Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said rival Mitt Romney isn’t ready for a prime-time bout against President Barack Obama. The former House speaker lambasted former Massachusetts Gov. Romney in an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America”
“I think as people look at his record and then imagine him debating Obama, Obama is going to laugh at him,” Gingrich said of Romney. “Obama’s going to say, ‘I developed Obamacare based on Romneycare. I even brought your staff into the White House in order to develop it.’ ”
Gingrich scoffed at the idea that his continued presence in the race merely helps Romney by fracturing the support of conservatives. “We’ll gradually coalesce. One of us will emerge as the conservative alternative,” he said. “That conservative alternative will beat Romney. ... We have to look at what kind of a choice do we want for the country.”
Gingrich has generally steered clear of taking on Rick Santorum, complimenting the former Pennsylvania senator in glowing terms after he narrowly lost the Iowa caucuses to Romney Tuesday.
But the two have a little spat brewing over their time in Congress. After Gingrich called the former House member a “junior partner” in the Republican revolution of the 1990s, Santorum returned fire by charging that Gingrich spent much of his tenure on the sidelines.
Gingrich had a response on ABC Friday. “That’s pretty hard for the speaker of the House to sit on the sidelines,” he said with a laugh. “Rick and I are going to be competitors. That’s fine. We’ve had different tracks of getting here. I like him. We have different records.”
Given New Hampshire’s moderate makeup, it’s not surprising that Romney is far ahead in the polls there, Gingrich said. But he’s not giving up in the Granite State, as “this is where the race is this week. ... This is the place to point out how big the gap is between a Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate.”
And if Romney underperforms in New Hampshire, a state where he owns a home, he’ll be in big trouble, Gingrich said. “This is one of his three best states, along with Utah and Massachusetts,” Gingrich said.
“If he doesn’t win here, he couldn’t stay in the race. In his so-called win in Iowa, having campaigned for five years and spent, I think, $20 million, he got 25 percent. That’s one out of four. Three out of four said no after five years of campaigning.”
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