Seeking to regain the momentum he lost in Iowa, Newt Gingrich on Thursday took shots at Hawkeye State front-runners Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, but also indicated that he’s already looking ahead to South Carolina as his political firewall.
Appearing on CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, Gingrich said Romney’s track record as Massachusetts governor “has been one of bigger government, more taxes, and less job creation. So I think he's a very standard establishment moderate who doesn't want to break out of the intellectual barriers of the left in Washington and be bold about really creating jobs.”
Paul, meanwhile, is “a protest candidate,” Gingrich said. “He's a serious protest candidate. I think he sincerely believes what he says. But if you look at his total program, I think it is virtually impossible for him to be nominated by the Republican Party.”
A CNN/Time/ORC poll this week showed Gingrich -– who once led in Iowa –- now in fourth place behind Romney, Paul, and Rick Santorum. He is battling Paul for second place in New Hampshire, but enjoys a solid double-digit lead in South Carolina.
“I think we'll come out of Iowa with enough strength to go to New Hampshire and we'll come out of New Hampshire with enough strength to go to South Carolina," he said. "I don't think that a Massachusetts moderate" -- his standard epithet for Romney -- "is going to play very well in South Carolina.”
The former House speaker did have some kind words for another rival –- Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Gingrich said he hopes that if he is elected president, Perry would “help lead the effort to apply the 10th Amendment across the country and help lead the governors in really returning power to the states and getting it out of Washington.”