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Knee-jerk reactions to the debate between Tom Tancredo and "Ask a Mexican" Gustavo Arellano

By our count, about 1,600 people watched the debate on immigration between almost-Colorado governor Tom Tancredo and Gustavo Arellano, who writes the "Ask a Mexican" column that appears in Westword each week, on Tuesday night at Su Teatro on Santa Fe. That of course, includes you, our wonderful online readers. After the debate wrapped, we pulled some audience members aside to get their takes. Here's what some of those in attendance had to say:

Knee-jerk reactions to the debate between Tom Tancredo and "Ask a Mexican" Gustavo Arellano

Christie, 32, a registered nurse from Denver:

"I came into this supporting Gustavo, but [Tancredo] didn't come across as much of a fucker compared to what the media portrayed him as."

Knee-jerk reactions to the debate between Tom Tancredo and "Ask a Mexican" Gustavo Arellano

Pauline Olvera, 44, a former small business owner and former Republican candidate for Colorado House District 7, from Denver:

"It really put my theory to work: that for some reason, people hate capitalism, but they come to a capitalist country for the opportunities we offer and it just seemed hypocritical to me," Olvera says. "Obviously [Su Teatro] is a very pro-illegal immigration venue. It's almost a badge of honor. The word 'illegal' means illegal. We're a country of laws."

Knee-jerk reactions to the debate between Tom Tancredo and "Ask a Mexican" Gustavo Arellano

Hanna Johnson, 22, CU Boulder student from Woodside, California:

"I think Tancredo's an all-around jackass," she says. "Because of his positions on immigration, women's rights...

"He said it real pretty tonight. Kudos to him, he's a good speaker. But this is about white people, scared they are less of the majority than they used to be. Some white people, not all white people."

Knee-jerk reactions to the debate between Tom Tancredo and "Ask a Mexican" Gustavo Arellano

Nancy, 46, database administrator from Denver:

"The fact that [Arellano] was bragging about the fact he was an 'anchor baby' really disturbed me," she says. "You could tell the audience was more in favor of [Gustavo.] It was rude. Tom Tancredo is a humanitarian. He's not the type of person who is going to brag about his accomplishments, but when he said it's not about race, he means it. He sponsored the Sudan [Peace Act of 2002.]"

Knee-jerk reactions to the debate between Tom Tancredo and "Ask a Mexican" Gustavo Arellano

Kyle, 21, student at CU Boulder, from Golden

"One of the biggest things I got out of it -- Tancredo really hammered home the economic factors of immigration. The [claim that Tancredo said immigrants refuse to] culturally assimilate, he fell short there."

The debate between Tancredo, a former congressman and candidate for governor in Colorado, and Arellano, the writer behind the "Ask a Mexican" column and managing editor of OC Weekly (Westword's sister paper in Orange County), drew more than 300 people to the theater, while 1,370 watched a live stream of it online.

You can watch the entire debate below (fast-forward to minute 37 to skip the introductions)

Here are a few highlights from the debate: