Thompson says immigrants deserve some blame for mortgage crisis
Nick Juliano
Published: Monday December 24, 2007 |
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Agrees with voter's assessment that Spanish language is 'sickening'

During what must've been a strenuous day of campaigning in Iowa, GOP candidate Fred Thompson told potential voters at his one-and-only appearance that immigrants deserve some of the blame for the mortgage crisis.

"A lot of them couldn't communicate with the people they were getting the mortgage from," the lagging Republican told an Iowa audience during his "Clear Conservative Choice bus tour," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Thompson's stop in Mason City, Iowa, allowed him to play on Republicans' fears of immigrants and riff on apparent frustration with hearing options in Spanish on recorded phone messages.

Janice Easley, one voter in the audience, was boiling with frustration at having to hear, "Para el espaņol, prensa dos," whenever she called the power company.

"Everything is in Spanish," she said. "It's sickening."

"You are so, so right," Thompson said, calling for English to be made the national language, before placing the blame for the sub-prime mortgage crisis on non-English-speakers.

Thompson's anti-immigrant rhetoric -- which apparently wasn't limited just to those people who enter the US illegally -- came as the former Tennessee senator and Law & Order star tried to breathe some life into his lackluster campaign. His attempt to come across as the "true conservative," came just days after the virulently anti-immigrant Tom Tancredo withdrew from the presidential race, and it marked a 180-degree switch from his attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters at a Spanish language debate less than three weeks earlier.

"I think we do share a lot in this country, whether we are Hispanic or not Hispanic," Thompson said at the Univision-sponsored GOP debate Dec. 9. "I think we have some of the same basic values."

For the record, a confluence of negative economic factors, including the burst of the housing bubble, led to the sub-prime mortgage crisis that has shaken the US economy. Language barriers are not widely believed to be among its leading cause.