Reporters overlooked a news nugget relating to U.S. border security from one of the 10 participants in Tuesday's 90-minute televised GOP presidential debate:
Only two miles of fence have been constructed since President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act seven months ago, exclaimed Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.).
He worked in that bit of information in one of his limited responses to questions from a Fox News Channel panel.
Grumpy Editor notes that revelation zoomed over the heads of all print, radio and TV folks writing or commenting on the debate from Columbia, S.C. No news person in the "spin room" for one-on-one interviews following the debate sought amplification or follow up (even a simple "why?") from Hunter.
The Secure Fence Act authorized construction of a fence along one third of the 2,100- mile U.S. border with Mexico.
When the bill was signed last Oct. 26, the White House hailed it as "an important step forward in our nation's efforts to control our borders."
Before signing the measure, President Bush declared, "Unfortunately, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise." Then he added, "We have a responsibility to address these challenges. We have a responsibility to enforce our laws. We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility seriously."
The fence mention came up again yesterday, however, in connection with reshaping of immigration laws being debated in Congress. On Lou Dobbs Tonight, Ed Henry, CNN's White House correspondent, interviewed Hunter who said the president was surprised when informed that only two miles of fence has been erected.