On Friday night last week, Sen Cory Booker was on the campaign trail in Iowa. When he was asked a question, he invented a language. Barack Obama did it with his remark in 2009 about speaking “Austrian” (also nonexistent), so we guess he thought that it was ok. But he’s a little nervous for a presidential candidate and didn’t come off sounding particularly intelligent in an exchange with a reporter from Swiss radio.
The reporter had an accent, so Sen Booker assumed he was Spanish or Mexican or something… QUESTION: Senator this is your first day really on trail, what is your first impression? Booker: Tu hablo espanol, Si? QUESTIONER: No, Swiss radio. Booker: Swiss! Yeah, I do not speak Swiss. (nervous laugh) I cannot even say swiss cheese in swiss.
For the record, the people in Switzerland don’t speak “Swiss.” There is no such language. The Swiss people speak dialects of French, German, and Italian and Romansh. German is the most common language, although the dialects often differ. Here’s the video of the encounter:
Here's video of the exchange from Friday night pic.twitter.com/rm5e4wlGti— David P Gelles (@gelles) February 11, 2019
The responses to Mr. Gelles’ post on Twitter were classic. Gelles is an executive producer at CNN. Reporting the gaffe of a Democrat on the campaign trail seems out of character for them. But the responses to his post were classic:
“Going for that Swisspanic vote.”
“His Spanish is pretty poor at that.”
“One state down, 56 more to go!”
“Spartacus is fluent in Attic Greek.” [Remember that Booker referred to himself as Spartacus. He’s not.]
“Tu hablo”??? You I speak.
“It should be “hablas” not “hablo,” which means “I speak.” However, using the formal you would probably be more appropriate in this setting, so “¿Habla usted español?” [Don’t worry, he was oblivious and once again…nervous.]
“Put the pronunciation in the envelope from Charter Schools and Big Pharma and he’ll know how to say it in the morning.”
“And it costs them at least $30 000 a year for this brilliant result.”
“He was mayor of Newark that has a large Hispanic community. This tells you how well involved he was with them.”
The impressions given by political candidates recently appear to be somewhat less than brilliant.