Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) called on Spanish-language broadcast network Univision to conduct an investigation of allegations that the channel published a decades-old story about a drug bust on Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) brother before he will attend a January debate hosted by the network.
"Newt has always enjoyed his appearances on Univision. He believes the scheduled Univisi on debate on January 29, 2012 is an important opportunity for Latinos to hear the conservative message of economic opportunity and pro-family values," Gingrich communications director Joe DeSantis said in a statement Wednesday. "However, the reports of extortion tactics by Univision against Senator Rubio are disturbing, especially since they cite sources within the news agency. They must be addressed in a satisfactory manner before Newt will consider appearing at the debate."
Gingrich's statement is in line with similar ones from competing Republican presidential candidates former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, businessman Herman Cain, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who have threatened to boycott the January 29, 2012 debate unless Univision apologizes for the story.
The accusations from Univision came from a trio of Florida Republican lawmakers who charge that the channel published the story after Rubio refused to sit down for an interview with the channel's "Al Punto" show. Univision has denied the allegations.
Rubio has often been touted as the most likely Republican to be picked for the 2012 Republican vice presidential spot on the ticket despite Rubio's repeated denials that he would not be picked.
In the same statement DeSantis said Gingrich had great respect for Rubio.
"Newt Gingrich has the utmost respect and admiration for Senator Rubio. They worked together on the 100 Ideas for Florida’s Future campaign before he became Speaker of the Florida House," DeSantis said. "Newt stands with Marco and with all those who understand the need for a vigilant but ethical news media."