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The Democrats, Lost in Translation

Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel usually plays the angry man role at the Democratic presidential debates. But on Sunday, it was New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson vs. Univision, the Spanish language network that sponsored one of the odder debates of the primary campaign.

"And I do want to say at this point that I was under the impression that in this debate Spanish was going to be permitted because I've always supported Univision all my career, but I'm disappointed today that 43 million Latinos in this country, for them not to hear one of their own speak Spanish -- (applause) -- is unfortunate," Richardson said. "In other words, Univision has promoted English only in this debate."

He then began speaking in Spanish, only to get cut off by the moderators. "The rules that the seven candidates have accepted for this debate is that everyone is going to communicate in English," one responded, "and everything would be translated into Spanish. Thank you very much."

The rebuke didn't stop the governor and only Latino candidate from speaking in Spanish. In the press room after the debate, both Richardson and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the only other fluent Spanish speaker of the seven candidates, both answered question after question in Spanish.

While picking this fight on camera allowed Richardson to speak more about his heritage, Univision had informed the candidates months before the debate answers would be in English and reminded them repeatedly before the debate, when Dodd and Richardson both started speaking in Spanish while testing their microphones. If Richardson had gotten his wish to speak Spanish, it's unlikely Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would have showed up to the debate in the first place, defeating the purpose for Richardson.

The format of the debate made it a bit complicated: moderators asked questions in Spanish for the television audience, which were translated into earpieces in the candidates' ears and on screens for 3,000 people in the basketball gym where the debate took place. Then the questions would be answered in English in the room, translated into Spanish for the Univision audience. Obama seemed to have the most trouble. During one of his answers his earpiece was fallilng out and he continually struggled to put it back in.

--Perry Bacon Jr.

By Post Editor  |  September 10, 2007; 9:47 AM ET
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I cannot believe some of the things I read.

1) People defending a language they clearly can't write. (I have been in this country for 25 years, and was 22 when I arrived with my Spanish under my belt)

2) English has never been the official language of the United States. The constitution does not specify an official language, please, go read your own constitution, so-called patriots.

3) Illegal immigrants and resident aliens DO NOT HAVE THE VOTE under the constitution of the USA. In order to vote, one has to be either a citizen by birth, or a naturalized citizen. Logic anyone? How could these candidates be pandering to illegal immigrant votes? They would be wasting their time on the disenfranchised.

4) How many monolingual English speakers actually watch UNIVISION? (the answer is the deaf ones) The most reasonable thing would have been to provide English translation for the candidates who could not be expected to perform as Spanish Speakers, and a sign language interpreter. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN FAIR, not the idiocy of making candidates who speak the language as natives go through the ridiculous translation. That actually makes those candidates, the Spanish Speaking ones, look like idiots to the Spanish Speaking audience.

5) Someone said above, and I quote:
"This is not Mexico, or Puerto Rico, or Costa Rica, or anywhere other than the United States of America."
Duh! have you checked lately? I am saying this because Puerto Rico actually qualifies as US territory, even if it is not a State. Puerto Ricans are considered citizens. Their language is SPANISH, even if they also speak English (most of them have a Spanish accent, of course, because their native language is NOT English). They are not immigrants and their NATIVE language is Spanish. How can you say that English is the Only language for Americans? What about Hawaii? Is it a State or not? What is the native language of Hawaiians, pray tell? Aloha, my friends!

6) A native language cannot be left at any door. Have any of you English speaking bigots tried it? I mean, what you propose is that immigrants should dispose of the language they grew up with? a person's native language is part of who the person is. It is imprinted in everything you think and do. A person can learn other languages, of course, but he or she cannot, by will, eliminate language. Check it out, try to get rid of your native language, let's see how far you get.

7) To the one who quoted Rosseveldt: Did you know that the US has treaties with several countries that allow for dual citizenship? A lot of Italians in the US have two passports, it is legal, it is just, and it is perfectly normal. Nobody died, nothing broke. Italy does not require even a day of residence or any knowledge of the language to grant heritage citizenship. The only requirement is that you enter the country with the italian passport and carry it while in Italy. Citizenship, in most countries that grant it, does not require a language test. Where a language is used as a unifying language, there are free courses offered to immigrants that help them to learn it. (some countries even offer financial support to help in the transition time) Are you going to tell me that Italy is desintegrating? They have lived with I do not even know how many languages for centuries and are still going strong. Israel is also a country with so many languages one can hardly list them all. Dual citizenship is also possible in their case.

Could you find a more stable country than Switzerland? Four official languages thrive there: German, French, Italian, Swiss. Hmmmm.
The European Union packages have at least five languages in them (in very small print) including greek. Nobody has actually suffered any strokes from this (I doubt they read the packages no matter what language they might be in).

8)Most developed countries these days (among these, many Latin American countries)have different language broadcasts in their cable offerings (cable is dirt cheap too). I was recently back in my native country, whose constitution does indeed have a provision for an official language, and until very recently, the religion the president had to be in order to be a viable candidate. I was very pleased to see there broadcasts from CNN (Kept up with current events in the US), the BBC, Italy (the language of my father which I also speak, thanks to his inability to get rid of it, like some of you propose) France (a language I studied and can read quite well) German (couple of words, that is all I can do there) Portuguese (I understand it) and English (lots of English series with subtitles in Spanish) How many foreign movies have you seen lately on your American TV?

In Spain, there are local broadcasts in all the regional languages (Catalan, Galician, Basque, etc.) By the way, Spain is thriving now that Franco (who wanted to ban regional languages in favor of Spanish) died and his regime of terror with him. (By the way, a salute to the selfless Lincoln Brigades who fought and died, unsuccessfully, there to defend the right of people to be who they were and speak their own language, which they can do today)

I can only wish that American Spanish broadcasts where as good as those broadcasts I had the delight of watching on Cable in my country of origin (I will never tell you which country it is, because it is not that unusual in the other countries in L. AM). Univisión and Telemundo are really the worst of the worst. I am ashamed to have to recommend to my students these broadcasts, but unfortunately, that is all we have got in the States (cable is not an option for some, so it has to be open broadcast)

I am afraid that the country that would make the American Bigotry happy no longer exists: Does Nazi Germany ring a bell?
That is the country that favored one language, one race, one culture... and the extermination of all others. So, please, if the Aryan nation is your ideal place to live, get on a time machine, and I hope there is no jewish, gipsy or slavic blood in your heritage.

Your fathers and grandfathers who fought against nazi Germany should disown you. You really desecrate their memory and efforts spouting the ideology of the Reich and trying to impose it on the rest of us, proud Americans, friends of freedom, understood as the freedom to be who we are or want to be and speak any language we please. Freedom to welcome people from any place and offer them a home, without making them second class citizens. (bring me your huddle masses?)

By the way, who cleans your kids bottoms? Who takes care of your parents? Who cooks your food and cleans your houses? who takes care of you manicured lawns? who picks your salad and the berries that you put in your smoothies? Why are these foods so cheap?
Who makes your clothes? Why are they so cheap?

Who makes your toys?

Enslave them first and then kick them out, that seems to be your policy.

You should kiss the ground they walk on.

Do you pay regular wages or do you take advantage of the people you are so fond of deriding but cannot live without.
Get a reality check once in a while.

PS: Millions of young English-Speaking college kids contradict your racist attitudes. They are collapsing Spanish departments everywhere in the United States.
Today, Spanish is the most populated class in the United States. I should know, I have seen the numbers rise from year to year. They can't get enough of it. Should they go back to Mexico? Oh wait, they were born here, in the Good Old USA!
Some of them are amazingly good speakers.
It also broadens their mind (any other language would do as well) and saves them from becoming monolingual bigots.

