How does a politician get his foot out of his mouth these days? Well, Newt Gingrich, a long-shot contender for the Republican nomination for president - who decried bilingual education as "the language of living in the ghetto - is trying YouTube, The Washington Post reports.
The "Mensaje de Newt Gingrich" was delivered in Spanish with English subtitles.
In an interview yesterday, the Georgia Republican called his choice of words "clumsy." "Look, people are misunderstanding what I'm saying," Gingrich said. "What I was simply saying is that a language barrier -- any language barrier, whether you speak Hindi, Chinese, Vietnamese -- hampers a person's ability to communicate in the language of prosperity."
Gingrich may have hoped to use YouTube to get around having the media spin his apology against him, but he may not have reckoned on YouTube's open user comments.
"While the rest of the world rushes to make their children bi- and trilingual, this linguistically arrogant [person] bring his narrow mindedness to light," as one commenter put it.
"Keep it up, Newt. You're absolutely right," wrote another. "People who speak English have better opportunity in this country. That's not a racist or anti-Spanish statement, it's just the reality that speaking the dominant language of a country is a first step at being successful."
Another wrote: "This is freaking hilarious. Newt makes Bush sound like an expert in Spanish."
Gingrich has been studying Spanish since 9/11, he said, but he knows he's not exactly fluent.
Of the final product, he said with a laugh: "I hope it wasn't too painful to watch."