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Even In France, Romneyland Locks Down Those Who Knew Him

French mormons recall a charming boy with barely a trace of an accent, but won't talk about the accident.

Posted on March 6, 2012, at 5:55 p.m. ET

The French daily Le Monde today explored Mitt Romney's time as a young missionary in France and its effect on him today. The piece (which isn't available online) notes that he learned the French language and how to face rejection, and also explores a fatal car crash that darkened his time there.

The paper also writes that people who know Romney from that era have apparently been asked by the campaign not to talk about it:

Forty years later, Paulette and Andre Salarnier, French Mormons whose coq au vin and mushroom crepes the young Mitt Romney used to relish, said they received emails from people close to [Romney], asking them to stop talking to journalists of the 1968 accident.

They remember him as "an open, charming* boy, speaking almost unaccented French."

Andre Salarnier even hastens to debunk a slander on the famous coq au vin, ...which could shake the official narrative of a Mitt Romney being faithful to his convictions: "The wine was cooked, it contained more alcohol."

*The word Salarnier used to describe the young Romney was, "séduisant."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.