Monday, March 19, 2007

Say what? - UPDATED

In an article in today's Herald, Beth Reinhard claims that Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney "bungled" his recent south Florida speech. She quotes Romney in this passage from her article:

''Hugo Chávez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase -- Patria o muerte, venceremos,'' Romney said. "It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba.''
The phrase Patria o muerte means 'fatherland or death' and as Jaime Suchliki states in Reinhard's article "[it] belongs to Fidel, I don't know where [Romney] got that.'' In other words the phrase didn't pre-exist Fidel's regime, it's an invention of it.

But a blogger named named Bob McCarty points out that the text of the speech on Romney's web site has Romney saying:
"Chavez and Castro are brothers in blood, intent on personal gratification at the expense of their people. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro have stolen the phrase – 'Patria o muerte, venceremos.' This phrase should not be used by dictators, but by liberators."
While this may look like a distinction without a difference, there really is a difference. If Romney said what Reinhard claims it's a terrible gaffe that shows he doesn't know what he's talking about. On the other hand if he said what his web site published then it's an observation that fidel castro's phrase would have been more appropriate in the mouth of someone like José Martí. An observation that has some merit considering that the Cuban National Anthem (which does pre-date Castro) contains the phrase, "to die for the fatherland is to live."

Either way Romney should have been more careful, but the question remains: what did Romney actually say? Sometimes the Herald posts links to audio files. It would seem appropriate to post the audio from Romney's speech to hear what he actually said.

Hat tip: Rick and Alex at SotP

UPDATE, 3/20/07:

Ms. Reinhard from the Herald returned my email and said that the text of the speech on Romney's web site was not what he said at the gathering. I replied asking if she had audio of the speech and if so it it could be posted. She replied "no" which I'm not sure if it means no, she doesn't have audio or no, they aren't going to post it.

Herald Watch then called the Romney campaign to inquire about the speech. One of the publicists from the campaign returned my call and essentially verified the Herald's version of the story, that Romney misspoke when addressing a group of South Floridians, that the text on the Romney web site is what he should have said.


C.L.J. said...

It should be noted that the text on the Romney website is the speech he intended to give, and not necessarily what he actually said.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

That's exactly correct. That's why it would be great if they post the audio. Unfortunately Ms. Reinhard hasn't responded to my email.