Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he doesn’t coordinate with the super PACs that support him, but apparently he doesn’t coordinate with himself either.
During the CNN-hosted debate in Florida on Thursday, the former Massachusetts governor couldn’t remember an ad attacking Newt Gingrich, even though he approved it and his campaign paid for it.
“You’ve had an ad running that says Speaker Gingrich calls Spanish the language of the ghetto,” CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer told Romney.
“I haven’t seen the ad,” Romney replied. “I’m sorry I don’t get to see all the TV ads. I don’t know. Did he say that?”
“No,” Gingrich objected. “I said we want everybody to learn English; I didn’t use the word Spanish. … So I would say that as much as Gov. Romney doesn’t particularly like my use of language, I found his deliberate distortion equally offensive.”
“I doubt that’s my ad,” Romney insisted. “But we’ll take a look and find out. There are a bunch of ads out there that are being organized by other people.”
In fact, Blitzer did return to the subject after a few other questions.
“We just double-checked and it was one of your ads,” Blitzer explained. “It’s running here in Florida on the radio, and at the end you say, ‘I’m Mitt Romney and I approved this ad.’”
While Romney had the support of the Republican audience for a large part of the night, that tidbit of information was met with groans and boos.
“Let me ask the Speaker a question,” Romney spoke up, trying to salvage the moment. “Did you say what the ad says or not? I don’t know.”
“It’s totally out of context,” Gingrich said.
“Oh, OK, he said it,” Romney interrupted. “Let’s take a look at what he said.”
In a 2007 speech, Gingrich did say that bilingual education should be replaced “with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto,” according to a fact check from The Washington Post.
Gingrich had not specifically used the word “Spanish,” but it was widely perceived to be aimed at Spanish speakers. The Georgia Republican eventually apologized for creating “a bad feeling within the Latino community.”
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Jan. 26, 2012.