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National Action Party presidential hopeful Ernesto Cordero visited Baja California on Thursday accompanied by President Felipe Calderón's sister, Luisa María "Cocoa" Calderón. Cordero is seen as the president's candidate, but his sister said she was there on her own accord, backing Cordero because of what she considered to be his exemplary work as finance minister. She noted that Mexico has come through the world financial crisis in a lot better shape than many other Western nations.
Cordero was asked about PAN front-runner Josefina Vázquez Mota's slip on Wednesday, when she gave answers unrelated to questions in a radio interview. She apparently nodded off; her campaign said she was very tired after staying up 48 straight hours prepping for Tuesday's debate. Cordero did not directly answer the question about Vázquez Mota while saying he felt he was the PAN's best choice to run for the president this year. "I have the background to be the best president, albeit not the most popular," he said. He also said he did not think Vázquez Mota, who headed the PAN bloc in the Chamber of Deputies, had fought hard enough for the PAN agenda.
Polls show Cordero far behind in voter preferences in the Feb. 5 PAN election and for the July 1 general election. President Calderón visits Tijuana on Friday, but Cordero said he did not know the president's agenda and said the visit was unrelated to his own.
Update, Jan. 26: Columnist Jorge Fernández Menéndez says that officials in Sonora state, now run by the PAN, appeared to threaten functionaries with the loss of their jobs if they did not vote for Cordero on Feb. 5. His column, in El Mexicano (PDF).
Cocoa Calderón cried foul in her election loss in November, saying she thought organized crime had unduly influenced the vote in which she lost the governorship to former Morelia Mayor Fausto Vallejo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. She said she did not see organized crime's influence in the July 1 presidential election as imminent, but said preventive measures need to be taken.
If the way Cocoa Calderón answered media questions was at all characteristic of her style, one could see how she could have turned off some voters, responding to one reporter by saying, "Mira chiquita."
Update, Dec. 20: El Mexicano's front-page story on Cordero visit (PDF). Jump. Its story on Page A2.
Frontera's two-page interview with Cordero. First page (PDF). Second page. Frontera's story on his visit (PDF). Frontera's political page (PDF).
Update, Feb. 6: Luisa María Calderón said now that Vázquez Mota has won the PAN nomination, she is closing ranks behind the PAN candidate, writing in her Twitter account: "Bien jugado PAN La gente de Michoacán que ha estado con Cordero y yo, estamos incondicionalmente a la orden de Ganadora Vamos x Presidencia."