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How Mexican is Mitt? It's complicated (Audio)

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Mitt Romney, March 2010

So just how Mexican is Mitt Romney? In terms of where the paternal side of his family comes from, no question about it, though it's complicated. Culturally, not so much.

It's long been reported, though not widely until recently, that Romney's Mormon ancestors crossed the border heading south from the U.S. in the late 1800s seeking religious freedom from American anti-polygamy laws. They settled in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, where Mitt's grandfather and father were born, and where descendants of the original Romney clan still live today.

Have Romney's Mexican roots won the GOP presidential front-runner the support of Latino voters? Another not-so-much, given his hardline stance on immigration, something on which even some conservative Latinos draw the line. However a Twitter meme, the parody @MexicanMitt, is winning followers left and right.


More over @MexicanMitt, your new rival speaks French - sort of

Photo by Alexandra Moss/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The "attack croissant" of the Twitter parody?

Move over, @MexicanMitt. There's another bilingual Mitt Romney parody on Twitter now, and this one speaks (quelle horreur!) French. Sort of.

@LeVraiMitt ("the true Mitt") joined the Twitter meme ranks this morning and, like @Mexican Mitt, is steadily gaining followers and press coverage. Why French, one might ask?

Unlike the former meme, which seizes on Romney's Mexican roots (his father, a descendant of American Mormons who moved south in the 19th century, was born in the state of Chihuahua), this one seizes on the GOP presidential primary front-runner's limited command of French, picked up while living briefly in France as a Mormon missionary.

But just the fact that Romney made attempts at using French publicly has been enough for rival Newt Gingrich's campaign to blast him for it. In a recent ad painting the former Massachusetts governor as yet another too-liberal politico from that state, the voice-over says ominously: "and just like John Kerry...he speaks French, too!”