In anticipation of Latino USA‘s upcoming show about the U.S. Latino vote (send us your voice memos), I plan to share daily historical examples of American politics and Latinos. 

The first example happened in 1960, when Jackie Kennedy —who knew multiple languages— spoke Spanish in an ad for her husband Jack.

The political site published a bilingual transcript of the ad:

Queridos amigos,

Les habla la esposa del senador John F. Kennedy, candidato a la presidencia de los Estados Unidos. En estos tiempos de tanto peligro, cuando la paz mundial se ve amenazada por el comunismo, es necesario tener en la Casa Blanca un líder capaz de guíar nuestros destinos con una mano firme. Mi esposo siempre vigilará los intereses de todos los sectores de nuestra sociedad que necesitan la protección de un gobierno humanitario. Para el futuro de nuestros niños y para lograr un mundo donde exista la paz verdadera, voten ustedes por el partido demócrata el día 8 de noviembre. ¡Que viva Kennedy!

Dear friends,

I am the wife of Senator John F. Kennedy, a candidate for President of the United States. In these times of such great danger, when world peace is threatened by Communism, it’s necessary to have a leader in the White House who is capable of guiding our destiny with a firm hand. My husband will always watch over the interests of the parts of our society that need the protection of a humanitarian government. For our children’s’ future, and to achieve a world where true peace exists, vote for the Democratic Party on November 8th. Long live Kennedy!

The ad was part of a strategy by the Kennedy campaign to connect with Latino voters, especially in Texas, where Mexican Americans were seen as a growing group. In 2013, NPR ran a story about this strategy and the rise of the Viva Kennedy clubsThe Kennedy-Johnson ticket won Texas’ 24 electoral votes in 1964 by a margin of fewer than 50,000 votes. Viva Kennedy clubs also sprouted in California, Nixon’s home state, which the Democratic ticket lost by fewer than 40,000 votes.

8 thoughts on “The Time Jackie Kennedy Spoke to Voters in Spanish

  1. And now we have Jill Biden mangling the language and ticking off Hispanics by comparing them to tacos.

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