At a town hall forum in Bedford, NH last night, a voter told Romney he didn't understand why Romney kept "bashing" France on the campaign trail, given his belief in building international alliances -- and especially considering French-Canadians are the largest ethnic population in New Hampshire.
"I'm really wondering if you think this is good campaign strategy, to constantly talk about France," the voter said.
Romney explained that he believes that Democrats want to lead America down the path that he says France, England and other European nations took after World War II -- "big government, big taxes, Big Brother" -- and that led to their demise as superpowers.
But does that mean Romney has it in for France?
"I love France!" said Romney, who spent more than two years in France doing missionary work as a young man. "My kids are on vacation there right now. I love France. I speak French, lived in France. I have nothing but respect for the French people."
He added, "I just don't want to become the France of the 21st century."
France does tend to come up in Romney's speeches; just the other day, for example, he asserted that Hillary Clinton is so liberal she "couldn't get elected president of France."
It reminds us of an internal campaign document obtained by the Globe last winter that repeatedly suggested that Romney invoke anti-France rhetoric. The document suggested Romney argue that the European Union wants to "drag America down to Europe's standards" and that "That's where Hillary and the Dems would take us. Hillary = France."
But Romney's feelings for France may have grown warmer since that country's recent presidential elections. Romney often mentions that he is thrilled about the election of new conservative leader Nicolas Sarzkozy, whom Romney once said could be a potential "blood brother."