Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Alexi No Habla Espanol

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Alexi No Habla Espanol
Alexi No Habla Espanol

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Read Full Profile | Alexi Giannoulias
The youngest candidate ever to be elected State Treasurer, Giannoulias is running for Obama's former U.S. Senate seat against Republican Mark Kirk.
Learn More About Giannoulias.

Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias each have un problemo espanol. Kirk speaks Spanish, thanks to his studies at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, but he doesn’t have any Spanish-speaking supporters, thanks to his opposition to the DREAM Act. So when Kirk cut a Spanish-language ad, he spoke all the words himself, beginning with “Me llamo Mark Kirk, candidado por Senado” and promising “combatir los pandillas” -- to fight the gangs.

Alexi Giannoulias, on the other hand, did his post-graduate studies on a basketball court in Greece. He thinks you go to a barrio to order a pitcher of MGD. Giannoulias can’t even buy lunch at Taco Bell without help from his Latino coordinator. But Giannoulias supports the DREAM Act, which will allow undocumented soldiers and students to become citizens. So he got Rep. Luis Gutierrez to act as his mouthpiece in a new Spanish-language ad.

“Son of immigrants, Alexi would fight for the DREAM Act and a immigration reform that keeps families together,” Gutierrez says in Spanish. “But no to Mark Kirk. He voted for the Sensenbrenner bill, criminalizing those that help the undocumented.” Giannoulias does "aprueba este mensaje" at the end. (I'd like to know how much coaching that took.)

Frankly, in this case, it’s better to have someone speak Spanish for you than to speak it yourself. Gutierrez’s words are going to carry more weight with the Latino community than those of the white Republican. Speaking Spanish doesn’t make him Latino, anymore that speaking English makes you Anglo.

Giannoulias can’t talk the Latino community’s talk, but he walks their walk.
 

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