Let's see. I came to this country with two years of undergraduate work. I went to public schools in my country. I knew Latin, Greek, had studied English and French, could talk quite fluently about the literature of my language. Had read Dickens, Moliere, Mark Twain and Dante, in their original languages. I was a well rounded person in my city no more, lots of people were better educated than I was, by far)My grades in school were just about average (maybe a B)
When I got to High School (sorry, I meant private college) in the States, I suddenly became a genius by comparison. My classmates were asking me to correct their papers in English. I also became a popular study partner in History of the United States (I actually knew some, I had to know world history in school, and that included US history. How many of you know anything about Latin American history?)
While my born and bred classmates lived in a drunken stupor (my nickname back then was "half a beer" because I never actually finished the first bottle of it) not going to class, failing classes, and all this with financial aid and mom and dad's money, I paid for my education with my work (yes, I cleaned houses and wiped bigot parent's kids' bottoms for next to nothing (and change). I graduated Magna Cum.
I was admitted to a nice private university that has more Nobel Prize winners than sense (or so I thought at the time), where I was given a scholarship to pursue graduate studies. I have never received one penny from Social Security or Public Aid. I work today 70 hour weeks, and pay my student loans religiously.
I am not exceptional. Every person I know who is an immigrant in this country does exactly that and has more or less a similar story to tell. They study hard or they work hard. Those who did not have the privilege I was given of a good solid education, are hard working people who will not wriggle their noses at honest back-breaking work. They have known that, and worst. in their country of origin and are not afraid to pursue a dream for themselves and their kids. (I am not an elitist, I know people from very different backgrounds)

It is the rich Americans that get welfare (for the rich there is never a shortage of that) We, the working stiffs, pay our dues religiously, citizens or otherwise. So what is it, again, that we are leeching? I didn't quite get that.

HMMM... I did not have to study one bit for the exams when I became a citizen, actually, I learned all that in High School in my poor, uneducated, wetback, lazy, backward latin american country. It seems really weird to realize that many of you could not even get a passing grade if you had to become citizens in your own country under your own rules, particularly in the history and government one (If points 1-5 should be proof of it).

I speak Spanish every day, and proudly so. I speak it with my janitor, with the bus boy at the restaurant (I never get a dirty glass and water comes to me with a smile) I speak it with my students. I speak it with my colleagues. I speak it in the bus, at the market, in the elevator, on the street, and with anyone who will respond to my HOLA! with a smile. A lot of Native English Speakers speak Spanish fluently nowadays, and are very happy and willing to use me as a practice coach. I was lectured once on the joys of Spanish poetry by a doctor who was operating on me, and as he sutured (I bear no scar from that operation, other than a sweet memory and a very amusing anecdote), he shocked me by reciting the verses of one of my favorit Federico García Lorca's poems. He was an american native English Speaker. We recited in stereo to the amusement of the attending who could not believe his ears (or understand a word of it) and found the whole thing quite amusing.

Nowadays, being an American means, English, apple pie, baseball, and Spanish.

José, can you seeee...?

GIMME A BREAK PEOPLE. Take a good look at what comes out of your keyboards, it is starting to sound a lot like something very nasty. Your dictatorial ways are umbecoming of your country's ideals. I would go as far as to say that they actually betray them. Do not be traitors (Treason is a federal offense, by the way).

and Have a great day!

Posted by: marcela | September 26, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Both sign language & braille are two other acceptable ways of
communicating in America. The Indiginous tongues are another.
Why is not Chris Dodd being taken to task for learning Spanish ?
Yes ? last time I looked the OXFORD DICTIONARY is the ENGLISH authority !!

Posted by: Markangelo | September 11, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

If you do not like the candidate, or the topic, or the television station, or the language, you do not need to listen to them. And you do not need to vote for them. We only listen to a selected fraction of the political debate that is in English, and that fraction we select on very personal criteria. I do not see how someone speaking Spanish is a threat to anybody. Including me, and my language is English.

Posted by: deflath | September 11, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Markangelo.."English belongs to Britain, not Us!"????? Ye Gods, what a stupid comment. I can only conclude that the Progressive Education Crowd left American History off the class schedule. (Or perhaps you didn't bother to read the books). America was doing very well with the contributions of immigrants that CHOSE to assimilate. Now we have the crowds that wants to demand that their culture be predominate.This includes others than just the Hispanics. All of the "rights" without the responsibities! Take over what others have built, like leeches do. NO WAY_______.vltg

Posted by: vltg | September 11, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The real problem is that spanish already is an unofficial tongue
in the USA used widely in myriad parts of the country in business
& pleasure. It is surely not going away & certainly not as fearful
to freedom as many anglos believe.

Anyway freedom of speech did not define the language.

ENGLISH belongs to BRITAIN not US

Posted by: Markangelo | September 11, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Gee, jeffislouie, if you're a Repubican, you should be the absolute last person to complain about single-issue voters. If it weren't for masses of brain-dead evangelicals living in mobile homes and voting Republican solely because of your candidates' ceaseless demagoguery on abortion and gay rights, your right-wing nutjobs would never win! I really don't think arguing for a more informed, less single-issue electorate is in your interest. Pathetic, by the way, that the fact that your the GOP had declared war on your gay friend didn't move you to question the GOP. Enjoy that privilege that your straightness gives you.

Posted by: uh_huhh | September 11, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

You know what bugs me?
That this debate focused on illegal immigration.
Is this the only issue spanish speakers care about anymore?
Sort of like the gay vote. Single issue voters are the problem in this country, not the solution.
If a candidate was for open immigration, but wanted to blow up Iran, these yutz' would vote for them.
Sort of like the gay vote.
I have a friend that is gay and wanted to vote for Kerry because she disapproved of his stance on homosexuality.
Asking her about other things, she just didn't care.
War in Iraq? Don't care. Gay rights.
Abortion? Don't care. Gay rights.
Economic policy? Don't care. Gay rights.
Education? Don't care. Gay rights.
Now, a similar trend is popping up over illegal immigration.
How sad.

Posted by: jeffislouie | September 11, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

This is America and our language is English. Why do the debate in Spanish? To vote, you need to be a citizen, and citizenship should come with the requirement of being proficient in our language. Many other countries require this. I am a 1st generation American on my father's side (Swedish), and 4th generation on my mother's side (German). There were large numbers of those peoples coming here at those times, and they didn't expect the whole country to change their ways for them. They learned the language and assimilated. I'm proud of my roots, but I'm an American first and foremost. Those that want everything in Spanish, need to go back to a Spanish-speaking country, not expect us to change for them. It was their decision to come here. We didn't carry them across the border kicking and screaming. I welcome the people from Hispanic countries, but leave your language at the border and assimilate like all our other immigrants have.

Posted by: jkarpiscak | September 11, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I like the part where the illegals don't pay taxes on their income but get to benefit from the taxes I pay on mine. To me there is no difference between these people sneaking into my country than if they were sneaking into my house...except that in PA if someone breaks into your house you can kill them....Legally.
The Mexicans that come here are the ones the other Mexicans don't want. Were not getting their doctors lawyers and architects, we're
getting the scraps... who some how think we owe them something.

Posted by: HARRYP | September 11, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Lingua anglica utendum est. Quae pars nihil comprehendis non?

Posted by: MoeGoldberg | September 11, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson wants to be President? The rest area on the highway between Alamogordo and Las Cruces are gravel pull-offs with two port-a-poties (really). When entering NM from TX on Hwy 82 the speed limit drops from 70 to 55, cause the NM 82 is near 3rd world quality. Recently, electrical service was off for a day in the SE part of the state. The truck bringing the replacement part from the northern part of the state got a flat tire. And, there's a state income tax in a very poor state to begin with. Bill should stay home and take care of NM.

Posted by: lpcary | September 11, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

What I don't get is why some folks want to call anyone who believes that America needs a common language "racist" or "bigoted." What's bigoted or racist about holding a well established political principle, namely that national unity is greatly aided by a common language? I'm getting tired of the arrogance of those spanish speaking folks who think their language is somehow more important than everyone else's. America is a land of immigrants who have come here from all over the globe to become part of the better life we call the "American dream." Most of us have our roots in lands that spoke a different language, but our families put their languages aside to become part of this country. It helped us unify as a people and gave our children new opportunities. What is so difficult about that to understand? I fear that those who don't bother assimilating do their children a great disservice and put them on a path to lower paying jobs and a less satisfying life here. If spanish speaking immigrants aren't interested in becoming part of the culture of the United States of America, and instead wish to reconstruct their native culture here, then perhaps they need to rethink their decision to come here. This is not Mexico, or Puerto Rico, or Costa Rica, or anywhere other than the United States of America. If this kind of divisiveness continues, it may someday lead to another civil war, something I thought we had outgrown long ago.

Posted by: mdatpi | September 11, 2007 4:46 AM | Report abuse

I live in Thailand. It is amazing how many Americans who do live overseas DO NOT learn the local language (I have lived in Spain, China and Thailand, I speak all 3). What stands out to me is that some of the expats around me will spout out about the English in America thing and they struggle to accurately order a meal in the local language in the country they immigrated to. So what is the real issue? Not liking the competition of another way of thinking and living. People want to think that their view of reality is actually reality, and not just a glimpse of it. By having OTHERS close at hand who do not function the same way, there is a real sense of threat, legitimate or not.
by the way, I think English should be the official language of the US (even though it is a really messy language) but that the vitriol is not necessary. it is a practical issue, not a deep existential crisis.

