Thursday, May 04, 2006



Kenneth Bazinet of the NY Daily News reports that President Bush was perhaps a little forgetful when he came out in favor of an English-only national anthem—

On the campaign trail in 1999, Bush would often sing along as the national anthem was sung in Spanish during stops in Hispanic communities, GOP scholar Kevin Phillips wrote in his book "American Dynasty."

After Bush was elected, Cuban exile and pop vocalist Jon Secada also sang the "The Star-Spangled Banner" in both English and Spanish at the 2001 opening ceremony of the presidential inaugural, according to media reports at the time.

Bazinet tries to help out by explaining that—

Bush and Secada sang the actual national anthem in Spanish, and not the new song with different lyrics and music that has angered many English-speaking Americans.

But he acknowledges that Bush's stated position is that "I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English."

My opinion? Despite efforts over the years to claim that Bush is fluent in Spanish, I doubt he had a clue what he was singing. "White House spokesmen" are skeptical too. According to WaPo's Peter Baker,

White House spokesmen and former campaign operatives said they could not recall whether that happened, though given the level of Bush's Spanish proficiency, they seemed dubious.

It seems that Bush's language ability has been officially downgraded.

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