Romney: Gingrich an "unreliable" conservative
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is escalating his attacks against Newt Gingrich's conservative credentials, attempting to sow doubt among GOP voters about the current frontrunner.
Romney's campaign released a web video on Wednesday called "Newt and Nancy," which focuses on the 2008 ad that Gingrich made with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to promote former Vice President Al Gore's climate change initiative. There are few liberal leaders or issues that conservatives like less than Pelosi or the fight against global warming.
"With friends like Newt, who needs The Left?" the video asks.
Romney also attacked Gingrich for making the ad interview with the Washington Post.
"Let's look at the record," he said. "When Republicans were fighting for cap and trade and needed a leader to stand up against cap and trade, he did an ad with Nancy Pelosi about global warming."
Romney continued to hammer Gingrich on the Medicare issue in his remarks to the Post, calling entitlement reform "one of the most defining issues of conservatism today." He called Gingrich's characterization of the plan an "intemperate comment."
"I know it can be popular with some people to use extreme language, but we're talking about the presidency of the United States, and if one says intemperate things in a campaign, might one say the same kinds of things in the White House?" he asked. "And the consequences are potentially severe."
Romney went on to call Gingrich "an extraordinarily unreliable leader in the conservative world -- not 16 or 17 years ago but in the last two to three years."
"And even during the campaign, the number of times he has moved from one spot to another has been remarkable," he continued. "I think he's shown a level of unreliability as a conservative leader today."
Romney's latest line of attack comes as evidence shows that Romney's own campaign has been hampered by voters' doubts about his conservatism. For instance, the CBS News/ New York Times poll out of Iowa this month showed that only 10 percent of Republican caucus-goers said Romney promotes conservative principles. By comparison, 18 percent said that Gingrich promotes conservative values. With plenty of evidence that Romney held less conservative views in the past -- such as footage from 2002 in which Romney calls his views "progressive" -- he must constantly reassure voters.
But while Romney is busy defending his conservative credentials, Gingrich is climbing in the polls, both nationally and in key states. The NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday shows Romney trailing Gingrich nationally by 17 percentage points.
Romney may not be able to convince voters of his own conservatism, but by focusing on Gingrich's past statements on climate change, Medicare and other issues, he is now trying to at least convince voters the former House speaker's ideological position is also questionable. But that may be difficult when Gingrich is best known for ushering in a new conservative majority into the House and penning the 1994 Contract with America.
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