Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich showed no signs of easing his attacks on rival and frontrunner for the Republican nomination Mitt Romney on Sunday.
Gingrich called the former Massachusetts governor “timid” and warned the conservative grassroots not to nominate a “moderate” in hopes of unseating President Obama this fall.
“The last two times we nominated a moderate, we lost badly,” he said, citing John McCain in 2008 and Bob Dole in 1996, in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Gingrich, who was badly outspent in Florida and Nevada, asked voters to look beyond the TV ads and at Romney’s record as governor.
“He was pro-abortion, he was pro-gun control he was pro-tax increase,” Gingrich said. And he dismissed Romney as a “very weak governor” when it came to spurring job growth, perhaps the defining issue in the 2012 election.
This week, Romney came under fire, particularly from the left, for saying that “I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.” But Gingrich attacked the comment from the other side of the political spectrum – arguing that the safety net itself is broken.
“The safety net in many ways has become a spider web, it traps them at the bottom,” Gingrich said, pledging to turn the safety net into a “trampoline” instead.
Since December, Romney’s steady barrage of attack ads have repeatedly appeared to get under Gingrich’s skin. But he dismissed as “irrelevant” a question about any personal dislike of Romney – though moments later he couldn’t help but take a swipe at his rival’s ads.
“I’m trying to draw people into politics, not carpet-bomb them out of it,” Gingrich said.