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Tancredo: McCain won't make English official

Wolf Blitzer moderating last night’s Republican presidential candidate debate hosted by CNN (Image: Newsbusters.org)

Rep. Tom Tancredo squared off with Sen. John McCain at last night’s debate between the 10 leading Republican presidential candidates, asserting the Arizona lawmaker’s controversial immigration bill will not make English the country’s official language as claimed.

The exchange began when moderator Wolf Blitzer of CNN, referring to Tancredo’s “highly publicized” remark to WND that Miami is a Third World country, asked the Colorado congressman if he would advertise his campaign in Spanish.

Tancredo said he would not.

“Believe me when I tell you the preservation of the English language is important for us for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is it holds us together,” he said. “It is the glue that keeps a country together. Any country. Bilingual countries don’t work, and we should not encourage it.”

[See video here at Breitbart.tv]

Tancredo acknowledged the bill McCain is co-sponsoring with Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy ostensibly supports English as the official language.

“But [McCain] doesn’t tell you he’s going to codify Bill Clinton’s executive order that says all papers produced by the government have to be in various languages,” Tancredo said.

“It is absolutely wrong,” he continued. “English is the language of this country, and we should not be ashamed of that. It holds us all together regardless of where we come from, regardless of our backgrounds, our histories. It doesn’t matter. We need that thing to hold us together.”

Given a chance to respond, McCain did not directly address the issue.

“We need to enforce our borders; there is indeed a special path (to citizenship), it’s especially hard, it’s eight to 13 years,” he replied. “My friends, we know what we’re talking about, it’s the latest wave of migrants into this country. We have to stop the illegal immigration, but we’ve had waves throughout our history. Hispanics is what we’re talking about. A different culture, a different language, which has enriched my state where Spanish was spoken before English was.”

The senator concluded by urging Americans to consider the sacrifice Hispanics have made serving in the U.S. military in Vietnam and now in Iraq and Afghanistan. That includes green-card holders, he said, who “love this country so much that they’re willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship and enjoy the bountiful blessed nation.”

“So let’s from time to time remember that these are God’s children,” McCain said. “They must come into our country legally, but they have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them.”

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