Mitt Romney: Gingrich a "very wealthy" man
Updated 5:38 p.m. Eastern Time
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney doesn't want to be cast as the only rich person in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
In the wake of his attempt to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry during Saturday's Republican presidential debate - a move that put a spotlight on Romney's $190 million-plus net worth and prompted critics to cast him as out of touch - the former Massachusetts governor told CBS News on Wednesday that his chief rival for the nomination is a "very wealthy man."
"Newt Gingrich has wealth from having worked in government," Romney told CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford in an interview in New York. "He's a wealthy man, a very wealthy man. If you have a half a million dollar purchase from Tiffany's, you're not a middle class American."
Romney's comment both spotlighted Gingrich's wealth - his campaign earlier this year estimated his net worth at at least $6.7 million - and drew attention to how Gingrich earned the money. The former House speaker made millions as an adviser and influence broker in Washington after leaving Congress, including at least $1.6 million from government-backed mortgage giant Freddie Mac. (Romney has called on Gingrich to return that money.) The former Massachusetts governor also made reference to Gingrich and his wife's onetime $250,000-plus line of credit at Tiffany & Co.
Romney was in New York for fundraisers Wednesday, prompting the Democratic National Committee to hire an airplane to fly over the Hudson river with a banner reading, "Bet you 10k Romney's Out of Touch."
More from the interview will be released on the "CBS Evening News" and CBSNews.com later today.
In a seperate interview with the New York Times Wednesday, Romney took a different shot at Gingrich, saying "Zany is not what we need in a president."
"Zany is great in a campaign. It's great on talk radio. It's great in print, it makes for fun reading," he said. "But in terms of a president, we need a leader, and a leader needs to be someone who can bring Americans together."
Gingrich responded by sticking to his (questionable) claim that he is running a positive campaign and telling reporters, "I'll let him decide what zany is."
"They should run their campaign the way they want to; I'm going to run my campaign the way I want to," he said.
Mitt Romney on the trail
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