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'Let the fireworks begin':
Miami reinvites Tancredo

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

Considering that U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo’s first scheduled speech in Miami to defend his characterization of the city as a “Third World country” was canceled due to a bomb threat, a second invitation to speak – punctuated by “Let the fireworks begin” – might not have been the best choice of words, but the congressman is considering the offer anyway.

As WND reported, Tancredo had been invited to give a speech last Thursday to the Miami Rotary Club following his war of words with Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush over earlier comments to WND that Miami is a “Third World country”.

Tancredo said he was referring to the city’s crime, low high school graduation rates and large numbers of people who speak mainly Spanish.

“What is more ‘Third World country’ than threatening to bomb the place?” Tancredo spokesman Carlos Espinosa told WTVJ-TV.

The local CBS affiliate reported: “The manager of the restaurant where Tancredo was to speak, the Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne, said Wednesday that the owners didn’t want him to appear on Thursday in order to keep up the integrity and reputation of the business. The manager also said staff members objected to working the party where his immigration talk was supposed to be held, some customers threatened to boycott the restaurant, and the restaurant had received bomb threats.”

Now, a smaller Miami-area Rotary Club has stepped forward and asked Tancredo to come to the South Florida city and share his ideas.

“Let the fireworks begin,” Steven Shulman, who arranges speakers for the 23-member Rotary Club of Miami Beach, told the Denver Post. “Miami’s a filthy, dirty, disgusting, corrupt banana republic.”

Tancredo is considering the offer, said spokesman Carlos Espinosa.

The smaller Miami Beach club dismissed concerns over the controversy Tancredo’s appearance could cause.

“What the congressman has to say is worthwhile, whether you disagree with it or agree with it,” said Bill Coffman, the club’s president. “We ought to celebrate diversity instead of celebrating sameness. It’s the differences of opinion that makes us strong.”

Coffman’s group has not yet found a venue but is considering something large – the city’s convention center, perhaps – with ticket sales to cover the cost. The program would feature other participants whose views vary from Tancredo’s.

The furor began when the Colorado congressman, in an interview with WND, lamented how the nature of America can be changed by uncontrolled immigration.

“Look at what has happened to Miami. It has become a Third World country,” he said. “You just pick it up and take it and move it someplace. You would never know you’re in the United States of America. You would certainly say you’re in a Third World country.”

Gov. Bush then responded with a letter addressed to Tancredo’s Washington office that, “The bottom line is Miami is a wonderful city filled with diversity and heritage that we choose to celebrate, not insult. Miami has been my home for years and I am looking forward to returning there in January.”

“Florida, like America itself, attracts people from many places, and immigrants always bring diverse cultures, races, and religious beliefs to our shores,” Tancredo wrote back to Bush. “It is precisely because of these diverse origins, cultures and languages that Florida and America depend on a few things to hold us together. One of the most important things that contributes to cohesion and not fragmentation is the English language and the evidence suggests that this is something that fewer and fewer Miamians share.”

He also said it’s apparent fewer and fewer residents of that city even think of themselves as Americans.

“Everyone is really taking offense to it, which I don’t understand,” Espinosa said. “The interesting thing is, to this day, no one is denying (that it’s true).”

Yesterday, Tancredo issued a challenge to Gov. Bush to post the speech he had had planned to deliver on Thursday on the governor’s official website.

“The governor has characterized my canceled speech as unfortunate,” Tancredo said. “I would like to give him the opportunity to show everyone just how much he truly supports the free exchange of ideas by sharing my speech in an open forum on his website.”

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