Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson called the Romney campaign out for what he said was “overkill” and said his campaign methods would fall short against President Obama in a general election standoff.
“[Romney’s] modus operandi is to play Mr. Nice Guy until someone gets close to him,” Thompson, who has endorsed Newt Gingrich, said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.
The past two debates have been marked by a newly-aggressive Romney who took every opportunity to pounce on Gingrich. His campaign has been aggressive too, sending surrogates to Gingrich rallies — with one such incident leading to a clash between Gingrich’s spokesman and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a Romney supporter.
“All this is overkill. Bringing Members of Congress and putting them at opposition rallies is overboard,” said Thompson, who himself has run for president, adding, “Is this a way to win a general election?”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has endorsed Romney, fought back against claims that Romney’s campaign strategy was inappropriate. McCain, speaking on the same show, attacked Gingrich’s time in Congress, arguing that his erratic behavior during his tenure as House Speaker indicates Gingrich is unfit to be president.
“[Gingrich] turned earmarks into an art form,” McCain said, adding that “there was this incestuous relationship with K Street” when Gingrich was in office.
“These were not the policies of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan,” he said.