Klobuchar Shares Anecdote of Her Fourth-Grade Spanish Name: ‘Me llamo Elena’

    Seeing Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s clumsy introduction to the Las Vegas Culinary Workers Union in Nevada Tuesday night didn’t sit so well with my parents — both former members of the union that represented my mom (previously a housekeeper) and my dad (a casino restaurant cook).

    In a video clip circulating on Twitter, Klobuchar greets culinary union workers with an interesting anecdote:

    “First about me. My name is Amy, and when I took Spanish in fourth grade my name was Elena,” she said to a few befuddled looks. “They gave me the name “me llamo Elena” because I couldn’t roll my Rs. very, very well and so it was E L E N A, and uh, I, first my story was this…”

    My parents aren’t on Twitter (but they are active news consumers!), so I shared with them the clip in our family group chat: 

    “She is trying hard,” Dad replies. 

    “It was unnecessary to share that story — shows insecurity,” Mom said. 


    It’s hard to say how the anecdote landed in the room from a video clip, but Klobuchar’s outreach to Latino voters is well in line with the practice of presidential candidates who eat tacos, tamales and tweet about burrito bowls on Cinco de Mayo.

    It’s the equivalent of my introducing myself to a group of Britons, and going with: 

    “My name is Ricardo, and when I took English in fourth grade my name was… Richard.”

    … That feeling right there is the second-hand embarrassment some expressed on Twitter. 

    Klobuchar is polling at 5% among Nevada’s Latino voters, according to a recent poll conducted by Mason-Dixon and Telemundo. Vice President Joe Biden leads with 34% among Latinos and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 31%. 

    The Nevada caucuses are on Saturday. 

    Some Twitter reactions to the clip:

    Ricardo Lopez
    Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.