Trailing in the polls with less than three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney today sought to distance himself from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, telling an interviewer, “Zany is not what we need in a president.”
His remarks to The New York Times appear to mark a further ratcheting up of Romney’s campaign rhetoric against Gingrich, whose lead as the GOP frontrunner continues to widen for the Jan. 3 caucuses.
“Zany is great in a campaign. It’s great on talk radio. It’s great in print, it makes for fun reading,” Romney says. “But in terms of a president, we need a leader, and a leader needs to be someone who can bring Americans together.”
Romney also says that his key rival would make a “great” historian as he attempted to portray Gingrich as ill-suited to lead the nation.
“If we need a historian leading the country, I’m sure people would find that attractive,” he says. “I actually think you need someone who actually understands the economy leading the country.”
Romney adds that he still hopes to take Iowa and New Hampshire, but left open the possibility that he might not win — pointing to one of his other political rivals in a hypothetical example.
“Let’s say one of the people in this contest — Rick Santorum, you know — didn’t win either one, do you write him off? No, you say, you know, in this processes, people have jumped up in the polls, gotten support, you recognize people are not out until they’ve actually closed the doors and turned off the lights,” Romney insists.
He compared Gingrich to other candidates who have enjoyed temporary leads against him at times in the GOP presidential contest.
“And like other people who bumped up in the polls in this last year, as they take a closer look, some are happy with what they see and some would like to see something else and recognize that he may not be exactly what they wanted,” Romney says.
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