Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Democratic nominee for governor, gave a cringeworthy, stumbling response at a town hall event over the weekend. When asked how the Latino community of Arizona has impacted her, her answer was, translated, "practicing my Spanish, a little."
The question was asked at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Forum in Phoenix, Arizona, where Hobbs and her Republican opponent Kari Lake made separate appearances as campaign season winds to a close ahead of the Nov. 8 election. Moderator Leon Krauze asked Hobbs what she has learned from the Latino community after she described being impacted by them as a lifelong Arizonian.
"Today, today you said that growing up in Arizona, you have seen and heard how impactful the migrant community, talking about the Hispanic community, has been. Let me ask you, how has it impacted you personally? What have you learned, specifically learned, from the Latino community?" Krauze asked.
"Oh, that's a great question. Um, I don't necessarily, uh, think about it in that way, in those terms. I think I really value my relationships across the board with different folks, and I learn all the time from people in my life," Hobbs replied.
She continued: "My sister-in-law, she is Latino, and her family — I love hanging out with them and practicing my español, un poquito. So, but yeah, I’ve learned so much from her family, but I think it’s really hard to separate out Arizona and subtract Latino culture because it’s so much a part of who we are as a state, and I ... Arizona wouldn’t be Arizona without what the Latino community brings."
The moderator was unimpressed with Hobbs' español.
"So there is not one specific lesson you can share, other than the español?" Krauze followed-up and Hobbs laughed nervously. "It’s one-third of the state," he said.
"Uh, yes, absolutely. I mean, I think there's many lessons. The emphasis on family values, hard work," she said. "Those are, those are something that I value in my own life, and, you know, it's something that I respect."
The Republican National Committee picked up on her comments and mocked her.
"Arizona Democrat governor nominee Katie Hobbs with no answer about what she has learned from the Latino community, probably because she hasn’t spent time with them," RNC Latinos tweeted.
"Katie Hobbs is the Kamala Harris of Arizona," GOP senatorial candidate Blake Masters said, swiping at both Hobbs and Vice President Kamala Harris, who has a remarkable talent for using many words to say nothing at all.