Gingrich: “Language of the Ghetto” Comment Was Not Spanish

Jan 29, 2012
9:27 PM

Today, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said on Fox News that his 2007 comments about English being the language of "prosperity" never specifically called out Spanish as the "language of living in the ghetto," and that his opponent Mitt Romney has been manipulating this fact in ads being run in Florida.

Before getting to Gingrich's comments today, here is what Gingrich said in 2007: 

“The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. … We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.”

Yes, we know, Gingrich never explicitly said Spanish, but it is pretty clear to us that when he criticized bilingual education, he was also criticizing Spanish, which is by far the most popular language taught in any US bilingual education curriculum. Furthermore, Gingrich went as so far to apologize for his comments with a video in Spanish:

Anyway, back to the present and to what Gingrich said today on FOX, according to Politico:

"I never used the word Spanish in the conversation."

Still, Gingrich issued an apology in Spanish, creating the impression that he was talking about the language, which is spoken by a substantial proportion of the Florida primary electorate. "I wasn't talking about any single language," he said Sunday. "Go back and read the text. I didn't reference any single language. English should be the language of every single student because it is the language" needed to "get ahead in America." 

"We don't want anyone trapped in America not able to speak English because English is the language of commercial success and gives you a better job," Gingrich said. Romney "turned that on its head and said something that was simply not true" in running an ad suggesting that Gingrich was specifically referring to Spanish.

Gingrich also tried to explain his use of the word "ghetto," telling host Chris Wallace: "As you know well, ghetto was originally a term for Jewish neighborhoods in the Middle Ages." 

We are still searching for the other 200 apologies Gingrich made in other languages. Once we find them, we will let you know.