« States' rights? RNC punishes Florida GOP with second-class hotel rooms, etc. for early primary | Main | Dems push gun ban in child care centers, public buildings »

Mitt Romney: Learn English -- but vote for me, por favor

Mitt Romney, with a little help from one of his sons and several Cuban-American backers, put out his first Spanish-language television ad Wednesday in a direct appeal to Miami-Dade County's influential Hispanic Republicans. 

It's not the first time Romney tries to speak to Hispanic voters in their language. For Romney's 2008 presidential campaign, the same son, Craig, recorded a Spanish-language radio spot for South Florida, and a TV ad called Mi Padre, My Father. (The younger Romney, who is apparently bilingual, even offered to translate for Dad at a Spanish-language Univisión debate.)

So Romney campaigns in two languages. But he has distanced himself from bilingualism in the past.

In a 2007 interview, he touted Massachusetts's move from bilingual education to "English immersion," saying "to be successful in America, you have to learn the language of America." (See video here.) The same year, he told the Union Leader in New Hampshire -- a state not exactly chock full of Latinos -- "We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada." (See a blurb from an editorial from the conservative Boston Herald on the matter here, though you have to pay to read the full piece, which is very short).

Romney took flak during his 2008 campaign for airing Spanish-language ads while calling for an emphasis on using English. "I'm not anti-immigrant," Romney told a New Hampshire audience in 2007, according to the Chicago Tribune. "I'm happy to communicate to them and I hope they vote for me."

Many Hispanics, particularly conservative Cuban Americans, agree that immigrants should learn English (at least, that's a frequent comment made on conservative radio talk shows in...Spanish). Yet the larger issue Romney faces is not defending English-versus-Spanish but balancing his position on immigration.

As Romney released his Spanish-language TV ad in South Florida, his campaign touted the endorsement of Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state who pushed for illegal immigration crackdowns in his state and, most famously, in Arizona. "Kris has been a true leader on securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into this country," Romney said in the endorsement press release.

The endorsement will likely play well in South Carolina and among conservatives in Florida. But it's a tougher sell in more liberal Miami-Dade. The Cuban-Americans featured in Romney's ads are already at odds with their candidate over his opposition to the pro-immigrant DREAM Act.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Strange N. Stranger

For more information about Mormonism and how it would affect Romney in the White House, see the blog at http://mittromneycult.blogspot.com/

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2011/12/tea-partier-leaves-newt-gingrich-campaign-after-calling-mormonism-a-cult.html#storylink=cpy


If you go to any spanish country you are made to speak their language. If you go to any other country in the world, you must speak the country's language -french, german, italian, whatever the language of that country is.
Why is it that in the US we don't expect people to speak english? I don't see any thing wrong with that.
I do, however, see something extremely wrong with our immigration laws, especially under the Obama administration.
In the last 30 YEARS! I have never seen such hatred for Latinos, and, persecution equalled to the persecution of black americans in MLK's times.


Why Mitt Romney is not an Every Man or an Average Joe and Never Will Be


I grew up with a lot of children of immigrants, and am the daughter-in-law of one. In my experience, the immigrant parents spoke mostly their own language, and their English was merely passable. Their children spoke their parent's language, and English, perfectly. The valedictorian and salutatorian of my high school were both Polish-speakers who learned English outside the home. Then the grandchildren speak English, and usually speak little or none of the grandparent's language.
Learning a second language as an adult, well enough to be fluent, is very, very difficult, and most people struggle with it. And I notice that most people criticizing Hispanics for their imperfect English don't speak any second language, at all, at all.
The idea that helping kids who speak Spanish at home will result in a bilingual country is ridiculous. We've absorbed numerous ethnic groups. It takes a couple of generations, but it always happens, and it will happen this time.
Not that it would hurt Americans to learn a second language rather than expecting everybody else to be able to talk to us. Old joke: What do you call a person who speaks two languages? Bilingual. Three languages? Trilingual. One language? American.

The comments to this entry are closed.