Inside Politics

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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Hola, America

The best way to learn English is to jettison Spanish-language media, said California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“You’ve got to turn off the Spanish television set,” the Austrian-born Republican told 300 members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists on Wednesday night.

“It’s that simple. You”ve got to learn English,” said Mr. Schwarzenegger, whose native language is German. “I know this sounds odd and this is the politically incorrect thing to say and I”m going to get myself in trouble. But I know that when I came to this country, I very rarely spoke German to anyone.”

The governor said tutoring and after-school programs are essential but emphasized that immigrants should avoid a Spanish-only life and learn English.

“They’re busy working. They don’t have time to,” countered Pilar Marrero of the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion.

Yee-haw

Folks in Texas have a few notions about welcoming Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on her campaign stop there today.

Dick Collins, founder of the Dallas-based anti-Hillary “educational” group Stop Her Now, will fly a giant aerial banner over downtown Dallas this afternoon. The New York Democrat’s plane is due to stop and refuel sometime during that period.

“We want to make sure Senator Clinton receives a proper Texas welcome,” Mr. Collins said. “Our mission is to follow Hillary across the country, exposing her liberal ideology. Senator Clinton makes this easy when she drops into our back yard.”

The banner is rumored to say something along the lines of “rescue America from the radical ideas of Hillary.” The group has a substantial Web site, a blog, MySpace and Facebook pages and its own YouTube channel.

“Our Facebook group boasts more members than Senator Mike Gravel, Senator Chris Dodd, Senator Sam Brownback, Governor Mike Huckabee, Representative Tom Tancredo, and Representative Duncan Hunter. We have become the most interactive presidential education Web site on the Internet,” Mr. Collins said.

Screen gems

CNN has embraced YouTube and Google with a trusting flourish.

“This is the future,” CNN executives said yesterday as they revealed plans to allow everyday voters to get all Wolf Blitzer-y and submit debate questions via YouTube, suggesting that submissions be “compelling, personal and relevant.” And no longer than 30 seconds.

Producers will select 20 to 30 questions for each debate — Democrats on July 23 and Republicans on Sept. 17. And is it all fancy? Each candidate will have a flat-screen TV to view the question, with a Google Earth map of where the questioner is located.

None other than Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean lauded the format as groundbreaking and helping to “usher in a new era in American politics that recognizes campaigns require a two-way dialogue between voters and their candidates on the future of our country.”

Well, let”s hope they don’t have a power failure.

The Washington Times is considering posting its own debate questions for both parties. Visit The Washington Times’ blog Fishwrap to submit ideas at http://video1. washingtontimes.com/fishwrap.

Not one of the guys

“One of the frustrations is that there is more attention on Britney Spears getting out of a car without underwear than there is about who is going to be the next president,” Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said during a press conference in Iowa yesterday.

“Accompanying Paris Hilton to jail might work,” he theorized, adding that in a two-hour debate, he typically gets just six minutes on camera.

Mr. Huckabee lamented the fact that there are “three guys who seem to have been anointed by the national media to get a preponderance of the time no matter what they do, where they do it and what they say.”

The three guys? “Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney,” he said.

Reconsidering?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who brags on the campaign trail of having denied all 272 requests for pardons or commutations during his term as Massachusetts governor, said yesterday that a pardon for former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr. deserves a close examination.

“I took a careful review during my term as governor of the people that were brought forward. That doesn”t mean I pardoned them, but I took a careful review. I think this deserves a very careful review,” Mr. Romney told the Associated Press in a brief interview.

Libby, a former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted in March of lying to investigators and obstructing special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s inquiry into the 2003 leak of a CIA employee’s name. A federal judge yesterday said he will not delay a 2½-year prison sentence for Libby in the case. Calls by Republican candidates to pardon Libby often draw cheers from party faithful at rallies.

“I think the prosecutor may well have abused prosecutorial discretion by pursuing the investigation after he had learned that the source of the leak was Richard Armitage,” Mr. Romney said. “He knew that there was, therefore, not a crime committed and yet, he proceeded with the investigation knowing that there was no crime to pursue.

“That abuse of prosecutorial discretion justifies a very careful look,” he said.

Brangelina ban

Angelina Jolie is promoting freedom of the press by censoring interviews.

Miss Jolie plays the widow of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in a new movie called “A Mighty Heart.” A Wednesday premiere showing was meant to support a press-freedom organization called Reporters Without Borders, Fox News reports.

But Miss Jolie’s attorney required all journalists to sign a contract before talking with her, and the actress instructed publicists at first to ban Fox News from the premiere’s red-carpet ceremony.

Reporters from most major journalistic outlets balked Wednesday when they were asked to agree to “not ask Ms. Jolie any questions regarding her personal relationships. In the event Interviewer does ask Ms. Jolie any questions regarding her personal relationships, Ms. Jolie will have the right to immediately terminate the interview and leave.”

Which means: No “Brangelina” questions about Miss Jolie’s relationship with actor Brad Pitt.

USA Today and the Associated Press were said to be “among those that canceled interviews, and eventually Jolie scotched all print interviews when she heard the reaction,” Fox’s Roger Friedman reported.

Miss Jolie “told Paramount Pictures publicists to ban Fox News Channel and all Fox News affiliates from covering the ‘Mighty Heart’ premiere on the red carpet. It was only with the intervention of mortified Paramount staff that an FNC camera crew was allowed to be present.”

c Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washington times.com or 202/636-3085.

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