Newt Gingrich on Wednesday suggested that his attacks on rival Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital have not been rational, though a spokesman insisted Gingrich is not backing off the strategy.
Gingrich’s comment was in response to a voter in Spartanburg, S.C., who told Gingrich that he believed the former House speaker was wrong in criticizing Romney’s work at a private-equity firm and suggested he “redirect and go after his obvious disingenuousness about his conservatism and lay off the corporatist versus the free market.”
Gingrich replied, “I agree. I agree with you.… I think it’s an impossible theme to talk about with Obama in the background. Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally in that area because he is so deeply into class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect which, as a Reagan Republican, it frankly never occurred to me until it happened. So I agree with you entirely.”
Gingrich, who has harshly criticized Romney for his record at Bain Capital, seemed to be saying he cannot “talk rationally” about Romney’s record because of the way Obama and the Democrats frame the issue.
Gingrich’s attacks on Romney’s record have prompted some conservatives to criticize the former speaker for adopting the rhetoric of liberals and the Occupy Wall Street movement. On Fox News on Monday, Gingrich said the buyouts at the company “don't look like capitalism, they look like rich guys looting.” The same day, Gingrich complained to Bloomberg Television that Romney and Bain “made a lot of money while people were going broke.” Another GOP presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has labeled Romney and his Bain coworkers as “vultures.”
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told reporters after the comments in Spartanburg that the campaign is “absolutely not” having second thoughts about the Romney attacks. “We will continue to examine what decisions he made at Bain, why he made those decisions, what was motivating him to make those decisions and the American people can decide whether or not they want an investment banker in chief as their commander in chief.”
The Gingrich campaign on Wednesday also released "When Mitt Romney Came to Town," a slickly-produced short film that showcases people who lost jobs after Bain took over their companies and depicts Romney as “more ruthless than Wall Street.” The video was released by Winning Our Future, a super PAC backing Gingrich that is planning to air it in South Carolina as part of more than $3 million in advertising ahead of the state’s Jan. 21 primary. The campaign is also considering airing a scathing new video in South Carolina called "For the Dogs," which highlights several of Romney’s gaffes on the campaign trail.