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Gerald Erichsen

Presidential Candidates Speak Spanish for TV Ads

By October 31, 2012

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Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are speaking Spanish — at least enough to make their voices heard to Spanish-speaking voters.

Although neither can converse in Spanish, the two can be heard briefly using America's second language in videos on their web sites at MittRomney.com and BarackObama.com. The Republican utters the words "Soy Mitt Romney, y apruebo este mensaje" (I'm Mitt Romney, and I approve this message) at the end of various ads, one of which features a son, Craig Romney, who speaks fluent Spanish after having served a church mission in Chile. And in an ad titled "Buen Ejemplo" ("Good Example"), the president shows himself to have been well-coached in Spanish pronunciation as he speaks for the entire 30 seconds.

The candidates' web sites feature plenty of articles and campaign updates in Spanish — they provide a good source of study material for Spanish students, as most of content appears to be translated from English and thus is generally easier to understand than what you might find on campaign sites in Spanish-speaking countries.

In contrast with some previous elections, none of the prominent minor-party candidates feature Spanish-language resources on their websites, although Jill Stein's Green Party (Partido Verde) and Gary Johnson's Libertarians are making attempts to organize Spanish-language voters.

Interested to know more about Spanish in politics? Check out our political glossary for translations of common terms.


October 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm
(1) Jake Beus says:

Thanks for posting this. It’s very cool that the candidates spent time to at least do an ad in Spanish. Any native speaker should always appreciate another’s effort to speak in their native tongue.

November 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm
(2) CEECEE says:

Estoy seguro! Also, natives, help with conversations; its more helpful if you do not simply take over the translation but help with the conversation if you see a novice and native speaking in your group. Thanks!

November 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm
(3) Janet says:

Rocky Anderson had some Spanish lit available for Latinos with little English skills. His running mate was Luis Rodriguez, a well known author and ex-gang member of Puerto Rican heritage (I believe)
who turned his life around. Rocky was mayor of Salt Lake City for eight years, during which he did many wonderful things for the people. Unfortunately he didn’t have enough resources to run a full out campaign (though I’m sure he would rather just have debates than to spend millions of dollars in advertising himself). He and Partido Verde candidate Jill Stein were locked out of the debates.

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