Obama doubles down on his comment on foreign languages, and offers a particularly disingenuous defense.
“I said something the other day down in Georgia, and the Republicans jumped on this. I said, you know, absolutely immigrants need to learn English, but we also need to learn foreign languages,” he said Friday.
Obama told the crowd that this is one of the problems with politics today.
“This is an example of some of the problems we get into when somebody attacks you for saying the truth, which is we should want children with more knowledge. We should want our children to have more skills. There’s nothing wrong with that! It’s a good thing,” he said.
Show me one conservative or Republican who thinks schools shouldn’t teach foreign languages. Schools have been doing this for years. As the PowerLine guys noted, as of 2004, 85 percent of America’s 17 million high school students were graduating with two or more years of foreign language instruction and a third had three or more years.
The objections were to just about everything but that: That Obama dismissed concerns about immigrants learning English with a wave of the hand and the declaration, “they’ll learn English.” His opposition to English-only curriculum to help students who don’t speak English in the home. His comparison of the needs of immigrants to the needs of American tourists in Europe. His assertion that American children learn Spanish to succeed in international business, when Portuguese, Russian, or Chinese would be more helpful with the BRIC numbers. His statement that he’s embarrassed by other American’s inability to speak the local language when traveling. And so on…
But here’s the kicker:
“I know because I don’t speak a foreign language. It’s embarrassing!” he said.
Which… makes us wonder about previous claims to speak Spanish and Indonesian.