Marco Rubio released the first Spanish-language television ad in the race to represent Florida in the U.S. Senate on Sunday. The move is a natural one; after all, as the Miami Herald‘s Naked Politics points out, “the telegenic son of Cuban exiles is fluent in Spanish and can speak directly to the camera.”
But the use of Spanish in the ad clashes with Rubio’s views on conservative efforts to pass a law declaring English the official language of the United States. “In a recent debate aired on Univision,” Naked Politics reports, “Rubio expressed his support for making English the official language of the U.S.”
And at a Sarasota rally held on Sept. 11, Rubio shared the stage with Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, who touted his sponsorship of a bill making English the country’s official language, generating boisterous applause from the crowd. (At least one audience member hoisted a homemade sign emblazoned with the slogan, “Yo Quiero Marco.” Translation: “I want Marco.”)
A call to Buchanan’s campaign office asking for Buchanan’s opinion of Spanish-language political advertising and a call to Rubio’s campaign yesterday were both not returned.
The Spanish ad:
In a piece posted at the Yahoo! News blog The Upshot, Rachel Rose Hartman examines Rubio’s contradictory stance, and was able to wrangle this response out of the Rubio campaign:
Marco believes learning English is essential for success in the United States, and should be the official and unifying language of America. Unfortunately, in a shameless effort to score cheap political points, some have purposely twisted Marco’s position to suggest he believes other languages should be banned. This is an outrageous suggestion.
The campaign doesn’t cite a source for its claim that “some” are suggesting Rubio “believes other languages should be banned,” which really isn’t the issue. Rather, our question revolves around whether it is hypocritical for a candidate who believes English should be our nation’s official language to be conducting political speech in Spanish.