The short film put together by Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC is proving to be one of the bigger political stories of the week, but a new video from the Gingrich campaign itself is also likely to raise a few eyebrows.

This new spot doesn’t appear ready for broadcast — it’s a minute long, not 30 seconds, and is being billed as a “web ad” — but it could presumably be turned into a television commercial without too much trouble.

Most of the ad includes some clean hits. Viewers are reminded, for example, that Romney not only supported and donated to liberal Democrats, he even voted in a Democratic primary. It’s an issue that hasn’t come up much at all over the last several months, and one might ask Gingrich why it’s only coming up now, after Romney won Iowa and New Hampshire.

But it’s the last 10 seconds that stood out: “And just like John Kerry, [Romney] speaks French, too.”

I had a hunch this would come up eventually.

If pressed, the Gingrich campaign would probably say it’s just drawing parallels among Massachusetts politicians, connecting Romney to Kerry and Michael Dukakis.

But I don’t think we need any special insights to see the line Gingrich is pushing here. The disgraced former House Speaker, in advance of the South Carolina primary, wants Republican voters to think there’s something wrong with being bilingual, especially if the other language is French.

I have no idea if this will work, but the fact that “he speaks French” is considered a potentially potent attack in Republican politics in the 21st century is just sad.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.