There was no que bola? or que onda? during Jeb Bush's debut on Spanish-language network television this weekend. The former Florida governor left out the Mexican slang and Cubanisms during his 25-minute interview Sunday with Telemundo's José Díaz-Balart.
It's clear that the Republican presidential candidate speaks Spanish fluently (with a gringo accent, of course). During the sit-down interview, Bush discussed immigration reform, Cuban foreign policy, and the Puerto Rican debt crisis with only a handful of minor word-gender mistakes.
Bush, who is married to a Mexican woman and who has been embraced by Miami's Cuban exile community, kept his Spanish mostly neutral during the chat. You could only hear a slight trace of Miami in his accent, when he dropped the last "s" in some of his words. He did refer to himself as a niño popis when he met his wife, Columba, during a high school trip to central Mexico. That's Mexican slang for "spoiled boy."
If Jeb made it to the White House, he would be the first bilingual U.S. president in 70 years. The last one was FDR, who spoke French and German fluently. Past presidents have brushed up on their Spanish, knowing how important it is to reach Latino voters. But few, including President Obama, can really say much.