Rep. Bobby Schilling’s campaign is defending comments the congressman made in April in which he suggested some Hispanics don’t know their own language well enough, let alone English.

The comment, which Schilling’s campaign says was recorded secretly by a tracker for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has been put on YouTube.

During a discussion between Schilling and others about several issues, English as a second language came up as a topic.

Schilling said: “One of the biggest problems — you know, I’ve got some Hispanic friends — is that a lot of those folks that don’t know English is primarily because they don’t even know Spanish. They don’t even know their own language. So that’s why you’ve got these teachers coming in helping to try to get them better with their own language and then kind of teach them. It’s a pretty tough battle.”

The comment was first reported by the The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.

Schilling spokesman Jon Schweppe suggested Tuesday that the congressman’s comments weren’t out of the ordinary.

“Congressman Schilling was clearly talking about what every freshman in high school taking Spanish 1 understands — you must first learn the fundamentals and proper grammar of your own language before learning a second language,” he said. “This is something any foreign language educator would tell you.”

The recording that is posted on YouTube does not show any visual images, just the audio recording. It is dated April 10 and is part of several recordings posted of Schilling.

It is a common practice in politics for the parties to follow candidates of the opposite party, particularly in targeted races such as the 17th District contest.

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Factually correct. I know this because I married a Hispanic woman. The "Spanish" spoken by most Hispanics is NOT proper Spanish. People from Spain have trouble understanding it. The biggest insult you can hurl at a democrat is the truth. That offends them more than anything.


In the 17th district the majority of 1st generation Hispanics are immigrants from Mexico. Many have received little or no formal education in Mexico and are what is know as functionally illiterate. In the English as a second language classrooms, it is quite true that many of the students are only marginally literate in either language, and do indeed need to receive remedial work in their native language. En el distrito 17 la mayoria de Hispanos del primero generacion son imigrantes de mexico. Muchos han recibido poco o ningun educacion formal en Mexico, y estan analfabetados funcionamente. En las salas donde les ensenan Ingles, como segundo idioma, es verdad que muchos estudiantes estan instruidos en una manera marginal en las dos lenguas, y sinceramente tienen la necesidad de recibir ayuda de recuperacion en su idioma oriundo.

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Bobby Schilling : The Mitt Romney of the 17th district.

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