The PAN's tactic has been to turn the tapes (which, to recap, feature Veracruz governor and presidential hopeful Fidel Herrera evidently revealing his own improper involvement in the race to succeed him) into a broader critique of the PRI approach to politics. César Nava said the PAN's challenge was to bring down the PRI's "feudal lords", while Felipe Calderón attacked the "old model" of using public money for electoral ends.
The nature of the Herrera comments stirs up one of the chief worries about the return of the PRI, a worry I mentioned last week: that while the Mexican political landscape has changed, the PRI is the same old gang of dirty tricksters. As such, Nava's and Calderón's comments make for smart politics, though one has to wonder if it will be enough for the PAN candidate to overcome a 20-point deficit in Veracruz.
In response, Enrique Peña Nieto, Manlio Fabio Beltrones (among others) both questioned whether Mexico's intelligence agency, Cisen, was part of the operation to tape Herrera, with the latter also calling upon Calderón to focus his efforts on governing. Beatriz Paredes reaffirmed her prediction that the PRI would take a clean sweep of the 12 gubernatorial races on July 4. PRI deputy leader Francisco Rojas said that the PAN was using illegal methods to attack his party.
In a sense, it's interesting that priísta presidential candidates have leapt to Herrera's defense. You'd think that 2012 was close enough that Herrera being tarred by an explosive scandal, especially one that could potentially trip up the PRI succession in Veracruz, would be good news for anyone who is thinking about a run for Los Pinos.