Como Se Dice? Obama Clarifies Comments Over Foreign Languages

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat Jul 12 20:21:39 UTC 2008

Como Se Dice? Obama Clarifies Comments Over Foreign Languages
 Share July 11, 2008 1:22 PM

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: Sen. Barack Obama reiterated his
belief Friday that America's children to learn a foreign language,
firing back against criticism he received from some conservative
groups who suggested the Illinois senator wanted to make the United
States a bilingual country.

Speaking in Powder Springs, GA on Tuesday Obama told the crowd that
it's embarrassing when Europeans come to the US and they all speak
English. By comparison, Obama said, America's young people do not have
matching language skills.

"All we can say is merci beacoup," Obama said. "We should be
emphasizing foreign languages in our schools from an early age."

The statements prompted outrage from some conservative groups who
argued his remarks were an endorsement of the idea that Americans
should be forced to learn Spanish.  Americans for Legal Immigration
PAC posted Obama's comments on their website with the headline:
"Voters Reject Obama's Call for Bilingualism."

At a town hall in Dayton, Ohio the presumptive Democratic nominee
attempted to explain his statements, blasting the interpretation of
his original remarks.

Obama brought it up while speaking about how the Bush administration's
"No Child Left Behind" education policy has forced schools to cut
programs like foreign languages.

"I said something the other day down in Georgia, and the Republicans
jumped on this. I said, you know, absolutely immigrants need to learn
English, but we also need to learn foreign languages," he said Friday.

Obama told the crowd that this is one of the problems with politics today.

"This is an example of some of the problems we get into when somebody
attacks you for saying the truth, which is we should want children
with more knowledge. We should want our children to have more skills.
There's nothing wrong with that! It's a good thing," he said.

While the Obama campaign says that Obama speaks a little bit of
Indonesian, Obama himself admits that he isn't bilingual.

"I know because I don't speak a foreign language. It's embarrassing!" he said.

The Obama campaign reiterated Friday that Obama would continue to
require immigrants to learn English to be eligible for citizenship.

"Senator Obama has always said that learning English is an important
step for immigrants to the United States and would make it a
requirement for citizenship, but he also believes that learning a
foreign language is an enriching experience for young people in this
country," said Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki.

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list