CHETRY: Well, joining me here in New York this morning is Kety Esquivel. She is a Christian progressive blogger and the founder of the blog crossleft.org.
Thanks for being with us today.
KETY ESQUIVEL, FOUNDER OF CROSSLEFT.ORG: My pleasure.
CHETRY: Good to see you. You know, a lot of people talk about getting out the Latino vote. A lot of people associate Latino votes with immigration. But you have a chance in your blog to communicate daily with Latinos around the country.
What are some of the biggest concerns, if you can boil it down?
ESQUIVEL: Of course. Well, the Latino community is definitely interested in the immigration issue that the candidates are speaking to. But there are many other issues that are also important to our community.
There are issues that are important to the American population as a whole. Issues of the economy, issues of education, health care, et cetera. We, at the sanctuary, a group of Latino bloggers came together to put together a survey speaking to all of these different issues of interest to our community.
CHETRY: You're listening very closely to what the candidates have to say about these issues. You have not taken a position yet? You're not supporting or endorsing either one of the candidate so far, correct?
ESQUIVEL: Exactly. Right.
CHETRY: I understand that you guys did send in a questionnaire, though, with a lot of questions about issues that are important to Latino voters. You're still waiting to hear back.
ESQUIVEL: Exactly, yes. We are waiting and we are a little bit frustrated because with all of the energy that both campaigns have been putting into trying to garner the Latino vote, for them not to respond, creates a pause for us, you know. We are wondering why aren't they responding. Why the silence?
CHETRY: So you sent this out at the end of June. You're still waiting for a respond. So, it hasn't been a month yet. So you're going to give them a little bit more time to get back to you about some of those issues.
ESQUIVEL: That's correct. And we're hopeful that -- you know, we were reported actually in "The Wall Street Journal" blog, through here, this conversation on CNN, that the candidates will be looking and listening and that they will respond so that we actually have specific policies as well as the lip service that they've been paying to us today.
CHETRY: All right. Well, they certainly been at least trying to get out there and get the Latino vote. They spoke to the National Council of La Raza. It's one of the country's largest Hispanic organizations.
And Senator Obama actually accused Senator McCain of backing down on immigration reform for political reasons. Let's hear what McCain's response was to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: At a moment of great difficulty in my campaign, when my critics said it would be political suicide for me to do so, I helped author with Senator Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform and fought for its package, not once but twice.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHETRY: It really did almost cost him supporting this, which included some pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. It almost cost him the Republican nomination. Is that resonating with Latino voters that he tried?
ESQUIVEL: I think that our community is very interested in what both of these candidates have to say as it relates to the undocumented workers. And specifically, John McCain is a candidate that we're watching very interestingly because there's been some differences in so far as what he stated as it relates to immigration, as it relates to things such as the Dream Act.
And so, for us, it's very important to see consistency. So, what he says to us we're hoping that he will also say to the general electorate. Therefore, when he's in office, hopefully he will be having the positive stances that he stated in such conferences such as the National Council of La Raza, which has just happened.
CHETRY: Yes. On paper it seems that he and Barack Obama actually have a quite similar plan. They talk about border security first. They talk about some pathway to citizenship. They talk about many things as it relates to immigration.
Yet, Barack Obama is, at least in the latest polling, he's got 60 percent of the Hispanic vote to McCain's 30 percent in a recent poll. Why is he seeming to have a much more Latino support?
ESQUIVEL: Well, I think one of the things that has given us pause as a community has been the flip-flopping, has been him going back and forth on different issues that are important to our community. So if, for example, he says to our community in a closed- door room meeting --
CHETRY: You're talking about McCain here?
ESQUIVEL: Correct. If he says to us one thing, we want to be able to see that that's the same thing that he thinks the American populace as a whole. Unfortunately, we haven't seen that consistency. And that's I think what's giving a lot of people pause.
Also, Obama has been stating that he's very interested in the Latino vote and we're very interested in hearing back from his campaign with specifics as it relates to policies. That's really what we're going to gauge -- what our response will be when it comes to the '08 election.
CHETRY: All right. Very interesting. Kety Esquivel, the Christian progressive blogger of crossleft.org. Thanks for being with us this morning.
ESQUIVEL: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.