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Does Newt Gingrich Speak French?

J'accuse!

8:45 PM, Jan 13, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Newt Gingrich unveiled today what has to be one of the sillier ads of the campaign, accusing Mitt Romney of—quelle horreur!—speaking French:

Yes, Mitt Romney speaks French, owing to his time as a Mormon missionary in France in the late 1960s. Now I don't know what languages Newt studied in school, but interestingly enough, his Ph.D. thesis is on "Belgian Education Policy in the Congo: 1945-1960." You can read Gingrich's thesis here, but I'll just highlight some of the citations: 

Jean-Jacques Servan-Schrieber, Le Défi Americain, (Paris: Denoël, 1967), p. 115.

Jean Stengers, Belgique et Congo; L'élaboration de la Charte Coloniale, (Bruxelles: La Renaissance du Livre, 1963), p. 9.

Marcel Nihoul, L'Annexion au Congo et l'avenir belge, (Brussels, N.P., 1901), pp. 5, 13.

Those are just three citations plucked at random—there are many more where that came from. I would also note that Newt Gingrich got his Ph.D. at Tulane University in New Orleans, and that Gingrich's thesis supervisor was Pierre-Henri Laurent—a Belgian immigrant, distinguished academic, and native French speaker.

Given that it appears Newt Gingrich has more than a passing familiarity with the French language, it sure seems like an odd indictment of his opponent.

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