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Does Obama Speak Arabic?

1:04 PM, Jun 3, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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So Obama showed off a little Arabic in his meeting with the Saudi King:

KING ABDULLAH: (As translated.) I thank you, Mr. President, for the kind words and the kind sentiments expressed within them. I am not surprised, given the historic and strategic ties between our two countries, I believe that go back to the time of the meeting between the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the late King Abdul-Aziz.

I also want to express my best wishes to the friendly American people who are represented by a distinguished man who deserves to be in this position.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Shukran.

Obama has said before that he speaks "barely passable Spanish" and "a smattering of Swahili," as well as some Bahasa from his youth in Indonesia. But Obama has at other times denied speaking a foreign language, saying in July of last year, "I don't speak a foreign language. It's embarrassing!" And even today, Michelle Obama is delivering the commencement address at Washington Math, Science, Technology Public Charter School, where Mark Knoller reports that she implored graduates to learn a language, and that both she and the president "regret they never learned another language."

It seems there is some legitimate confusion on just what languages Obama speaks, and as far as Arabic, the only real hint has came from Nick Kristof, who heard Obama recite the Muslim call to prayer in Arabic and with a "first-rate accent" back in 2007. With even the White House now smearing Obama as a Muslim, one wonders if the president hasn't been concealing some greater fluency with the language of the Koran.