Newt Gingrich this week released a web ad called "The French Connection" that features a narrator saying, "just like John Kerry, [Mitt Romney] speaks French too." It then shows Romney saying "bonjour, je m'appelle Mitt Romney."
The footage comes from a video of Romney, who lived in France for two years as a Mormon missionary, speaking French while promoting the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, which wasfrom a Democratic super PAC. French is an official language of the Olympics.
Yet as Foreign Policy noted today, Gingrich appears to also be proficient in the language of love. As a teenager, Gingrich lived in France while his father was posted there as a soldier, Agence France-Presse last month quoted the author of a book on the former Speaker saying that Gingrich at the time "had enough French to survive." And as Foreign Policy points out, Gingrich's doctoral thesis cites French language original sources, which he could only read if he knew the language.
CBS News Political Hotsheet emailed Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond to ask if Gingrich does indeed speak French - and if so, why he is using video of Romney speaking French in an attack ad. Hammond did not respond to the email.
Anti-French sentiment among conservatives came to a boil after France opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 - prompting the House of Representatives to briefly rename French fries, generally understood to have originated in Belgium, as "Freedom Fries."