(CBS News) TAMPA, Fla. - At the Republican National Convention, former House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and his wife, Calista, said Mitt Romney will bring the country back to the principles that are "core to Reagan's presidency."
In contrast to Reagan, a Republican icon, he compared President Obama to the president Reagan defeated, Jimmy Carter.
"It's striking how President Carter and President Obama both took our nation down a path that in four years weakened America's confidence in itself and our hope for a better future," Gingrich said, adding that the president has made the country vulnerable abroad and domestically.
"Both weakened the respect for America abroad; both increased government programs, filled with waste and inefficiency that failed to produce results; both made promises they couldn't keep; and, as a consequence of ineffective policies, both were unable to revive our economy and create jobs," Callista Gingrich said.
Taking turns speaking, Callista and Newt Gingrich, invoked Reagan, who was honored in a film prior to their speech that highlighted the peaceful end to the Cold War and nominating the first woman to the Supreme Court.
Gingrich said Romney's challenges are similar to Reagan's: "To restore the economy; to revive the American spirit; and to defeat totalitarianism, spreading democracy throughout the world."
"Governor Romney will return America to work, and to the principles that are at the core of President Reagan's legacy," Callista Gingrich said.
She highlighted Reagan's work on welfare reform as governor of California, which she said created a work requirement. Newt Gingrich said President Obama "gutted" a federal work requirement for welfare, an accusation that has been fact-checked as false.
"Obama's waiving of the work requirements in welfare reform is just one example of his direct repudiation of President Reagan's values," he said.
"Obama's proud of what he's done and of his politically motivated partisanship, but he should be ashamed for putting politics before people," Newt Gingrich said, saying that the president is invoking class warfare and pandering to low-income Americans.
The Gingriches said Romney will invoke Reagan's philosophy of less regulation and lower taxes to jumpstart the economy.
"Reagan's belief in small business owners and entrepreneurs is a remarkable contrast with Obama's class warfare rhetoric, massive deficits and a passion for taxing those who create jobs. The Romney plan for a stronger middle class has deep roots in Reagan's approach," he said.
"This November, we cannot settle for anything less" than a Reagan victory, he said.