Posted by: russelltrip | September 11, 2007 4:32 AM | Report abuse

It is not that I don't like the Spanish language.... It's just that except for Mexican food, it's like they have a different word for everything else.....

Mike Peery
White Oak, Texas

Posted by: wp | September 11, 2007 2:46 AM | Report abuse

luvstosurf ... Okay, I guess I could ask, are you one of those left-leaning people that pretends to be, for example, a teacher so that you sound neutral? Hey, I have no document that says I graduated college with a D+ ... but I am indegent (sic - on purpose) enough to know an incomplete sentence when I see one. Probably the best thing you can do is not ignite the other debate in this country. You know, the one about whether or not our educators are competent?

While I'm at it, regarding English being the language of monarchial maniacs in Britain, you have profoundly demonstrated that you would best serve your loyalties by not speaking at all. Since obviously you do not know very common, basic history, let me inform you: Spanish is not the native language of Central or South America. Rather, it is the language of conquistadors. The direct translation of conquistador from Spanish to English is ... conqueror. Conquistadors: those would be the guys sent by the throne of ... yep, Spain. Hence, "Spanish."

So ... what exactly did you mean when you said, "It is a conquering tongue spoken by subjugated populaces bowing to the crown?"

Louis Wischnewsky
Magnolia, TX

Posted by: justlivinganotherdayinparadise | September 11, 2007 2:01 AM | Report abuse

So typical...

Richardson's pathetic attempt to circumvent the rules of the debate in a shameless attempt to pander to the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in this country, along with several of the comments posted here about this story, prove without a modicum of doubt that the collective stupidity of the liberal Democrat Party is overshadowed ONLY by their mind numbing intellectual dishonesty.

Posted by: mykl7161 | September 11, 2007 1:35 AM | Report abuse

I guess the dork should head south and he can speak all the spanish he desires. Problem solved.

Posted by: dougx | September 11, 2007 1:18 AM | Report abuse

I am a naturalized US citizen from India.

I speak Hindi at HOME.

I was disappointed to see UNIVISION providing only a Spanish translation of the debate.

A truly FAIR network would have provided the translation into Hindi, chinese, viernamese, swahili, urdu, farsi, russian, polish,........

Those RACIST bastards at Univision!

Posted by: vatodio | September 11, 2007 1:18 AM | Report abuse

lovtosurf, apparently George Carlin was right. Those who can't do teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym.

Brian Bartling WI

Posted by: btbart | September 11, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Theodore Roosevelt on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt

Posted by: djromero13 | September 11, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

The tittle is Lost in Translation because it is painfully obvious that the democrats are trying to gain votes from the millions of illegals in the country and put themselves through hoops to cater to this audience, which shouldn't even be in the country.

If I were the other non-spanish candidates I would be pitching an absolute fit, and might of even walked off the debate. They don't follow the rules, to keep things fair, why bother? To clarify i mean the spanish-speaking candidates and the moderators not enforcing their ruling.

Posted by: mark_gurganus | September 11, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Nobody seems to observe the largest non-sequitur in this event. Democrats are holding presidential debates to inform voters who cannot speak English. If you can't speak English, you either are not legally able to vote because you are not a citizen or your citizenship was given to you via some sort of exemption (like the campaign in 1996 by Clinton to naturalize millions of new 'voters' for him before November).

Do we really want people voting you cannot understand the debates which are occurring because they can only watch one television station? Its well known that in the large cities and throughout southern california that citizenship is an unnecessary qualification for voting in elections since it is illegal to even ask somebody about their citizenship when registering them to vote. (despite voting illegally being a felony. A felony which has yet to be enforced in CA)

Why not just skip past the posturing and open up a DNC office in Tijuana, Chihuahua and Mexico City? Bush doesn't have any US Attorneys who will prosecute voting fraud and your chances are better of keeping it that way with a few hundred thousand extra votes from Mexico (since we all know who they will be voting for) next November.

And I note that the democrat party has yet to have a debate for the anti-religious segment of their party. They already done blacks, gays, enviros, unions, hispanics and the teachers unions. Where is the love for the atheists who vote dem every other year? (btw, I'm all for the suicide which is this new special interest debate set up. It's going to virtually guarantee no democrat candidate will be able to get back to the center after the primary is over.)

Posted by: bpjam | September 10, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Know this..English is the universal language..the language of commerce...of international aviation, of finance...of progress...of success. It is the language most studied by non-English speaking students around the world.

Now we have all these liberal white people preaching to Mexicans that they have the absolute right to be excluded from mainstream progress by sitting back enjoying their native tongue...libs just love to treat their flock like children.God forbid their faithful underlings should become too smart. Keep quiet and vote like we tell ya, comprende?

Posted by: id1386 | September 10, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

One primary characteristic of being racist is the notion that one is superior to others. Is this not what Hispanics imply when they feel they don't have to wait in line to enter America like everyone else? Why doesn't the immigrant from Mozambique or Thailand get a button to push when they make a phone call to some business - or the government?

This issue has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with protecting our sovereignty and our heritage. Attend a soccer game anywhere in the southwest when the U.S. plays any Mexican or Latin American team and see where loyalties lie.

I would think that the most incensed about illegal immigration are immigrants who persevered and came here legally. These invaders are going to turn this country into the same environment you struggled to escape.

Posted by: malarky1 | September 10, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if hillary pandered to the Latino crowd like she pandered in the black church: 'I don't feel no ways tired.'

I can just here her now: 'My name...Jose Jimenez.'

Posted by: mbeck2005 | September 10, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

the more libz insist on this, the closer we get to all out white v. brown.

and white WILL win - I guarantee it.

Posted by: filthywetback | September 10, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

This is just a blatant example of Democrats pandering to buy the Hispanic vote.

Posted by: search9286 | September 10, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

The debates should be translated into every language and dialect in the world. All government business should also be published in every language. Every school and Court should have translators available in every language at all times and so should businesses. If they don't, then to be fair no one should be taught, prosecuted or allowed to conduct business. The new language of America is stupidity. Get used to it.

Posted by: zapman | September 10, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

A mi me parece que mas que la mitad del groupo ariba apoya la usa de espanol en los debates presidentiales. Bueno, entonces hablamos en espanol. Hablo ambas idiomas fluidamente, Ud? Creo que no. Si no hablas, cayate.

In short, simple minded ones, for those of you open minded folks who think it is OK to speak Spanish in a US presidential debate, learn to read what I wrote above, then talk to me.

America speaks English. Fact, historical fact.

Posted by: etetsmith | September 10, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Richardson should run for President of Mexico if he wants to debate in Spanish!

Posted by: jimw428 | September 10, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

To besidesthepoint: "Democrats are not family-friendly and are not religion-friendly and those are two things that are very important to Hispanics."

Really...then why does the vast majority of Hispanics vote for the Democratic candidate? Is it because they're selling their belief system for whatever table scraps the Democrats promise to them? Much the same with the black vote. Many years ago, most black families were tight-knit, two-parent homes. After 40 years of liberal promises, look where it has them. They pretty much have the same belief system as the Hispanics (family, religion, etc), but yet they overwhelmingly vote for the liberal. Why? The almighty liberal handout, that's why. They're too blind to see that they've become taken for granted for a few measly dollars.

Posted by: mikeg | September 10, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

For lovtosurf: Wow, you're a teacher? Really? Man, after reading your post, rife with its spelling, grammar, and syntax errors, I truly feel sorry for your students. Its no wonder that we're turning out a bunch of idiots that need to take remedial English and remedial math as freshmen in college (if they even make it that far). And what is the Democratic response to fix the problem? You got it...more tax dollars for their cronies in the teacher's union, and bilingual education. I have a better idea...first, let's start weeding out some of the pathetic teachers. Next...end the ridiculous bilingual nonsense and insist upon people learning the English language.

Posted by: mikeg | September 10, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

For lovetosurf. Give that same english test to a group of your peers and you would also find them at or below the 5th grade level.

Posted by: Fox214 | September 10, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Like it or not, English is the principal language of this country. If immigrants do not have the decency to learn *our* language and assimmilate into *our* culture and way of life, then they shouldn't be here. Period. Does anyone think for an instant that the Mexican government would bend over backwards for American ex-pats? Of course not. They don't come here to be citizens...they come here to work and send the money back home. Its ironic that I have to pay exhorbitant property taxes to pay for educating the children of illegals, as well as hospital care, while the monies they earn are wired back to the 'familia'. Mexico's second highest source of income (second only to gas and oil sales), is the $27 billion dollars that it receives from legal and illegal residents livin in the US. Maybe its time we start taxing the money that leaves...30% sounds about right.

