Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich duked it out in their debate on their super PACs’ ads. In doing so, Gingrich raised questions as to how closely he is involved with those ads which he can have no involvement with under federal law.

Gingrich said, “When the 27 and a half minute movie comes out, I hope it’s accurate. I-- I-- I-- I can say, publicly, I hope that the Super PAC runs an accurate movie about Bain. It’ll be based on establishment newspapers, like the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Barron’s, Bloomberg News, and I hope it is totally accurate. And then people can watch the 27 and a half minutes of his career at Bain and decide for themselves.” How did he know the sources cited for an ad that is not yet public?

I went back and forth at length via e-mail with Gingrich spokesman Joe DeSantis on how Gingrich knew the contents of the ad.

Here is just a portion of the back and forth:

Me: How does he know the contents of the super PAC ad?

DeSantis: He doesn’t. He said clearly during the debate that he hopes it is accurate. It was Gov. Romney who first said that he had not said the ads run by his super PAC but then recited them chapter and verse. [Romney referred to an already released ad he had seen on TV.]

Me: How does he know who is cited in it? He listed Barrons, New York Times and The Washington Post as sources.

DeSantis: You are only referring to part of Newt’s sentence. What Newt said in full is that he hopes it will be well cited and sourced, reflecting Newt’s call for accuracy in these ads. [He then quoted Gingrich’s answer.]

Me: How does he know what was cited in the movie? How does he know it uses establishment newspapers to make the points?

DeSantis: He doesn’t know. The sentence is all about what he hopes it will be. Read the sentence.

Me: He says it cited these sources. Pause. He hopes it will be accurate. How does he know what the sources are- he lists them specifically?

The conversation continued in that vein. DeSantis insisted that Gingrich was just “talking about what he hopes the film will have for a standard for accuracy.” You can judge for yourself whether Gingrich said he hopes the ad would contain those sources or whether he seemed to know what the sourcing of the yet-to-be-released ad is. But, I suppose the proof will be in the pudding. If the super PAC ad does use these “establishment” newspaper sources to make its case there will be lots of questions: How did Gingrich know? And when did he know it?