Politics

Carlos Curbelo's Spanish SOTU Response Was a Weak-Sauce English Translation

Watching freshman Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo deliver the Republican Spanish-language rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, one could only wonder: Where the heck was Sen. Marco Rubio to hand his homeboy a tall drink of water?

You might recall Rubio took a break from his response to Obama's 2013 State of the Union address to wash his palate with some thirst-quenching, high-quality H2O. A visibly parched Curbelo sure could have used one of Rubio's water bottles for his prime-time debut.

Except for a few major details concerning Cuba and immigration, the cotton-mouthed congressman nervously orated what was essentially a translation of the English-language rebuttal -- given by another rookie federal legislator, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst.

There were a few differences from the English rebuttal. Curbelo began by providing a brief family history. "I remember as a child, my parents worked long hours for the benefit of our family," Curbelo said. "They came to this country looking for freedom and an opportunity to work and contribute to this great nation. For them, the road wasn't easy."

After laying down his Cuban roots, the congressman criticized the Obama administration for delivering "unearned concessions" to cruel dictatorships in Cuba and Iran. Ernst, on the other hand, did not mention Cuba at all in her speech.

Curbelo, who made immigration reform a cornerstone of his campaign, also spoke about "modernizing legal immigration." Ernst's speech was devoid of the word "immigration."

But despite the slight differences, Curbelo drew plenty of criticism on Twitter and his Facebook page after Mother Jones broke the news that most of the words in the speech were not his own.

The comments on a Facebook status update announcing he was delivering the Spanish rebuttal weren't nice either.

"It makes me sad to see how a Latino with the potential to do good can be so blind," Armando Hernandez wrote. "I hope your party doesn't boot you out once they don't need you anymore."

"The poor fool doesn't know what he is talking about," Monica Fuentes wrote. "He should be more prepared."

Or at least make sure he's got some Evian or Zephyrhills on deck.

Here's his full speech if you missed it last night:

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.