- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2015

MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews had trouble calling Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz “Hispanic” Wednesday night, preferring instead to call them “Cuban nationals.”

The remarks came during a roundtable discussion about Tuesday night’s Republican primary debate, in which Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel argued that Mr. Cruz was “starting to [attack] Marco Rubio. Didn’t call him out by name but started to preview, you know, you don’t want someone’s who’s soft on immigration and sugar subsidies, for example, ” Newsbusters reported.

“Sugar subsidies are worthy of a presidential debate now,” Mr. Matthews bemused. “I couldn’t believe that last night.”

The host then went on a tangent about how both candidates are of Cuban descent, but he’s not sure if that makes them Hispanic.

“Is [Mr. Cruz] trying to insinuate that Marco Rubio — a fellow Spanish surname, I’m not sure the right word is Hispanic for them, because they are Cuban nationals or whatever, or come from Cuba — but, is he going to insinuate that he is still basically for what he calls amnesty?” he asked Ms. Terkel.

“I think he is. And, I mean Rubio got very, very lucky last night in that he did not have to jump into the immigration debate,” Ms. Terkel responded. “He skated by. He got some slightly easier questions. And you saw Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Donald Trump get in there on immigration. But Rubio didn’t have to do it, but he’s going to have to, obviously.”

The U.S. Census Bureau defines “Hispanic” or “Latino” to refer to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

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