Gingrich hits Romney for speaking French
January 12th, 2012
08:46 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich hits Romney for speaking French

(CNN) – Attack politics, déjà vu?

Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat John Kerry may not agree on much, but a new web video by Romney's rival Newt Gingrich aligns the two, right down to their shared command of French.

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"Bonjour, je m'appelle Mitt Romney," the former Massachusetts governor says in the web spot, produced by the former House speaker's campaign. Romney lived in France as a Mormon missionary in his college years.

The web ad, posted to YouTube Thursday, shows Romney as the next in a line of Massachusetts politicians who make conservatives' stomachs turn.

In the 2008 campaign, Republicans criticized Massachusetts Senator Kerry, then the Democrats' presidential nominee, for his fluency in the romance language. In the era when "freedom fries" replaced "French fries" as a political statement, some unfavorably perceived Kerry as "too French."

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Filed under: 2012 • John Kerry • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. enuff

    Talk about grasping at straws.

    January 12, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. once upon a horse

    wow and Jon Huntsman spoke Chinese at one of the debates. Newt is pulling out all the stops here because he knows what pulls at the strings of his conservative right wing base. They HATE the French (remember "freedom fries"?) and diversity and the ability to speak another language makes you a SNOB. I don't agree with Romney on much of anything but even I think this is just taking stuff too far. But narrow minds tend to think alike. The far right thrives on the "he's not one of us" fear mantra.

    January 12, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. Steve

    Talk about desperate

    January 12, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    "In the 2008 campaign, Republicans criticized Massachusetts Senator Kerry, then the Democrats' presidential nominee, for his fluency in the romance language." Wasn't Kerry the presidental nominee in 2004 not 2008?

    January 12, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  5. Matt

    "In the 2008 campaign, Republicans criticized Massachusetts Senator Kerry, then the Democrats' presidential nominee, for his fluency in the romance language." Kerry was the presidental nominee in 2004 not 2008 right?

    January 12, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  6. Carlos

    What kind of infantile criticism is this?

    January 12, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  7. SurRy

    Only in the United States are intelligence and education ridiculed.

    January 12, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  8. CandyCorn

    Because god forbid we have a president who can actually speak a foreign language...

    January 12, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. DENNA

    I think Newt is jealous. He can barely speak English. There is nothing wrong with being bi-lingual. In fact most Europeans speak more than one language. Only in America do we revere ignorance.

    January 12, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. GOPotty Party

    Gingrich is such a hypocrite. He criticizes Romney for being educated but he has a Ph.D himself!

    January 12, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  11. alkarrk

    Newt is becoming ridiculous. C'est absurde.

    January 12, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  12. Christopher

    Only in the mind of a conservative American could knowing a second language be considered a character flaw.

    January 12, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  13. Uneducated Bigots

    We should all strive to only know one language so that we can forever remain in a bubble of isolationism and naivete.

    January 13, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  14. tjlnsd

    So will we be sending the Statue of Liberty back to France next? Remember, without the support of the French during the Revolutionary war America be the largest...I mean second largest Common Wealth in the British Empire.

    January 13, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  15. orchal

    Is it sad that I'm not surprised?
    But seriously? I thought being multi-lingual was a good thing.

    January 13, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  16. Dan

    Attacking someone for speaking a foreign language? If anything, that makes Romney more appealing–international experience is valued almost everywhere in the US, but when a presidential candidate speaks French his opponents see that as a weakness?
    I have difficulty seeing the logic in this. Seems like Gingrich is reaching.

    January 13, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  17. BigSteve422

    That is pretty horrific, a Presidential nominee knowing two languages.

    January 13, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  18. Spiffy

    Kerry was the nominee in 2004.

    January 13, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  19. andrew

    ROMNEY 2012! The more GingRICH tries to slander Romney, the more failed and ridiculous he looks. GingRICH is through. See ya... ROMNEY 2012!

    January 13, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  20. Warren Talbot

    Seriously? When did knowing multiple languages become embarrassing? Everywhere we travel we run into people that speak 2, 3, or 4 languages fluently and I envy and admire the opportunities that enable them to interact with some many in different cultures. It is reprehensible that anyone in America would say that learning a second language was anything less than admirable. These attacks are petty and simply extend more of just how ignorant we are as a country to the eyes of the rest of the world.

    January 13, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  21. Ricardo

    Who cares? French is my first language

    January 13, 2012 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  22. Ryan

    John Kerry ran in 2004, not 2008.

    January 13, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  23. frag

    Republicans are attacking each other for being educated, cosmopolitan, and recognizing that there are languages other than English, which are spoken by millions of people who are supposed to be our allies. Should we be surprised or just look back with a tear in our eye at old fotos of W?

    January 13, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    In the 2008 campaign, Republicans criticized Massachusetts Senator Kerry, then the Democrats' presidential nominee,

    January 13, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  25. chill

    Only in a Republican primary can the ability to speak more than one lanuage be seen as a detriment. No fan of Romney here, but really? That's the best Newt can do?

    January 13, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |