CBS' Cordes reported on Giuliani's and Romney's "Spanish-language" ads without noting their campaign rhetoric

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

CBS' Nancy Cordes reported that Republican presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney aired Spanish-language campaign ads in Florida, but at no point did Cordes note that Giuliani has said that English proficiency should be a requirement for citizenship, or that Romney has said that "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America."

On the January 21 edition of the CBS Evening News, while discussing the upcoming Republican presidential primary in Florida, CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes reported that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani "released a Spanish-language ad backing a catastrophic-insurance fund." Cordes went on to note that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also "is airing his own ad in Spanish," and added that "Cuban-Americans make up a crucial 15 percent of Florida's GOP electorate and have not coalesced around a single candidate." However, at no point did Cordes note that Giuliani has said that English proficiency should be a requirement for citizenship, or that Romney has said that "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America" and that "[t]his is a nation which should never become a bilingual or multilingual nation."

As the blog Think Progress noted, Giuliani has repeatedly stressed English language skills as a requirement of citizenship. According to The New York Times' political blog The Caucus, Giuliani often ends speeches about illegal immigration "with a familiar applause line: The final end result about becoming a citizen -- you should be able to have to read English, write English, and speak English if you want to become a citizen." Currently, U.S. law requires that those applying for citizenship possess "[a]n understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak ... simple words and phrases ... in ordinary usage in the English language." Think Progress also noted: "Last fall, the owner of Philadelphia cheesesteak restaurant Geno's Steaks endorsed Giuliani. [Geno's owner Joey] Vento became notorious for posting a sign in his restaurant that read: 'This is America. When Ordering Please Speak English.' " The Giuliani campaign posted a video clip of Vento's endorsement from an interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto on the campaign's official YouTube site. In an October 3, 2007, Philadelphia Inquirer column, Monica Yant Kinney reported that during a visit to Vento's restaurant Giuliani told a local reporter: "Whenever I'm at Geno's, I order in English." From Kinney's column:

As campaign cliches go, it doesn't get much better than Giuliani dropping by Joey Vento's neon palace in South Philly.

The Italian American who wants to seal the border, bonding with the Italian American who once told a reporter that immigrants are infecting the U.S. with disease because "Mexicans play and drink out of the same water."

"Whenever I'm at Geno's, I order in English," Giuliani told NBC10's Mike Strug, fanning the flames while contemplating Whiz, American or provolone.

That kind of rhetoric ruins Katherine Block's appetite.

"It's ironic he's eating a cheesesteak," says Block, 25, of West Philadelphia, "because both the cheese and the steak were rendered by immigrants he wants to kick out of this country."

Think Progress further noted that in March 2007, Romney told the New Hampshire Union Leader that "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America. We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada." From a March 8, 2007, Union Leader article:

A week ago, in response to a question during an interview with New Hampshire Union Leader editors and a reporter, Mitt Romney said, "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America. We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada."

Five days later, a Romney news release announced that the campaign had "launched its first Spanish radio ad."

The ad ends with Romney saying, "I am Mitt Romney and I approve this message," and then an announcer saying, "Pagado por Romney para Presidente."

On December 22, the Associated Press reported Romney making similar remarks during a campaign event in New Hampshire the previous day. From the AP (emphasis added):

The candidate pledged to strengthen the nation's schools and expand private health insurance. He also spoke out against Internet pornography, having children out of wedlock and same-sex marriage.

"I want to keep pornography off the screens in our homes so that kids don't continue to be bombarded on the Internet..." he said. "And finally, I want our kids to learn a very important lesson, and that is, before they have babies, they should get married. Marriage comes first and marriage is between a man and a woman."

Later, asked about printing government documents in multiple languages, Romney said: "This is a nation which should never become a bilingual or multilingual nation. This is a nation where English is and should remain our national language."

