AFP, May 3, 2006
First Lady Laura Bush broke with husband President George W. Bush, saying she found nothing wrong with a new Spanish-language version of the US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with singing it in Spanish,” Bush told CNN television in an interview.
“The point is, it’s the United States national anthem, and what people want is it to be sung in a way that respects the United States and our culture,” she said.
“We are a nation of immigrants,” the first lady continued. “We are a nation of many, many languages, because immigrants come and bring their languages.”
She added: “I recognize that we’re a nation of immigrants and that we’re a welcoming nation. And that’s why we’re diverse. That’s why we’re so strong. That’s why our culture is as rich as it is.”
Her views were in contrast to those of the president, who said last week that would-be citizens immigrating here should learn to sing the anthem in English, rather than a new Spanish-language rendition.
“We nearly all are immigrants, and our families came at different times for different reasons, a lot of them political, from around the world,” she said.
“I think we need to be a welcoming country,” said Bush, a native of the southern border state of Texas, where tens of thousands of undocumented aliens reside.