WASHINGTON -- The United States has not elected a president fluent in a language other than English in 84 years.
And in a field of 11 remaining presidential candidates, only two are likely to change that: Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
The last commander in chief who spoke a foreign language fluently was Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected to his first term in 1932, who had been taught French and German since he was a child.
Four of the nation’s earliest presidents were multilingual, educated in classical languages such as Latin and ancient Greek, as well as German, Italian and most importantly French.
In more recent history, the ability to easily communicate in another language has gone from asset to liability. Presidential candidates John Kerry in 2004 and Mitt Romney in 2012 found that speaking fluent French was turned against them by opponents who painted them as elitist – and even worse, European-style – politicians.