Tales from the Trail

Gingrich mocks Romney for speaking French

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may have backtracked from a recent campaign ad attacking Romney as a job-killer during his tenure at Bain Capital, but he’s still accusing him of another act that may nettle some conservatives: speaking French.

In a web ad titled “The French Connection,” a deep-voiced narrator describes Romney as a liberal governor who authored government-mandated health care and raised taxes in his state of Massachusetts but who now masquerades as a conservative.

The narrator says, “Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney, he’ll say anything to win — anything. And just like John Kerry, he speaks French.”

The ad then cuts to a video of Democratic Senator John Kerry saying haltingly, in French, “Let the good times roll!”

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Kerry was criticized for his connections to France, where he spent summers during his childhood. Romney, too, lived in France, where he served as a missionary for more than two years in the 1960s.

from Political Theater:

New anti-Romney ad rekindles — er, mocks? — Francophobia

Back in 2002, Mitt Romney welcomed francophone volunteers to the Salt City Olympics with a friendly introductory video he recorded in French. It's "an incredible experience in your life," said Romney, who spent more than two years in France as a Mormon missionary in the 1960s. "The kind that you live only once."

It's been years since freedom fries and freedom toast were items on the menu at House of Representatives cafes, and bumper stickers proclaiming "Iraq first, France next!" long ago went out of fashion. But AmericanLP, a new, self-identified "progressive" SuperPAC, is betting that the little video message was a blunder.

In a new ad the group is circulating around the internet and running on MSNBC, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV this week, the clip of Romney speaking French is mock-subtitled with a string of past comments -- that he has since retracted -- on topics including abortion, climate change, and immigration.