Posted by: mikeg | September 10, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Other than the obvious pandering to a Latino audience, why the need for a Spanish debate anyway? According to the Constitution, only US citizens are allowed to vote. And for an immigrant to become a citizen, he or she must be able to communicate in English. Therefore, where's the need for this Spanish nonsense? Oh, that's right...thanks to the socialists on the left, we're slowly becoming a Third World country of illiterates ourselves. We may as well get down in the gutter with them.

Posted by: mikeg | September 10, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

ggpggp, you incorrectly assume that Spanish speaking = non-citizen. There are quite literally TENS OF MILLIONS of people in this country legally who speak Spanish as their first language. "Inducing non-citizens to vote," as you say, makes no sense - do you really think that the live audience to this debate was full of illegal immigrants?

CM-ca, yo no se porque algunas personas creen que 'hablar espanol antes de ingles' y 'entrar ilegalmente' son iguales.

This isn't a republican/democrat issue, this is an issue of the freedoms this country offers. I don't think I've tried to put forward a single explicitly "democrat" or "liberal" idea -- I'm just trying to point out that the assumptions you all seem to make defy the reality of the situation, which is that this country is great because of freedom, and the whole point of the article was clearly to make our Republican friend look good and the Democrats look bad - when in reality, both republicans AND democrats look bad in the end for agreeing to rules and then violating them in order to grandstand and make media headlines.

This is non-news.

Posted by: kaminsky | September 10, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

¿Usted realmente piensa los Estados Unidos debe ser un país americano latino? Usted tiene países americanos latinos de la frontera meridional de Tejas toda la manera al antártida - y son todos líos corruptos. ¿Por qué en la tierra usted piensa América sería mejorado mediante hacer una cultura española? ¿Quizá porque usted es incapaz de aprender otra lengua simple o cualquier habilidad usable del trabajo? Si usted tuviera algún sentido usted entendería que usted está matando a su propia vaca de efectivo así como las nuestras.

Posted by: CM-ca | September 10, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

This seems pretty simple. this is a debate to help voters decide for whom to vote in the primary and ultimately the general election for President Of the United States.

Only citizens can vote. As another poster pointed out, you must demonstrate the ability to understand english to become a citizen.

Therfore any attempt to 'reach out' to spanish speakers with this debate is equivalent to aiding and abetting violation of elction laws by inducing non-citizens to vote. this debate should never have even been on a spanish language station.

Posted by: ggpggp | September 10, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse


I hope you share this comment section with your class so they can see what an illiterate fool you are. Undoubtedly most of them are smarter than you are and already know it. You remind me of the brainless tools I knew in Santa Cruz.

Seriously, liberal teachers from my youth who were dumber than most of the students had much to do with my early attraction to the political right.

Posted by: OutaBounds | September 10, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I learned to speak Spanish so I could enjoy my travels to Mexico, Central, and South America to the fullest. It wasn't difficult. Anyone who's too stupid to learn to speak English isn't going to do this country a bit of good, so we don't need them.

Posted by: OutaBounds | September 10, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Good jobs keeping the hispanics in their place as usual by the dems. Would not even allow conversation in Spanish. It amazes me that the hispanics by into the party when they are hated almost as much as the military are by Hillary and such. Of course the muslim candidate doesn't care about them anyway.

Posted by: NORMAR | September 10, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

When is the Chinese debate? Before or after the Polish and Russian debates? Do Democrats want to lose the vote of every non-Hispanic immigrant who bothered to learn English?

Posted by: luozhen | September 10, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Brian Bartling ,

I don't know what you do for a living but you were able to find time to crucify a public schools teacher for throwing a few remarks on a blog during there planning period and a bathroom break. Screw You! I actually will use several of these remarks in class as good examples of the lively and ongoing debate going on in this country. Oh by the way I am a teacher am proud of the work I do. I would love to know what the hell you do with your time that is bettering the country you live in. Actually I don;'t care I am to busy for you BS. By the way I just got done with my non-teaching duties as a coach and now have a good hour or two left to work ... that would be a 6am to 7pm day for those tracking my movments ..... peace to all and to all a good night

PS I am glad this post got going it shows the range of opinion and intellect our country has....

Posted by: lovtusurf | September 10, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Once again I have been reminded why I moved away from the Democrat party. I want all illegals to either leave this once great country on their own or have our government do what they were hired to do, protect our borders and deport everyone who is not allowed here out.

We must also realize that there are Democrats dressed up in Republican clothing. Remember Guiliani made New York a safe haven for illegals and does not believe it is a crime for illegals to be here. Remember that some of the illegals are murderers, rapists, thiefs and have broken the law just by coming over here without any papers. Also, remember the Mexican who was just deported with TB?

We need a new President who will stand up to Mexico and just say 'no' to them. Where do you think the 45 million who do not have insurance come from? Mostly Mexico.

Please keep the Mexican trucks in Mexico, as well. Please people, stop purchasing anything from Mexico now. Trust me, they do not have anything we want.

If our politicians will not take care of us then we will do it ourselves.

Posted by: gdebbie | September 10, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

My whole point is that I NEVER MENTIONED IMMIGRATION in my original post, nor does the ORIGINAL ARTICLE talk about it. The fact that you equate a Spanish-speaking debate funded by a Spanish-speaking corporation which owns a Spanish-speaking television station with illegal immigration is what displays your biases. Yes, you might have been outraged if NBC aired a debate in Mandarin Chinese, but you wouldn't have immediately jumped to the issue of illegal immigration, because in your perception it is not the Chinese, or Indians, or Canadians, or any other race but hispanics crossing illegally into our country -- it is clear from your writing, whether or not you will admit it, that for you the issue begins and ends there.

I don't think that any educated person believes that allowing illegal immigration is a good thing to do, or that the federal government should hire translators for every language known to man, so please stop throwing straw men. I personally agree that all people living in this country should, at some point, learn enough English to survive outside of their cultural communities. Where I disagree with you is the point at which people start saying that this should be enforced by rule of law, or that you should not be allowed to move here UNTIL you learn English, as this makes LEGAL immigration far more difficult, if not impossible.

So rbaker, I apologize if I lumped you together incorrectly with people you do not agree with. However, this is the USA, and if I own a television station that caters to Spanish-speaking people, I can host a political debate in any language I choose -- if you want to debate whether tax monies should be allocated to candidates who participate in this debate, that is another issue entirely about which I'm not particularly interested in writing. Otherwise, change the channel and shut up.

In any case, stick to the issue at hand: was it fair or unfair for individual candidates to speak Spanish during this debate?

I apologize if I have ruffled any metaphorical feathers. I clearly chose the wrong venue for intelligent discourse - I got involved precisely because it seems you all can't focus on what the real issue of this article is. It seems all most of you are interested in is espousing your "I love America but I don't want other people to have as much freedom as I have" attitudes, and frankly I'm not interested in communicating with people who have not the capacity to listen.

Posted by: kaminsky | September 10, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse


Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;


a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
good moral character;
attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,
favorable disposition toward the United States.
Note: Recent changes in immigration law and USCIS procedures now make it easier for U.S. military personnel to naturalize (see Naturalization Information for Military Personnel).

All naturalization applicants must demonstrate good moral character, attachment, and favorable disposition. The other naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of U.S. citizens. Applicants should review the materials listed under "Related Links" and carefully read the N-400 application instructions before applying.

This page can be found at

Posted by: aroses925 | September 10, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

It's the Dems that are racist.
1. Hobnob with La Raza, whose motto is Everything for our race, nothing for others, who plans to take back Western USA and kick the Americans out, and whose policy is NOT to learn English.

2. Suppport lawless illegals because they are hispanic. Repubs support rule of law legal immigration that all Americans, OF ALL RACES, can benefit from.

3. Support Spanish as an official language by having debate.

4 Support lawless illegals even though that means dumping their support of the working class, as amnesty = more illegals will come and slave wages continue.

I just resigned from the DNC after 20 plus years of support. They are now a racist orgabization, and should rename themselves The Hispanic National Party.

Posted by: Bettybb | September 10, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Ranting racists" good use of alliteration.
STOP trying to make this a race issue... sure some racists also don't want their language replaced but that is irrelevant to the issue... which again comes down to respect. When I come and live in your house for free and make zero contributions I promise to speak whatever language you want... it's really not that much to ask.
stop trying to be Al Sharpton.

