During a contentious exchange between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney over illegal immigration that opened Thursday’s GOP presidential debate, Romney said he was unaware of an ad his campaign ran alleging that Gingrich called Spanish “the language of the ghetto.”
However, in the Spanish language ad currently running in South Florida, Romney says in Spanish, “I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.”
During the debate, CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Romney what he meant by the ad.
“I haven’t seen the ad so I’m sorry I don’t get to see all the TV ads,” Romney responded.
“I doubt that’s my ad but we’ll take a look and find out,” Romney continued. “There are lots of ads out there that are organized by other people.”
Shortly after, Blitzer told Romney that “we double checked” and “that was your ad.”
The crowd gasped and the two candidates then went back and forth in awkward exchange.
Gingrich did use the phrase "language of the ghetto" when talking about making English the country's official language, but he denies that his remarks were about the Spanish language.
“What I said was we want everybody to learn English, and I didn’t use the word Spanish,” he said at the debate. “We don’t want anyone trapped in a situation where they cannot get a commercial job.”
Watchdog group Politifact says Spanish language radio ad is mostly true.
Gingrich did not directly say that “Spanish is the language of the ghetto,” however he referred to “the language of living in the ghetto” very closely to remarks he was making about the Spanish language.
Gingrich at the time apologized, saying “the words I chose to express myself were not the best.”