MANCHESTER, N.H. – Newt Gingrich began to take his measure against Mitt Romney on Friday, a sign of his emergence in the polls as a potential challenger to the Republican who for the past year has seemed to have the inside track for the party’s presidential nomination.
Left for politically dead months ago after a mass exodus by his staff, Gingrich is enjoying a political resurrection as other Romney challengers founder. At an opening of his campaign headquarters here, the former House speaker suggested he’s better qualified to transform Washington than the former governor of Massachusetts.
“Governor Romney is a good manager and if what you want to do is manage Washington, I think he would be a pretty good manager candidate,” Gingrich told a crowd of about 60 here. “But if what you want to do is fundamentally, profoundly change Washington, I think that is a different job.”
Though a CBS News poll shows him tied with Romney nationally behind Herman Cain, Gingrich said “I am clearly an underdog in New Hampshire,” where the first presidential primary of the 2012 campaign season will take place Jan. 10.
Asked about whom a President Gingrich might appoint to his Cabinet, Gingrich couldn’t resist crowing about the reversal in his fortunes. “I’ve gone from being dead in June to having somebody who will be in the Cabinet in November,” he said. “I think that is real progress.”