Luis Fortuño faces obstacles on first day of debate

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Luis Fortuño

Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno speaks to delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

It has been an interesting day for Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño and his campaign.

Tonight will be the first time he faces his opponents in a debate for this election cycle. Five other candidates will join him, including his main rival Alejandro Garcia Padilla, from the Popular Democratic Party (PPD).

The fact that this debate is taking place on the 11th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks has been criticized by El Diario-La Prensa columnist Gerson Borrero, who took to Twitter to express his outrage.

In addition to that, this morning the governor woke up to a new campaign PPD launched against him. The Populares, as they are known in the island, bought the domain name luisfortuno.com, which used to be the governor’s campaign site four years ago, but apparently his campaign let it expire and didn’t renew it. When they noticed, Garcia Padilla’s campaign saw an opportunity and pounced on it.

It cost them $12.17.

Now, Twitter is abuzz with news of this site.

“Not renewing luisfortuno.com, when LF used it in his campaigns in 04-08 is the best example of incompetence. Campaign and government collapsed!” tweeted former governor Anibal Acevedo Vila, a member of PPD, who lost to Fortuño in 2008.

“A campaign that leaves the domain luisfortuno.com free, so the oposition buys it two months before elections, doesn’t work,” tweeted Pablo Jose Hernandez, grandson of former governor Rafael Hernandez Colon and PPD’s most prominent young voice.

Overall, it looks like a legitimate site for Fortuño, even using his slogan, “For Puerto Rico, Fortuño 2012.” The only thing on it right now is a YouTube video that shows officers from the Puerto Rico Police Department dragging students at the controversial University of Puerto Rico protests and making arrests during other protests, interspersed with shots of Fortuño at rallies receiving chants of “four more years”along with superimposed text that reads “Seguimos avanzando” (“We’re moving forward”)the governor posing with natural gas pipelines, local news footage of murder scenes and some government workers being let go from their jobs due to Fortuño’s “Ley 7,” which is a fiscal emergency law that passed in 2009 and is responsible for the dismissal of thousands of public workers.

Luis Fortuño responses

Though Fortuño’s Twitter accountand his party’s accounthave remained silent about this, the governor’s campaign manager, Angel Cintron, confirmed to Puerto Rican press that the site was from the PPD. Cintron said it has never belonged to the governor’s New Progressive Party (PNP). In the YouTube video, Fortuño clearly encouraged the public to visit luisfortuno.com tomorrow at 10 a.m., “so I can continue answering your questions directly,” in footage that is clearly years old.

On top of all this, PPD legislators held a press conference earlier today to say that if Fortuño wins re-election, 30,000 government jobs will be in danger of disappearing. The lawmakers said that this would be a consequence of Fortuño’s Public and Private Alliances, which they say the governor apparently wants to launch in 12 different government agencies if he is re-elected.

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