Newt Gingrich says President Barack Obama should have known better than to pick a fight with Mitt Romney over job creation and the economy, given his record of presiding over one of the worst recessions in U.S. history.
“There’s a point where this becomes ludicrous,” the former House speaker and Republican presidential candidate said Monday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.”
Gingrich was referring to the Obama campaign’s controversial political ads attacking Romney’s years with Bain Capital and the resulting fallout from Newark Democratic Mayor Cory Booker’s condemnation of the ads as wrong and “nauseating.”
“How can you be the president with the worst unemployment record since the Great Depression — the longest period of deep unemployment since the 1930s, and pick a fight over job creation?” Gingrich asked.
He said the Obama campaign team should have learned a lesson when Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry both tried — and failed — to make headway in the primaries by attacking Romney’s work at Bain, a private equity firm.
“I think there are things you can legitimately look at in Bain Capital,” said Gingrich, referring to layoffs and some companies being shut down after Bain bought or invested in them.
But Gingrich added: “I don’t think it’s politically effective. I think for the president of the United States, with the worst unemployment record in modern times, to attack a businessman over job creation gets him exactly into a fight that Obama doesn’t want to be in the middle of.”
Gingrich, who endorsed Romney after dropping out of the presidential race, also said Booker, an Obama campaign surrogate, was right to call out the president on the Bain Capital ads.
He described Booker as “a terrific reform mayor” and “one of the up and coming stars of the Democratic Party,” who was concerned about how the ads might affect investment in his own city.
“You don’t want to see them turned off by the president’s attacks,” Gingrich said “And Cory Booker was describing what I think is a very big reality for him as the mayor of Newark — that the free enterprise system has been creating jobs, paying taxes, improving his city.”
Even though Booker later reversed course and said Romney’s record at Bain was fair game in the campaign, Gingrich said his initial reaction to the ads was “a pretty important split” with the Obama campaign because it came from someone charged with speaking on behalf of the president leading up to the November election.
Asked about his own past criticism of Romney, Gingrich stressed that his support for the likely Republican nominee is unwavering, and he encouraged other conservatives to get behind him as well.
“The choice is so decisive that I can’t imagine any conservative who is not going to go and vote for Mitt Romney and work for Mitt Romney in October and September, because the alternative is so unacceptable if you’re a conservative,” Gingrich said.
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