Posted by: HARRYP | September 10, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Ridiculous, I thought part of becoming an American is to learn English. It seems the larger the number, the more we are willing to pander. What is going on here. Do you think candidates should communicate to voters with their native tongue....

Posted by: PollM | September 10, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Debating whether the U.S. should have an official language (which I oppose) or whether immigrants should learn English (probably a good idea and it seems that their children and grandchildren almost always do) is not necessarily racist. But some of the vehement, hysterical ranting and raving about whole groups of people does indicate racism. See Harris Johnson's absurd rant: "These people will destroy this country within the next century and probably, unchecked, within the next fifty years." I'm sorry, but it is completely fair to interpret that as racist. And rather than scream at liberals for pointing out the racism in SOME of the nastier posts here, opponents of illegal immigration would be well advised to--every once in a while--have the guts to tell one of their own to simmer down or shut up because those ranting racists are what is giving your side the ugly image of racism. Stop attacking people who point out the obvious. Keep your own allies in line.

Posted by: uh_huhh | September 10, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

As one of those admitting his mother got to the US just before his birth, I would like to ask Richardson if he has reimbursed the taxpayers for his and his mther's medical expenses or if he is a like all the rest.

Posted by: rlewis4620 | September 10, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Teddy Roosevelt.

Posted by: HARRYP | September 10, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Kaminsky -- no you lumped together the LEGAL immigrants of the past with the ILLEGALs who have stolen their way into this country in the same group and claimed they are alike. They are not.

True not all hispanics are illegals or all illegals hispanics, but the statisics indicate that 90% of the illegals are from either Mexico (60%) or Latin America (30%) with only 10% coming from the rest of the world.

Also, the explosion of the hispanic population in this country has some very interesting aspects when examined in detail. Just looking at the study from my own county where the hispanic population has increased by 200% over the last 5 years provides many insights. Most of the households in my county report that at least one of the residents is ILLEGALLY residing in the US. When the numbers are examined more closely, one discovers that 70% of the time the LEGAL resident is a child under the age of ten born in the US illegal parent(s).

You advocate respect for all cultures. However, you seem to think that respect is something due instead of earned. So let us examine my interactions with the this culture. I no longer stop by the local 7/11 for my morning coffee -- not only did I not appreciate the unwelcome and uninvited sexually explicit comments by the increasing multitude of hispanic men loitering in the parking lot, the increase in reports of robbery and sexual assault in the immediate area has made it unsafe.

Northern Virginia

Posted by: jataylor11 | September 10, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Speak English or leave.

Become American or leave.

No hyphenated nationalities or leave.

Any questions?

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith, becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."--Theodore Roosevelt, 1907

Posted by: 12198 | September 10, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I would vote for McCain if he wins the nom.
But he won't. He's not sensational enough so the press pretty much ignores him.

Posted by: HARRYP | September 10, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

SORRY give up our voting rights.

Posted by: HARRYP | September 10, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Jimmy Carter changed me from a democrat to a republican back in the '70s. The Bush administration had been causing me to rethink that decision until this debate. Now that the democrats have been openly pandering to these illegals my decision is clear. I'm going to have to vote for the best the republicans have. God save us from the democrats!!

Posted by: david | September 10, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

True but 82% of this country speaks English,
except for in some recent elections, majority still rules... or at least it should. Otherwise we may as well give our voting rights.

Posted by: HARRYP | September 10, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

For all the people talking about English being the official language of the United States... they seem to forget that the United States has no official language.

Posted by: otterthighs | September 10, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The world is not the same as it was when our
nation was born. Years ago immigration was essential to the growth of our nation. Times have changed. Now people wish to leave their own dilapidated country instead of fixing it themselves, and become a drain on our economy
living under the protection of our armed forces and police and ems and who pays for it? What do they contribute? cleaning services? Landscapers? I may not be like most Americans but I don't need those things... and I don't see why I should have to press 1 for English in my own country for people that do benefit from those minor services... when I went to Mexico I spoke Spanish if I go to Russia guess what I can and will speak Russian. It's a matter of respect. Our country needs to stop coddling
those who refuse to learn especially if they shouldn't be here in the first place... this is not a race issue, stop trying to make it one!! you make yourself sound retarded when you do.

Posted by: HARRYP | September 10, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Why do we have to constantly cater to the laziest and least intelligent bunch of immigrants to ever swim ashore? Yes. That's it. Dumb down the rest of America to cater to people too lazy to become part of OUR melting pot! Melting pot: you see, when you come to OUR country, you are supposed to melt into OUR pot, not US into YOURS!

Posted by: bugmenot | September 10, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Richardson is so irrelevant in the election that he'll do and say pretty much anything just to garner attention. He's showing his buffoonery with such racist antics.

Posted by: schratboy | September 10, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It does not take long for you liberals to toss out the race card. If the political debate had been in German or French or Mandarin Chinese I would have felt the same way. THIS IS THE USA and we speak english. That's what you liberals are good at. It's not a "WE DON"T LIKE MEXICANS' issue. The fact that your mind and comments immediately jump to this reveals your personal biases very strongly. Back at you.

Scott Baker
Dallas, Texas

Posted by: rbaker | September 10, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

For all you that are still crying about Mexico losing all that territory to the US, I have a simple solution. Let's meet at the border for the best of three. You won the first from the natives, we won the second from you and we can all meet at the border for as many skirmishes as it takes to declare a winner!

Posted by: spenceroland | September 10, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I never said anything about legal vs. illegal immigration, nor was I arguing that it isn't important to have government speak a common language to some extent. My one and only point was that reaching out to other cultures through their native language is a good thing, since we as a nation are composed of many different cultures.

In fact, the article mentions nothing of the legality or illegality of immigration. The fact that your mind and comments immediately jump to this reveals your personal biases very strongly, and I don't care to engage you in that debate on this forum. Even if you don't believe the rest of what I say, please realize that the movement of the conversation in that direction was your doing, not mine.

Since we have gone in this direction, allow me to present a simple question: If the political debate had been in German or French or Mandarin Chinese, would you have been as outraged? I believe the answer is a strong "no," because clearly in your world hispanic equals illegal, and that is part of the problem. Not all illegals are hispanic and not all hispanics are illegal. If we start speaking in cultural generalities, we do ourselves and those around us a great disservice.

So, let's not fling statistics about how "terrible" one culture is over another - it's not a productive area of conversation. If you want to discuss immigration reform, let's discuss it as a whole, not only in terms of one cultural group.

At one point about a hundred years ago, we had more Chinese and East Asian immigrants than we could handle, and we responded in a reactionary, protectionist fashion which only hurt us in the long run. Time and time again, history has empyrically demonstrated that closing your borders hurts your nation in the long run. Please don't misinterpret my candor -- I'm not advocating illegal immigration. Everyone should follow proper channels. However, what do we expect people to do when the proper channels are blocked, closed, or just plain slow? What happens when local corruption prevents them from accessing the resources they need to apply for foreign citizenship? Why is it that a manual laborer can wait 10 years to get into this country, but baseball players seem to have no problem getting visas? Why is it that 90% of the work visas in this country go to a very small group of nations? The system is broken, and if we need to repair it, we need to repair it for everyone, not just for one of our borders.

The proper channels should work consistently, smoothly and efficiently, which, in my belief, is the crux of the "immigration reform" issue, not "what's the best method to deport illegals?" In the meantime, let us not forget that even those who are here illegally most likely want the same things we want -- freedom, safety, and a chance at a better life for them and their children.

Posted by: kaminsky | September 10, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Democrats speak with forked tongue in any language. In America, you socialist democrats running for the W.H... English is OUR language not Spanish. See?

Posted by: markburns1 | September 10, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

lovtusurf, apparently you have nothing better to do between 11:37 AM and 2:29 PM on a Monday except blowing out your opinions on the internet. Why are you not teaching your children in school. Makes me wonder what kind of a loafing teacher you really are, if you actually are one.

Brian Bartling WI

Posted by: btbart | September 10, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Way to go jataylor! You said that very well.

Posted by: short_sleeves | September 10, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I must respond to Kaminsky and believe that I am more than qualified to do so as my heritage is a mix of native American, pre-revolutionary war English speaking Irish by way of Scotland, and post civil war Swedish immigrants. My Swedish ancestors enter the country legally with their entry DOCUMENTED.

