Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich thinks fellow GOP hopeful Mitt Romney is a liar, but he would still back him for president over Barack Obama.
When CBS Early Show co-host Norah O'Donnell asked Gingrich on Tuesday whether he was calling Romney a liar, Gingrich put it bluntly: "Yes." He immediately followed up, saying "you seem shocked by it. Yes."
“[Romney] is not telling the American people the truth,” Gingrich said. “Here’s a Massachusetts moderate… [who] wants the rest of us to believe he’s somehow magically a conservative.”
Gingrich, who charged that the former Massachusetts governor has misconstrued his record, said Romney would likely lie to the American people once in office, too. Still, Gingrich would support Romney over President Obama in the presidential race if Romney received the nomination. “He would be much less destructive than Barack Obama,” Gingrich told the Early Show.
Gingrich also emphasized the need for blunt, honest communication with voters. “In the traditional Washington pattern it’s better to be sweet and honest and have this face of saying, ‘Oh, gee, we want to be nice to each other no matter what happens to the American people.’ I think the American people deserve the truth,” he said.
And he reminded voters that the race in Iowa isn't over 'til it's over. “I think anybody could come in first,” Gingrich said.
At a subsequent campaign stop in Burlington, Gingrich said he stood by his earlier comments about Romney. "I was asked, did I think he was a liar and I said yes," he said.
Why? "Because he doesn’t tell the truth," Gingrich responded.
Asked if he has told the truth during the campaign, he said, "I think the comparative standard is pretty gigantic, yes."
Sarah Huisenga contributed