Ten Republican presidential candidates debated at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Tuesday night in their third debate this campaign season. As a follow-up to our previous Smart Politics entry, the Republicans departed starkly from their Democratic counterparts, who debated at St. Anselm on Sunday night, on the issue of making English the official language of the United States.
Last Sunday only 1 Democratic candidate—former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel (who is polling at the bottom in primary matchup polls)—stated that English should be the official language in the USA. On Tuesday night, when asked by CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer if any Republican candidate did not support making English the official language, 9 candidates remained silent. Only John McCain raised his hand with qualified support for the policy. McCain stated “it was fine,” but noted that treaties with Indian nations, such as those in his home state of Arizona, permit tribal governments to conduct their official business in their native tongue.
Several Republican candidates attempted to jump at this opening provided by McCain, however, as the question posed only asked for those who did not support the policy, Blitzer did not let any candidate offer a rejoinder.
Approximately 90 percent of self-identified Republicans support the policy of making English the official language of the nation.