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Old 01-16-2012, 09:22 AM   #83 (permalink)
'trane
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WASHINGTON - America's long-held distrust of intellectuals is legendary, but the already perplexing national trait has moved into overdrive in the Republican presidential race, with Mitt Romney facing heat for knowing French and Jon Huntsman viewed with suspicion because he speaks Mandarin.

Both candidates are Mormons, and learned the languages as young men while on religious missions to France and China, respectively. Huntsman's agility in Mandarin was among the reasons the Obama administration tapped him to become ambassador to China in 2009.

And yet only in America, some liberal commentators are bemoaning, would a candidate's efficiency in a foreign language be regarded as a strike against him.

"I can't believe that's not impressive to a Republican primary audience who won't even eat mandarin oranges because they don't want to take jobs away from American fruit," Jon Stewart quipped sarcastically on "The Daily Show" after playing a clip of Huntsman, who is set to drop out of the race on Monday, breaking into a few words of Mandarin in a recent Republican debate.

In South Carolina, meantime, a pair of Newt Gingrich attack ads against Romney focus on his ability to — mon Dieu! — speak French.

One of them, entitled "The French Connection," attacks Romney's record while comparing him to John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 who lost to incumbent president George W. Bush amid perceptions he was too patrician for American tastes.

Romney "will say anything to win, anything, and just like John Kerry, he speaks French, too," the narrator intones menacingly as a jaunty French accordion tune plays in the background. Romney is seen speaking French in the web spot.
Quote:
"You don't speak Mandarin during a Republican debate," griped Joe Scarborough, former congressman for the party and now host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Chimed in Michael Steele, former head of the Republican National Committee: "I thought he was ordering takeout."
Quote:
"Newt Gingrich's Mitt Romney 'French' Ad Stops Just Short Of Noting His 'Purdy Mouth,'" read a recent headline on Mediaite in a reference to "Deliverance," a iconic 1970s film best-known for its male rape scene by a band of redneck southern hillbillies.

Tommy Christopher, a columnist for Mediaite, says Gingrich's ads were insulting to the intelligence of voters in South Carolina.

"Are South Carolina's voters expected to drop their banjos, grab their Bowies, and chase Romney through the woods yelping 'Wheeeeeee!?'" he wrote.
Metro - Sacre bleu! Candidates know French?
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