Money and Democracy

Published — December 12, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

And now, left-wing Mitt Romney, out of context and in French

The head of the Greek Olympic Committee, right, hands the Olympic Flame to Mitt Romney, who was head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Thanassis Stavrakis/AP

Ad takes aim at French-speaking Romney


A new political ad, entitled “French Mitt Romney,” shows a video of the presidential candidate speaking in French, poorly, promoting the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

But the subtitles are a bit off – actually they don’t mention the Olympics at all. They consist of old quotes from the former Massachusetts governor, promoting such un-Republican positions as support for abortion rights, gun control and fighting global warming.

The ad is a swipe at Romney’s anti-President Obama spot, which used a quote from the president in 2008, saying: “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” Obama was actually quoting an aide to his opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Many of the quotes are lifted from Romney’s 1994 and 2002 Massachusetts statewide campaigns – where his audience was a bit more Democratic – and are in contrast with the more conservative image he has put forth for 2012.

The ad was created by a new “Super PAC,” a political committee that can accept corporate and labor money and spend it on the political races. AmericanLP filed its statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission Thursday.

Its treasurer and founder, TJ Walker, is described on the group’s website as a “longtime Democratic and corporate media trainer and consultant.” In an interview with iWatch News, Walker said the group’s goal “is to be more hard hitting and more humorous than what a typical candidate or party can do.”

When asked about the group’s biggest funders, Walker said, “Me, unfortunately.”

He said the group is “absolutely unaffiliated with any candidate” and has bought time on CNBC, MSNBC, and Bloomberg. Walker declined to say the size of the buy.

Walker said the ad is payback for 2004 attacks on former Democratic presidential nominee, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s fluency in that language. But why attack Romney when former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has surged ahead in the polls?

Romney is the strongest general election candidate in Walker’s view, and he hopes to convince Republican primary voters to nominate a weaker candidate. Walker hopes Republicans “throw [Romney] overboard and pick Newt Gingrich,” who he believes is unelectable.

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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