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El Presidente Obama celebrates 'Cinco de Cuatro'

May 4, 2009 |  5:52 pm

Well, there goes some of the Latino vote next time.

President Obama greeted a White House crowd this afternoon gathered for a May 4 premature celebration of Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday honoring an upset military victory over the French, whose troops didn't do so well in North America and don't celebrate the same day much.

Anyway, in a well-intentioned attempt at Spanish and a joke about being a day early, Obama said:

"Bienvenidos. Welcome to Cinco de Cuatro -- (laughter) -- Cinco de Mayo at the White House. We are a day early, but we always like to get a head start here at the Obama White House."

Apparently unbeknownst to the president he wasn't saying "Happy May 4th." He was saying, "Happy fifth of fourth."

He could have said, "Feliz cuatro de mayo." But he didn't. So that explains the laughter.

He also said:

Cinco de Mayo marks a singular moment in Mexican history. Nearly 150 years ago, a ragtag band of soldiers and citizens, badly outnumbered and facing impossible odds, held their ground on a muddy hill to defend their nation from what was at the time the most fearsome fighting force in the world. 

That decisive victory at what became known as the Battle of Puebla ignited a pride in country and culture that Mexican Americans feel to this day.

And tomorrow, on both sides of our border, we'll pay tribute to our shared heritage by celebrating with friends and family, with love and laughter. We'll remember that America is a richer and more vibrant place thanks to the contributions of Mexican Americans -- (applause).

But everyone had a good time anyway.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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