Politics

UPDATE: The National Anthem At Bushs First Inaugural

UPDATE: Contemporaneous media accounts (see here for example) report that Secada was singing “America the Beautiful,” not the national anthem. The story from Cox News below, reporting that Secada sang the national anthem in Spanish, appears to be in error.

Jon Secada Singing at the White House

On Friday, President Bush blasted the idea of singing the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish. But Bush’s highly-scripted 2001 inaugural ceremony actually featured a rendition of the national anthem sung in Spanish by Jon Secada. From Cox News Service, 1/18/01:

The opening ceremony reflected that sentiment. A racially diverse string of famous and once famous performers entertained Bush, soon-to-be First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President-elect Richard B. Cheney and his wife, Lynne, who watched on stage from a special viewing area.

Pop star Jon Secada sang the national anthem in English and Spanish.

Apparently, Secada singing the anthem in Spanish was a regular feature of the Bush campaign. From the 8/3/00 Miami Herald:

The nominee, his wife Laura, erstwhile rival John McCain and his wife Cindy joined Bush on a platform where children sang the national anthem – in “Spanglish,” Secada explained.

This morning, ThinkProgress revealed that, according to Kevin Phillip’s book American Dynasty, Bush himself sang the national anthem in Spanish. Looks like Bush’s conviction that “the national anthem ought to be sung in English” was something he acquired very recently.