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Romney vs. Gingrich: The Gloves Come Off

By    |   Wednesday, 30 November 2011 01:23 PM

With less than five weeks to the first votes being cast in the Republican presidential race, the two main contenders, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, are showing signs they are ready to take off the gloves.

Gingrich accused the former Massachusetts governor of being “to the left of Ted Kennedy” and his rival hit back slamming the former House Speaker as “a lifelong politician.”

Most pundits believe that after months in which candidates such as Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain have jockeyed for the role as the anti-Romney, Gingrich is now the last man standing, and the only one with a realistic chance of snatching the nomination from the long-presumed favorite.

And with the Iowa caucuses set for Jan. 3, and the New Hampshire primary a week later, time is against any other GOP candidate having the chance to close the gap on the two.

Gingrich, who has frequently urged his fellow Republican candidates to attack President Barack Obama rather than each other, was first to sharpen his claws by exploiting Romney’s reputation as a flip-flopper.

"If you run to the left of Teddy Kennedy, it is trickier than trying to run to the right of Newt Gingrich," he told CNN's John King on Monday, referring to Romney's 1994 Senate bid in which he was heavily defeated by Kennedy.

Gingrich’s comments echoed a Democratic National Committee advertisement issued on the same day that labeled Romney as “two men trapped within one body” because of his shifting position on issues including abortion, the stimulus, healthcare, immigration, climate change, union-busting, tax increases, gun-control and even whether he supports the policies of Ronald Reagan.

Gingrich said attacks on Romney for being inconsistent are “legitimate.”

Earlier the same day Gingrich called himself “a solid conservative alternative” to Romney. “I don’t claim to be the perfect candidate. I just claim to be more conservative than Mitt Romney,” he said during a radio interview in South Carolina. “I wouldn't lie to the American people; I wouldn't switch my position for political reason.”

Romney finally hit back on Tuesday as he painted Gingrich as having no experience outside of politics.

“To get President Obama out of office, you’re going to have to bring something to the race that’s different than what he brings,” Romney told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “He’s a lifelong politician.”

Rubbing his point home, Romney said, “Speaker Gingrich is a good man, he and I have very different backgrounds. He spent his last 30 or 40 years in Washington. I spent my career in the private sector, and I think that’s what the country needs right now."

"No problem with Newt Gingrich, he’s a good man, but a very different person than I am based on our life experiences."

Romney then touted his business background, running private equity and buyout firm Bain Capital, as giving him insights that the former House Speaker lacks.

“You have to have the credibility of understanding how the economy works,” Romney said. “And I do, and that’s one reason I’m in this race.”

And he compared Gingrich’s admission that he was wrong to record an anti-global warming advertisement with former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with criticism of the healthcare plan he instituted while Massachusetts governor.

“When someone says, ‘Oh I did this ad on global warming, that was a mistake.’ So they just dust it aside, and that makes them more attractive in a primary?

“I’m standing by what I did in Massachusetts. I’m not trying to dust it aside,” he said, calling it “the biggest issue that dogs me in the primary campaign.”

“I’m absolutely firm that it was the right thing for our state, I’ll defend that. I understand that it has political implications, and if it keeps me from winning the primary, so be it."

Polls in recent days have shown Gingrich inching ahead of Romney as support for Cain has dropped off precipitously following another claim that pizza mogul had an inappropriate relationship with an Atlanta woman.

The website RealClearPolitics’ average of recent surveys puts Gingrich at 23.8 percent with Romney at 21.3.

Gingrich’s rise in the polls has coincided with the fall of Cain following a series of gaffes followed by the accusations of sexual misconduct.




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With less than five weeks to the first votes being cast in the Republican presidential race, the two main contenders, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, are showing signs they are ready to take off the gloves. Gingrich accused the former Massachusetts governor of being to the...
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2011-23-30
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 01:23 PM
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