Democrats' use of Spanish in debate evokes praise, eye rolls

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., second from left, hugs Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., hugs f...
Democratic presidential candidate former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro gestures during a Democratic primary debate hosted by N...
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., gestures as former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro listens, during s...
Democratic presidential candidates former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.,  interrupt each other durin...
From left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, ...

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., second from left, hugs Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., hugs f...

Democratic presidential candidate former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro gestures during a Democratic primary debate hosted by N...

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., gestures as former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro listens, during s...

Democratic presidential candidates former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., interrupt each other durin...

From left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, ...

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some Democratic presidential hopefuls spoke some Spanish during the first televised debate of the 2020 election, evoking praise from some Latino activists and eye rolls from others.

Advocates looking for clues about how candidates would respond to issues facing Latinos saw the Spanish-speaking move Wednesday night as promising and sincere. Critics called the moves "hispandering" — a term used to describe pandering to the Hispanic community.

Their efforts were a testament to the fact that Latinos are on track to be the largest racial or ethnic group eligible to vote in 2020 with 32 million, according to figures from the Pew Research Center.

The candidates who spoke some Spanish were former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, and former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro.