The Mitt Romney campaign demanded that Spanish-language television network Univision allow them to bus in their own supporters from around the state to fill seats for last week's forum, according to one of the network's anchors.
The forums were hosted by the University of Miami. Univision anchor and forum moderator Maria Elena Salinas told the website BuzzFeed that both campaigns initially agreed to keep the audience comprised mostly of students.
But when the campaign realized there weren't enough "enthusiastic" and "sympathetic" students to fill the seats - they made tough demands, Salinas said.
Instead of whining about the Romney campaign’s superior showing in Miami, President Obama should explain why his slogan has changed from ‘Yes, we can’ to ‘No, I can’t'.
- Emily Benavides, a Romney Spokesperson
The Romney camp told the network and university that if they weren't given the exemption they may have to "reschedule."
The concessions were made, and Romney enthusiasts were bussed in.
But even after that, according to Salinas, Romney himself almost cancelled the forum minutes before it was scheduled to begin because he had an issue with the introduction made by one of the anchors.
Salinas's co-anchor, Jorge Ramos, said in the introduction to the broadcast that Romney had agreed to sit with Univision for 35 minutes and Obama agreed to give the network a full hour.
Romney allegedly became furious and refused to appear onstage. After negotiating with the Republican candidate, the anchors agreed to make the statement at the end of the broadcast.
Salinas called the entire exchange "awkward."
Observers of the forums pointed out the enthusiasm gap between Romney's Univision appearance and President Barack Obama's. Romney was backed by a crowd that frequently cheered his answers, and booed the moderators asking the questions. Obama's supporters were noticeably less vocal.
Salinas said the Obama camp did not make such demands and allowed for the tickets to be distributed among students.
The Romney campaign insists it received no special treatment and said it just showed how their Hispanic outreach efforts in Florida are working. They said the debacle is an effort to divert attention away from Obama's shaky performance at the forum, where the president said failing to pass immigration reform was the biggest failure of his administration.
"Instead of whining about the Romney campaign’s superior showing in Miami, President Obama should explain why his slogan has changed from ‘Yes, we can’ to ‘No, I can’t,’" said Emily Benavides, a Romney Spokesperson. "President Obama proved unequivocally his policies have been an abject failure by stating he can’t change Washington from inside."