The Trail

Saturday, July 12, 2008

WORD WATCHING

Obama Defends Comments On Learning Other Languages

DAYTON, Ohio -- Sen. Barack Obama wishes he spoke Spanish -- or some other language.

"I said something the other day down in Georgia, and the Republicans jumped on this. I said, you know, absolutely immigrants need to learn English, but we also need to learn foreign languages," he said here Friday. ". . . I don't speak a foreign language. It's embarrassing!"

While campaigning in Georgia earlier in the week, the Illinois Democrat had called for Americans to learn more foreign languages.

"It's embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German," he had said. "And then we go over to Europe and all we can say is 'Merci beaucoup.' " Conservatives ridiculed Obama for the remark, but the senator seemed eager to defend it here, as the question he was asked was about the No Child Left Behind education law.

-- Perry Bacon Jr.

BUYING TIME

DNCC Targets 31 House Seats With $35 Million Worth of Ads

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has booked $35 million worth of ads that will run in 31 of the most competitive House districts in the country in the coming months, the first move in a battle in which both sides will seek to tilt the congressional playing field in their favor.

The 31 districts in which the Democratic campaign organization has reserved time include 20 in which an incumbent is running for reelection (11 Democrats, nine Republicans) and 11 without an incumbent in the race, 10 of which are controlled by the GOP.

Among the expenditures in target areas: $1.8 million in the non-incumbent contest in New Jersey's 7th District; and $1.7 million each for Arizona's 1st District, which is being vacated by Republican Rep. Rick Renzi, and Arizona's 5th, which is held by freshman Democratic Rep. Harry E. Mitchell.

The massive expenditure is likely to be the first in a series of television ad buys in which the DCCC seeks to bring its $40 million cash-on-hand edge over the National Republican Congressional Committee to bear. This initial buy is generally cautious and includes several areas in which Democratic incumbents are expected to win relatively easily in November, while it skips a number of top-tier takeover opportunities, including Washington's 8th District and Illinois's 11th.

-- Chris Cillizza


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