

"We now have to focus on this theme." "



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