The difference between my immigrant ancestors and the invasion of ILLEGALS who have busted my county budget and doubled the crime rate is that my ancestors came here to become AMERICANS. Yes, the great grandmother could only speak Swedish when she arrived, but she learned English and so did her children. She did not look back to Sweden, her home was here in the United States and she proudly sought citizenship. My great grandmother did not enter illegally and then start popping out anchor babies at taxpayer expense.

The great grandmother was not a burden on the US taxpayer from using social services. My grandmother did not have to take special classes to teach her literacy in Swedish before they could teach her English, my grandmother spoke only English on her first day of school. My father could not speak of word of Swedish. My father did not have the Swedish flag displayed on this truck. We were Americans.

Kaminisky, you need to look at the statistics regarding the members of the hispanic community that are actually seeking US citizenship. Roughly the number is that even from those eligible for citizenship (either from the 1986 amnesty, or legal entry) less than 20% actually seek US citizenship. The farce of the immigration debate is the "path to citizenship" phrase. The illegals stealing their way across the southern border are not interested in a path to citizenship.

Do not compare my great grandmother, my grandmother, or my father to this ungrateful group of ILLEGALS. They are not immigrants, they are criminals.

Posted by: jataylor11 | September 10, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

For those of you here that are fed up with Illegal Immigration and the lack of respect for our language and culture, go here for a Hispanic that feels the same as you. And she does respect these English!
live85 DOT com and Listen Live.

Posted by: short_sleeves | September 10, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The post to kaminsky above was from me. Sorry I forgot to sign it. Kaminsky.. I have to say it.. Your post and others like it makes me mad. You think you're a great thinker and that you hold the moral ground but you're really lacking in knowledge and logic.

Scott Baker
Dallas, Texas

Posted by: rbaker | September 10, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Back to the article .... this was a political stunt by Richardson and I can't blame him for trying but he probably hurt himself more than he did help himself with such a blatant pandering act.

Posted by: lovtusurf | September 10, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Why do these people refuse to assimilate? I just don't understand it-every other immigrant ethnic group with which I am familiar is happy to assimilate, learn English and they all take an enourmous amount of pride in performing both actions.

But not those people. And why should they? They have their own newspapers, televisions and radio stations, supermarkets, billboards and on and on and on. It's like we have to cater to them while they do us the huge kindness of sending their kids to our public schools, using our hospital facilities as their primary care institutions, and demanding translators wherever they go-all on our dime!! Gee, thanks so much.

It is reallly scary because these people have absolutely no interest in experiencing the American way, save for what they can get out of the system.

I thinkg it is disgraceful to think that instead of saying "thank you for letting me in your great country" and repaying us by at least pretending to care, they instead send billions and billions of dollars back to Mexico (the land of their true loyalty), instead of putting it back into the American economy.

I really fear for this country.

Posted by: mrsbucky | September 10, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

What I really enjoy about this English only debate are the Americans who lash out with "go back where you came from". Instead of lashing out with ignorant comments, go educate yourself. I'm Hispanic and my family has been here for generations and generations, long before this was the US. My parents' first language was Spanish, despite being born in the US. After the Mexican-American War, the border jumped us, we didn't jump the border. So if you're telling me to "go back", well sorry to inform you, I've been home, a lot longer than families who had to sail across an entire ocean seeking out opportunity and freedom, and which I might add, a helluva lot longer journey than those crossing a river seeking out that same hope. My ancestry consists of both Spanish and Native American bloodlines, who were at one time Mexican citizens, who then became US citizens through a treaty. So maybe Ill try this, I'll send half my family back to Spain while leaving the other half here, since that is where Native Americans came from, hence, the "native". Then, I can rightfully and fairly tell you to go back. Oh, wait, is bringing in the Native American argument too much for you to handle? Because there are not enough of them?? and that argument is not worth acknowledging anymore and we don't want go there again, right?? Well thank goodness, this argument is not worth sweeping under the rug, and we've actually come this far to debate it! This new debate over the millions of Hispanics who live here and who are not going anywhere (despite your bigoted, vile remarks), reminds me of the Civil Rights movement, when racist Americans would lash out with similar comments about African Americans, touting them they should go back to Africa. Its sad and disappointing that despite the diversity of America, people still try to make this country a one size fits all and no lessons were learned from the Civil Rights movement. And I hope that these so called Americans who make these comments, stay true to their illusionary America and don't divulge in any religion, event, or food that is not of their "race" because apparently their "race" is the way America should live. Unfortunately, people still don't understand the reason why people flocked to America in the first place. And may I further remind you that if were going to be an English speaking country only, then can somebody start this same debate with Asians?? Because I don't understand how we could have places like Chinatown in San Francisco and that be ignored. Oh wait, I'm sure were not going after them because they don't pick your vegetables, serve you your fast food, cook in the restaurants you eat, clean the rooms that you sleep in, build your house you live in with the white picket fence.... We cry and cry, but yet why aren't any "real" Americans working those jobs?? If you cannot accept that this nation is not made up of one culture, then I say to you, you go back! That is if you can split yourself into various pieces to find your way back to each of the numerous countries you came from. Or better yet, lets make it simple for you, go find a country that embraces one culture, one language, and whatever else that fits into your one size fits all delusional, utopian world...

Posted by: monamtz_26 | September 10, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse


That was a wonderful speech but I don't think you really understand what the people that you call bigots are trying to say.

If you put 10 people in a room, each of them speaks a different language causing communication to be almost impossible, and then ask them to get along or maybe start a business or something along that line. Then step back and see what happens. Only a person lacking in intellect would think that this is a good thing. Communication is a priority to be a strong country. So let's pick a language that all must learn to speak. Its okay to speak your native language in private but if you want to be a working part of this country then learn the common language.

Posted by: rbaker | September 10, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm a hispanic man who is first generation. I am a naturalized citizen, speak Spanish fluently, and served in the Air Force as a pilot.

I find what the democrats are doing as mere pandering. I'm the first to get offended if I'm called by someone trying to speak to me in Spanish, as if that is going to make me want to buy their product.

Don't get me wrong. There is a place for Spanish and spanish TV. You can't beat soccer on Spanish TV. But a presidential debate in a country who's primary language is English comes off and nothing more than pandering.

I'll stay and vote republican.

Posted by: rfp313 | September 10, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I cannot let this pass. A number of commenters on this article have stated that ENGLISH is what we speak here in AMERICA and those who don't speak it should go home. People who speak like this don't understand what makes this country great and don't know the meaning of the words 'freedom' or 'patriot.' Unless your ancestors were members of one of the many native tribes that inhabited this land up until about 250 years ago, your ancestors were immigrants, and a very SCANT few of you come from immigrants who spoke English. Remember that this country was founded BY and FOR people who were unhappy with their home and sought a new life where they could be free to live by their beliefs and customs without persecution. This is a belief that I feel is, or at least should be, common across party lines, because it is not based on opinion -- it is historical fact. Every group of immigrants has contributed uniquely to our culture, whether you care to be tolerant of them or not. That is why the Constitution of the USA posits no official language and also happens to be one of the reasons for our country's great prosperity and strong emphasis on individual freedoms. Telling people to go home denies that which makes us great, our ability to adapt, adopt and advance diverse ideas and achievements which wouldn't be possible if we didn't open our hearts to other cultures.

That said, associate with whom you want in your private affairs, but stay out of the political sphere if you can't accept people for who they are.

The key point in this article was not whether we should respect other cultures within our borders - it was whether it was fair for politicians who knew Spanish to have an edge over those who didn't in what was supposed to be a fair and balanced debate about ISSUES. Don't use this website as a soapbox for bigotry.

Posted by: kaminsky | September 10, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

the official language of this country is english.....not the babble of filthy, third world wetbacks .

Posted by: filthywetback | September 10, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

lovtosurf... shame, shame, SHAME on you!

Communication is vital, and in order to be understood, one must be precise, be it in a twenty page term paper or on a web board posting. The care you take with attempting to get your message across emphasizes its importance to you.

Why should anyone that truly believes we ought to throw the rules of communication over the side because it's only a web posting be taken seriously? Why are they instructing our youth?

There's another contributing factor to our nation's slow, painful demise. People who don't care about their work, and expect the American Dream handed to them on a platter whether or not they are doing the very best job they could be. People who expect to be pandered to, every special interest seen to instead of working for what they want. Hispanics should see the non-assimilators as the blight that they are. If they were coming here to be productive Americans, I would welcome them with open arms. If they are coming here to leech off the social systems that my tax dollars pay for without working a day, then I have no sympathy for them.

