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Klobuchar Tells Latino Workers Her Nickname Was ‘Elena’ In Grade School Spanish Class, Gets Mocked For ‘Hispandering’

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who is looking to make inroads with diverse voters in Nevada ahead of its caucus Saturday, told an awkward anecdote about her elementary school Spanish class to Latino workers from the powerful Culinary Union that was mocked on Twitter as “Hispandering” — or pandering to Hispanics.

“Well let me tell you first about me, my name is Amy and when I took Spanish in fourth grade my name was Elena,” Klobuchar said. “I would use the name me llamo Elena because I couldn’t roll my R’s very well.”

The Minnesota senator began with the anecdote to tell a story about her immigrant grandparents, but was immediately mocked on Twitter for pandering to Latino voters in the first early state with a large Hispanic electorate.

The moment captured a concern from Nevada advocacy groups on the ground that some candidates parachuted into their heavily non-white state, ready to do some pandering to voters of color, without earlier engagement with black and brown communities in the state, making the late outreach feel hollow.

Moreover, one Las Vegas activist told Mediaite last week that, “Amy Klobuchar is just now reaching out to people of color,” as black advocates questioned why she and Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) were given plum speaking roles at a Black History Month brunch over the weekend.

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