Finally, during the June 5, 2007, CNN Republican debate, both Romney and Giuliani tacitly indicated their support for making English the "official language" of the United States. Debate moderator and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer stated: "If there's someone here who doesn't believe English should be the official language of the United States, please speak up right now." Only Sen. John McCain (AZ) spoke, though he also expressed support for making English "the official language of the United States." From the debate:

BLITZER: The other night, Sunday night, I asked the eight Democratic presidential candidates whether or not they thought English should be the official language of the United States. Only one of them said English should be the official language of the United States.

If there's someone here who doesn't believe English should be the official language of the United States, please speak up right now.

McCAIN: I think it's fine.

I would like to remind you that we made treaties with Native Americans such as the Navajos in my state, where we respect their sovereignty and they use their native language in their deliberations. It's not a big deal. But Native Americans are important to me in my state.

Everybody knows that English has to be learned if anyone ever wants to move up the economic ladder. That is obvious.

And part of our legislation, by the way, is a requirement to learn English.

And by the way, 30 percent of the people who are in this country illegally never came across our borders, my friends. They overstayed their visas. That's why it has to be a comprehensive approach.

And I'm proud of the support of the president and his brother, Governor Jeb Bush, who was governor of the state of Florida. People who have to deal with this issue every day understand we have to act, my friends.

And we can have our own ways to improve it. But if we don't address this issue, we are going to pay a heavy price. Because something bad could happen when 12 million people are in this country illegally, 2 million of them having committed serious crimes.

BLITZER: I see people raising their hands.

But the question was, I'd only like those to speak up who believe that English should not necessarily be the official language of the United States.

Is there anyone else who stands with Senator McCain specifically on that question?

[crosstalk]

All right. We're going to go back to Scott [Spradling, WMUR-TV news anchor].

Go ahead, Scott.

[crosstalk]

BLITZER: Scott, go ahead.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (CA): Wolf, if I've got -- if I have reservations in my district, can I speak up also?

BLITZER: You'll have an opportunity.

Go ahead, Scott.

From the January 21 edition of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:

HARRY SMITH (anchor): Now to the Republicans. They're chasing the biggest delegate prize yet, one week from tomorrow in Florida. There are 57 delegates at stake, and it's winner-take-all. The latest polling in the Sunshine State shows John McCain, who's on a roll after wins in South Carolina and New Hampshire, at the head of a very, very tight pack. Nancy Cordes is covering the Republican contest in Florida.

[begin video clip]

CORDES: It was an amped-up John McCain who arrived in Miami's Little Havana today to a crush of cameras and well-wishers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need you big time.

CORDES: Florida poses a new challenge for the maverick senator. Unlike New Hampshire and South Carolina, Florida does not allow independents to vote in the GOP primary. Independents put McCain over the top in South Carolina. He split the Republican vote evenly with [former Arkansas Gov.] Mike Huckabee.

Can you win without independents?

McCAIN: The facts are there with both liberal, moderate, and conservative.

CORDES: Huckabee is trying to regroup after his narrow loss, insisting it hasn't harmed his chances here.

HUCKABEE: We plan no Mickey Mouse operation in Florida.

CORDES: If McCain has momentum here, Rudy Giuliani has squatter's rights. The former New York mayor has spent weeks in Florida, even as his prospects dimmed elsewhere. In South Carolina, he garnered just 2 percent of the vote.

Today, Giuliani released a Spanish-language ad backing a catastrophic-insurance fund. It's a major issue in hurricane-prone Florida.

ROMNEY: Who let dogs out? Who, who?

CORDES: Mitt Romney, who held a rap session of sorts in Jacksonville today, is airing his own ad in Spanish.

Cuban-Americans make up a crucial 15 percent of Florida's GOP electorate and have not coalesced around a single candidate.

PEDRO GOMEZ (Cuban-American): The economy, health care, and those same issues are important to us as they are to the American people.

[end video clip]

CORDES: There is a lot of speculation tonight that Fred Thompson may be about to drop out. He failed to surge in South Carolina, has not released any plans to campaign here in Florida, and perhaps most tellingly, Harry, some of his staffers are starting to take jobs on other campaigns.

Network/Outlet
CBS
Person
Nancy Cordes
Show/Publication
CBS Evening News
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