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Given the chance to debate in English, Shalala says ‘Gracias, pero no’


Donna Shalala complained for weeks that her opponent, a former Spanish-language broadcast journalist, wouldn’t debate her in English.

But when she got the chance to confront Maria Elvira Salazar on Channel 10’s Sunday morning talk show, Shalala was a no-show.

“Donna Shalala is not here sitting across from Maria Elvira Salazar. All we can say is we tried our best for weeks to arrange a legitimate debate here on this program,” said Michael Putney, co-host of This Week in South Florida. “It went back and forth on which dates were accessible.”

Salazar, who’d been chided by Shalala for declining earlier dates to debate in English, got in a shot with her opponent not in the studio.

“I want the viewers to understand that my opponent Mrs. Shalala has been saying that I did not want to debate her in English. We had two debates, one in Telemundo another on Univision. You’re a witness that I texted you right after the primary and I said I was going to be very happy to come and do the first debate, or the only debate in English on this program,” Salazar said to Putney. “What a better forum?”

Shalala didn’t refuse to show, clarified co-host Glenna Milberg. The dates just didn’t work out.