New Gingrich ad: Romney speaks French, you know

Via Matt Lewis, this is the second time in two days that Newt’s team has turned an otherwise effective spot into a caricature of an attack ad. Yesterday it was the old business about the dog on the roof of his car, today it’s the fact that, like a certain other filthy rich politician from Massachusetts whom conservatives disdain, Romney speaks French. Doesn’t famous brainiac Newt Gingrich speak a foreign language or two, or ten? This would have been a jolly fun zinger two presidential elections ago, but in case Newt hasn’t heard, we fight wars alongside the French now and everything. What does it prove? That Romney’s an elitist phony? Good news — the base already knows.

That’s the first ad below. The second is a 60-second spot his Super PAC started airing in South Carolina today. (There’s a 30-second version too.) Looks like those reports about Team Newt backing off the Bain attacks were wrong. Or were they?

A source close to wealthy donor Sheldon Adelson, who is under fire for giving $5 million to a pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC that began running TV ads attacking Mitt Romney’s career in private equity, distanced the Las Vegas casino magnate from the ads on Thursday…

And while the Adelson source said the casino magnate was “indifferent” to the “fuss,” he also strongly implied that Adelson did not want the money he gave to Gingrich to be used for ads attacking Romney’s private equity career.

“I think people want to draw a conclusion that the money goes in and all $5 million is directed just towards $5 million of Bain Capital attacks on Mitt Romney, and that that’s exactly what Mr. Adelson wanted that money to be spent on,” the Adelson source said. “What if you donate to the Red Cross, and they do a hundred different things and you wanted it to just go to people in Haiti, and they sent it to people in Somalia instead and you didn’t think that was a priority? Are you going to call the Red Cross and demand that they just send the money to Haiti? You make a donation on a basis that the people receiving the money are going to spend it in the best way that you see fit,” the source added.

Probably doesn’t matter. If Newt wins South Carolina and emerges as the Not Romney, he’ll have plenty of money flowing in from the base even if Adelson walks away. If he doesn’t win, he’s almost certainly finished even if Adelson’s willing to keep writing checks.

I can’t help feeling like there’s some happy yet unexplored middle ground ad-wise between crude Bain demagoguery and “Romney speaks French” stupidity. Any ideas, guys? Any weak spots for Mitt Romney out there that might exploited to great effect among the conservative base? Shoot me any suggestions you might have in the comments. Exit quotation from Philip Klein about the Super PAC’s new Bain ads: “Can’t wait for sequel ‘When Newt Came to town,’ about a historian who gives frank lectures that create millions of jobs.”