I work hard, and I make no excuses. Wish more people, Americans and immigrants, did the same.

Posted by: ari | September 10, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

lovtosurf, your errors are laughable, doubly so because you claim to be a "teacher"

Do the words "illegal immigrant" resonate with you? Why should US immigration policy be dictated de facto by Mexico?

Traty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo specifically enjoined both sides to observe their common border. Not.

Posted by: dgstock1947 | September 10, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Scott from Dallas,

Check out cfirdallas DOT com
Also live85 DOT com and listen live 1-3 PM Central Time.

You WILL find like minded people that are also wanting to make a difference!

Posted by: short_sleeves | September 10, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

my bad " there" somewhere.. HAHAHAH

Posted by: lovtusurf | September 10, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

WOW that was fun..... thanks for your feedback. Ohh yeh for those whom needed to insult my grammar on a website post...oh yeh its a website post. Adn as far racism being central to this debate check this quote from my dear North Carolinian.

"These people will destroy this country within the next century and probably, unchecked, within the next fifty years."

sure he isn't racist.....maybe out of touch with how our country managed immigration waves the last 3 or 4 times large numbers of folks wanted to come to our country. We welcome them, number them, and tax them.... then reap the rewards of being the hardest working nation in the world....

I am sure there is a grammar error in their somewhere... :)

Posted by: lovtusurf | September 10, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

El Gordo the champion of the little people has spoken so they can understand! What a joke. Richardson is the best self-promoter of the whole bunch. Chris Dodd, tambien! Que bueno?!

Posted by: Puzzletop | September 10, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Send all the Democrat candidates to Mexico, then they will have to learn Spanish, and since they like illegal immigrants they could run for president in Mexico. The losers could try to sneak back in to this country. If they made it we could throw them in a compound located in the Artic where they could cool thier heels.

Posted by: mplore | September 10, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Until those of us who feel that future illegal immigrants should be stopped at the border and that those who are here illegally should be denied work. Until we have a good system in place that allows only those who speak our language and have passed a background check to enter. We will loose our battle because we are unwilling to stand up and scream and wave our flag like those liberal socialists and Mexican illegal's do. If we want to keep this country strong we have to have the desire to take action. And that's why we will loose, because I fear that it will never happen.

Scott Baker
Dallas, TX

Posted by: rbaker | September 10, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

This is just precious. The Democrats come up with a gimic to pander to another group and one of them is annoyed he wasn't allowed to unfairly pander even more effectively.

Posted by: Dave-in-PA | September 10, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Debate Moderator Jorge Ramos in his book, The Latino Wave: How Hispanics Will Elect the Next American President:

"I'm not one of those people who thinks that the central common bond that unites those of us who live in the United States is the English language....This country's 2 MAIN characteristics are its acceptance of immigrants and its tolerance for diversity. THESE are the things that bind us together...THAT'S what it means to be American. Not your ability to speak English."

Wake up everyone. This country is being INVADED! Ramos says that the country will have a Hispanic Majority in just a few decades. Many of these people do NOT understand/respect American History, Culture, and Tradition, and they are going to destroy us from within.

"wait until Latinos become the majority in the US and Spanish becomes the de-facto primary languague."

This is what I'm talking about. Why can't people see that we need to respect the values of the United States; YES, we have our own culture and traditions, although many hispanics only want to keep theirs and negate ours. (Read Ramos' book) We need to find our commonalities, not our differences. Diversity is a sham!

By the's very informative. WAKEUP!

Posted by: short_sleeves | September 10, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

How about a debate in pig latin?

"Ombay Iranay? Onay ayway!"

Posted by: RichardCC | September 10, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Richardson spoke Spanish because most people do not know, from him name, that he is Spanish. I see nothing wrong with speaking Spanish or any other language in this country, but you should learn to speak English. The problem is, the older you are, the harder it is to learn a foreign language. I have lived in Chicago, where on any given day, you can hear several languages spoken, and it never creates a problem.

As to those who are voting Republican because of the immigration issue, need I remind you that Pres Bush, Sen McCain and Rudy what's his name, all favor the immigration bill that was sent through Congress recently, so immigration is not a party issue.

Puerto Rico is a part of the USA, and Spanish is spoken there, along with English.

In most European countries everyone speaks their native tongue, English and usually another one or 2 languages, so if you go to Europe, you will probably get along just fine speaking only English.

Posted by: BennyLittle | September 10, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

If citizenship is required to vote in national elections and English is a requirement for citizenship then why would translation be necessary? I support a pathway to citizenship but having spanish only debates only reinforces the views by many Americans that they see to establish a separate hispanic state inside of the US. It really only serves to hurt their cause.

Posted by: NMP1 | September 10, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Pianoboy says it all. . . we don't need no stinkin' assimilation.
And you're surprised at the resentment that causes?

What a maricon.

Posted by: dgstock1947 | September 10, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

This is not a matter of racism! Its a matter of valuing our own culture, which is distinctly different than the Mexican culture! When all else fails... PLAY THE RACE CARD! Do you really think anyone else falls for that bull any more?

Posted by: Anntink | September 10, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the charges of racism except as a kneejerk ,learned response. If I moved to Mexico, Spain, much of Central and South America, I would expect to learn Spanish if I wanted to work, do business, or just get along because Spanish is the language of those areas.Why is it a sin to expect Americans to speak English??
The idea of a common language is not racism..insisting on a new language to appease newcomers might be.

Posted by: jstratt2 | September 10, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The value of bilingualism is just another liberal lie. In my opinion, we should not even have broadcasting allowed in Spanish in America. We speak English, and if that's too much for you, to damned bad.

Posted by: agiachic | September 10, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

What's really heartbreaking about all this, is that untold numbers of brave American soldiers have died thinking they were protecting the security and borders of the United States and after all those deaths, our country is literally being given away - not just by Richardson, but by the whole political establishment. George Bush appears to be the ring leader. Changing parties won't help. They've all sold us out. If only there was a "neither" on the presidential ballot!

Posted by: Anntink | September 10, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

As an American of Puerto Rican heritage I am dismayed by all the bigoted responses by these so called "Americans." Those of us who stand for the freedom to communicate in one's native language need only to wait until Latinos become the majority in the US and Spanish becomes the de-facto primary languague.

Que tengan un buen dia!

Posted by: pianoboy456 | September 10, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: doublea2u | September 10, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I am officially declaring that I will not be voting democratic this time. These people do NOT represent me or anyone I know. I sure hope getting the illegal vote is worth losing the votes of American citizens. They should run in mexico.


Posted by: Jeffreyazz | September 10, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: doublea2u | September 10, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I also have to respond to "lovetosurf". First of all I notice that Harris Johnson of NC is the only one with the courage to sign his name and where he lives. Second, Mr. Harris is dead on right about the massive influx of a foreign speaking people leading to the eventual demise of this great country. This country will be a vastly different place in 50-100 years and I'm glad I won't be around to see it.

Third, lovetosurf needs to put away his surfboard and get out his history book. Lovetosurf writes that "we took Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado form Mexico" but does he know that we also paid $25 million for it? We could have taken over all of Mexico and called it ours and nobody could have stopped us. No. We pull our Army back and give the defeated country $25 million for the trouble. What other country in the world behaves this way? It is a rare thing in history but we also did it in Japan and Germany after WWII. This is the greatest country this world has ever known but it is being slowly eaten from within by illegal, non-assimilating criminals. Diversity does not unite us, it divides us and you know what happens to a house divided!

Jeffrey Stone
Bremen, GA

Posted by: jstonedesign | September 10, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

As a native Spanish speaker I support the idea of simulcasting in Spanish. HOWEVER, this was clearly the Democrats trying to pander to Hispanics across the US and I don't like it one bit. Democrats are not family-friendly and are not religion-friendly and those are two things that are very important to Hispanics. The Democrat candidates all support anti-prosperity platforms that remind me more of Castro, Chavez, or Ortega more than they remind me of Bolivar or Jose Marti. Abajo el DNC!

Posted by: besidesthepoint | September 10, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Well, another great reason to vote Republican. What a bunch of pandering fools. And I had thought Richardson was the best of them but he showed his true suck up to the crowd colors. Nothing in the US prevents people from any country from speaking whatever language they want at home. My relatives spoke Russian and Yiddish around the dinner table. But they knew that when they went out the front door they needed to speak English. The language unites us. So many forget that we have people here from all over the world... Zimbabwe to Brazil, China to Pakistan. Much better to spend tax dollars on teaching future and current citizens English than trying to publish official documents in many languages.

