Sanders Drops Spanish in Puerto Rico, Escapes 'Hispandering' Criticism

Image: Senator Bernie Sanders in Puerto Rico
epa05310990 Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks during an event in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, 16 May 2016. Sanders plans to participate in three public events that will run throughout the day to try to win support for his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, ahead of the US presidential elections scheduled for November. EPA/Thais LlorcaThais Llorca / EPA

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By Suzanne Gamboa

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders dropped a little Spanish in a town hall in Puerto Rico - including one where he told the crowd his Spanish was "no es muy bueno (is not very good)" and won praise from his supporters and Twitter fans.

Sanders was in Puerto Rico Monday, the day before primaries in Oregon and Kentucky.

Hillary Clinton, the party's frontrunner for the nomination, has been criticized in the past for her use of Spanish. She endured an online backlash when she told a San Antonio audience she wanted to be "tú Hillary (your Hillary) or saying "¡Basta! (Enough)" in reference to Trump's rhetoric early in the campaign. The "Hispandering" charge was used on her when a staffer wrote in a blog how Clinton was just like your "abuelita (grandmother)"

Sanders used four sentences and one word - Sí – in Spanish in his one hour speech, and question and answer session. In one of those sentences he asked the crowd to forgive him because his Spanish was not good. He acknowledged, in English, that his pronunciation was poor.

But generally he won praise and cheers from his supporters.

His detractors, though were not impressed.

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