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Illegal immigration is one of the key targets of Congressman Tom Tancredo's campaign for president. He wants to secure borders, reduce job prospects for border-crossers and end the "bilingualization" of America.
The latter goal is behind this statement on Fox News' The Big Story, where he makes the case that bilingual countries don't work. He cites the newspaper in Ottumwa, Iowa, as an example of things gone wrong.
Problem is, his example is wrong.
The regular newspaper for Ottumwa, Iowa, is the Ottumwa Courier, published six days a week in English, says Ottumwa Courier publisher Tom Hawley. Reported circulation is around 14,000.
Once a week, the Courier publishes a couple thousand Spanish editions along with the regular paper, Hawley says. The top story is printed in English and Spanish and the rest of the paper, which is a compilation of stories from the week, as well as Mexican soccer scores, is printed in Spanish. The Spanish papers are free and distributed across the city.
"It's really aimed at just helping (Hispanics) assimilate in the community," Hawley says. In Wapello County, where Ottumwa is the county seat, 7.4 percent of the population is Hispanic or Latino, according to a 2006 report from the State Data Center of Iowa.
So as far as the regular newspaper for Ottumwa, Iowa, being bilingual, Hawley said: "That's not true."
"He was a little confused," Hawley said of Tancredo. "We had him in for the editorial board and explained it. He didn't really say much. ... He continued to say the same thing even after we explained it."
We took this information to the Tancredo campaign, and press secretary Alan Moore disagreed with our findings.
"We stand by our statement," Moore said. He added, "How do you define regular?"
We'll skip the linguistics discussion and rule Tancredo's statement False.
Interview with Alan Moore, press secretary for the Tancredo campaign, Nov. 26, 2007, Nov. 29, 2007
Interview with Dale Uehling, mayor of Ottumwa, Iowa, Nov. 28, 2007
State Data Center of Iowa, "Race and Hispanic Origin Iowa Counties 2006"
Ottumwa Courier, "Ottumwa.com"
Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. Classified Advertising Network, "cnhi-can Circulation"
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