Posted by: lostein | September 10, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

lovtusurf, your errors in punctuation, spelling, and capitalization caused me to shudder at the thought of your being a teacher. One can only hope imparting the knowledge of English Grammar is not one of your responsibilities.
On an entirely different note, and along the lines of the article's subject matter... It is my opinion that Senator Dodd and Governor Richardson were merely trying to show off. This juvenile behavior tells us volumes about their character.
Finally, with regard to the arguments about immigrants to the United States needing to be able to communicate in English, it is my belief that non-native English speakers are better served by learning the common language. We are not a dual-language society of common heritage. America citizens come from a vast variety of ethnic backgrounds. All Americans cannot be expected to speak the panoply of foreign languages that are native to our broader population. One common language for public use would be a uniting factor.
Lastly, this is something that puzzles me: I do not understand why one would want to live the rest of one's life in this country yet not have the desire to assimilate. Is it a fear of losing one's identity?

Posted by: goshwhatnow | September 10, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

By the way, for those of you elitist snobs who believe that other United States citizens who happen to believe that those that immigrate to our country should be required to learn the prevailing language are somehow ignorant or unlearned redneck jackasses, maybe you ought to take a look in the mirror. I believe that, and am somehow still intelligent enough to run a multi-million dollar computer network on a daily basis.

Posted by: Cpearce9 | September 10, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse


Could you possibly explain to me how wanting someone to learn and speak the language of their adopted nation is racist? If I was to live in a different country I would consider it my obligation to learn the language of that country, both to ease my day to day life and as a sign of respect for the culture.
As far as the taking of the land from Mexico, yep - sure did! If you haven't figured this out by now, until the recent change of philosphy in which we don't want children to 'suffer' the emotional distres caused by not being the victor in a struggle, througout the course of history it has sucked to lose. I suppose that you would be happy if we were to give that land back to Mexico? What about the native Indian tribes that were occupying the land before it was 'claimed' by Mexico - shouldn't we give the land to them?

Posted by: shhampton | September 10, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

How do you say "Learn English or you shall be deported!" in Spanish?

Posted by: Cpearce9 | September 10, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

lovtosurf, please be sure to mention to your class that California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado were part of independent Mexico for all of 25 years (Texas 11), before joining a much better nation.

Posted by: nloncarich | September 10, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Why are we defending the english language; why all the loyalty to the monarchs of Britain. It is a conquering tongue spoken by subjugated populaces bowing to the crown. Their closest neighbors have even tried to throw the yoke off & return to Gaelic. When the rulers words have proved wrong
{"There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."}
some within the system have even tried to change the grammar:
more recently the Beats to Rap
but previously TS Elliot & The New Critrion!
No English is not the defining tongue of freedom.
Viva libertad sounds just as uplifting !!

Posted by: Markangelo | September 10, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Dear, dear lovtusurf... Your post is a fine case of the pot calling the kettle "Afro American". Why, your first sentence doesn't even have a verb in it! And, ..."it forces our brains not be lazy." Wow! It's hard even to consider your point when you prove to be illiterate. Why not report and I'll try to make it all the way through this time? Thanks!

Posted by: djblue54 | September 10, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

A house divided cannot stand-Abraham Lincoln. We speak English here in America. In Mexico there are no El Presidente debates in English. The Official language of Mexico is Spanish. The Official language of the United States is English. You people have inspired me to stock up on more ammunition for the coming civil war. God bless America. I am American and I speak English. If you live here, learn it. Or get out.

Posted by: lowell | September 10, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Harris Johnson thanks for showing that nativism and racism haven't died in the South .. I will be using that in my classroom her ein NC as a good example of both. Seeing as we just finished covering the Mexican American war in which we took Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado form should fit nicely thanks for the primary source material

Posted by: lovtusurf | September 10, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Well as a public schools teacher of your fine American children. If I gave you an English test reading or writing I am sure we would find that you are at an average of a 5th grade level or lower. So how bout we promote literacy in our "American" language and fluency in other languages as well because it forces our brains not be lazy and we end up better overall as a nation of literate educated people.

Posted by: lovtusurf | September 10, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I will never, never vote for any presidential candidate who debates before any large group - not individuals - who must have English translated into another language. This includes both major parties as well as those less strong. This catering to the millions of immigrants who refuse to learn English is another nail in the continuing construction of the "TROJAN HORSE" of massive legal and illegal immigration. These people will destroy this country within the next century and probably, unchecked, within the next fifty years.

Harris Johnson
Greensboro NC

Posted by: harrisjohnson | September 10, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

This is America! People living here should at least be able to understand English as a second language. In order to become a US citizen you need to take a test in English; unless the test is in Spanish, which is scary to think at least. I just don't understand why we need a debate in Spanish. I mean, can't these Spanish network hired a translator during a regular debate on TV?

Posted by: sseedragon | September 10, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

We are in America, how about we speak American!!! We are a country of immigrants who have maintained part of their heritage while assimilating into the culture we have created here in the U.S. Why do we want to compromise this unique country into one which by speaking a language other than English will only divide us?

Posted by: funneguy88 | September 10, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

When it comes to language, let the free market decide. (Why is it that small-government Republicans are often in favor of a big-government solution to a supposed language/cultural problem in this country?).

Nation-wide, the cultural-linguistic free market has determined that we are an English-speaking country, but the free market also allows French to be spoken in parts of Maine, German and Pennsylvania Dutch in parts of Pennsylvania, Chinese in various urban enclaves, and Spanish in parts of my neighborhood. What's the big deal? Studies show that the children of immigrants overwhelmingly learn English, and by the second generation few speak the grandparent's language fluently.

As for Richardson, a candidate I otherwise like, he was trying to score cheap points as the only Latino candidate. I think the Univision audience is smart enough to know that without his silly efforts to break the rules and speak in Spanish.

Posted by: chrisduckworth | September 10, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to see the Democratic candidates shamelessly pandering to the illegal aliens and non-assimilators. I've voted Democratic since 1972, but in 2008 I'll be voting for the best Republican and it's all due to the traitorous actions of the Democratic Party in regards to the immigration problem. The Democratic Party has lost all sense of moral values and sovereignty.

Posted by: phil123jones | September 10, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Yet another example of Stupid politicians Agreeing to Some set of rules and then ignoring the rules. If you didn't catch that I question your reading skils. Maybe you do need someone to explain it all to you. That is sad. Maybe these guys figured since they are politicians, that the rules didn't really apply to them. Esspecially since the perceived audience was 'Mexican'.

Who knows? But none of the present presidential hopefuls has seemed the least bit presidential.

These jerks don't care about us, immigrants, or doing the right thing. THEY ALL WANT POWER AND TO HOLD ON TO POWER.

Fire them All. And if these senators have been campaigning now for almost a year, who is actually in WASHINGTON working for the people? These folks are campaigning on company time on our dime.

Muchas Gracias mi amigos.

Posted by: robertplants | September 10, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

In America we speak-a the english. If you no-a speak-a the english, then you need to learn to speak-a. If that's too much trouble, then you can go right back to where you came from!!!!!!!! Bastards!

Posted by: retrometa | September 10, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

His headlline IS accurate and SHOULD be in BOLD TYPE! Americans speak ENGLISH, what part of that doesn't make sense? The Democrats have once again reaffirmed my decision to leave their antiquated and dysfunctional party!

Posted by: n6ycc | September 10, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree. This headline is inaccurate and should be corrected. The Democrats came to this debate and answered more questions about immigration and Latin America than in any other debate. While some of the simultaneous translation was a bit rough, nothing was "lost." Accuracy should trump trying to be cute, especially in the Washington Post.

Posted by: salliehughes | September 10, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

This is EXACTLY why we want ENGISH as the official laguage. Go back to Hispanic Land if you want Spanish.

Posted by: alouiseh | September 10, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Bashing Dems..? The Post?

You have got to be kidding me. One of the most left-leaning papers in the country...

Oh never mind, Claudia will never listen to anything reasonable.

Posted by: ikesurg | September 10, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

The title appears to refer to Richardson's clear disregard for the terms of the debate, for his own manipulative purposes. Hence, "lost. . . "

Posted by: dgstock1947 | September 10, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Why is the title of this 'Democrats Lost in Translation' -- because you thought it was cute? Because it bashed Dems? The piece is about Richardson wanting to speak Spanish -- it has nothing to do with the other candidates. Why not just admit you're hopelessly partisan?

Posted by: claudialong | September 10, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

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