No Show: Tancredo to Skip Spanish-Language Debate

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," December 6, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRENDA BUTTNER, GUEST HOST: And now to Miami. GOP presidential candidate Tom Tancredo taking a lot of heat for refusing to take part in this Sunday's Spanish-language presidential debate. It's airing on Univision.

All right. Why the boycott? Let's ask him.

Congressman Tancredo joins me now.

Why take yourself out of this, sir?

REP. TOM TANCREDO (R-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, because I wonder to whom this audience — to whom you are supposed to be speaking in a debate of this nature.

Remember that we are supposed to be talking to American citizens who have the right to vote, right? That's what a debate is for, so you can inform that electorate — the electorate.

Well, it is — I don't know if people realize this, but it's against the law to become an American citizen without the ability to speak and understand English. The law requires that.

So, to whom are you speaking, if you are speaking in a language other than English? And it is...

BUTTNER: Well, but many Spanish — many Spanish-speaking people still view Spanish as their primary language...

TANCREDO: That's the problem.

BUTTNER: ... even if they have passed that test.

TANCREDO: This is the problem. We should not be encouraging that. They are living in the United States of America. This country — my grandparents, when they came here, they would not let my parents speak Italian. They only let them speak English.

And they, themselves, although they were older, in some cases, when they came — some of them were — they learned it because they wanted to become Americans. That was their primary goal. It was — there was no divided loyalties. And, I'm telling you, when we are becoming — and when we are, unfortunately, becoming a bilingual nation, you have to also wonder about loyalties.

To whom are you loyal? Why will you not learn English? And why would we want to encourage that kind of phenomenon by doing something like a Spanish-language debate for the office of president of the United States?

BUTTNER: I guess it would have been hard to imagine in the early 1900s a debate in German or Italian.

TANCREDO: It certainly would.

And I think most of the people — I shouldn't say — I mean, I don't know. But I am just telling you about my grandparents. They would have expected that the people running for president would be asking them for their vote in English.

BUTTNER: Right. All right.

Congressman, thank you so much. We appreciate your perspective.

TANCREDO: Thank you.


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