'This is Alabama; we speak English,' governor candidate says
Amid a national debate over Arizona's tough new immigration law, Republican Alabama Tim James (and son of previous Gov. Fob James) vows in a new campaign ad that if he's elected, he'll give the state driver's license exam only in English, as a cost-saving measure.
"This is Alabama; we speak English," he says in the ad. "If you want to live here, learn it."
It's not clear how James thinks the change would save the state money. Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic says could actually lose billions of dollars in federal funding if it enacts the measure, and he points to an Alabama political blog that runs down the legal history for why the exams are in multiple languages.
James says he's been attacked by the left for the ad, singling out MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. A writer on her blog called the ad "just plain mean" and argued it was simply pandering to the candidate's conservative base.
"I have come under attack and under assault by a very interesting group of far-left reporters," he said Monday, according to the Birmingham News. He said English exams are a public safety issue, to ensure drivers can read signs. Exams are currently given in Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese, according to AOL News.
— Liz Goodwin is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News.