Gingrich visits Romney's N.H. home turf

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during a town hall style meeting at the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, N.H., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during a town hall style meeting at the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, N.H., Jan. 7, 2012.
AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

WOLFEBORO, N.H. - Newt Gingrich drew more than 400 people on Saturday to a rally in this resort town where his rival, Mitt Romney, has a summer home. And while there, Gingrich couldn't resist a good-humored dig at another ex-Massachusetts governor-turned-presidential candidate - Democrat Michael Dukakis.

Campaigning at Wolfeboro's Wright Museum of World War II history, Gingrich cited Dukakis' infamous appearance inside a tank during the 1988 campaign - an image that led the Democrat to be ridiculed for looking silly and unsubtle for trying to counter charges he was soft on defense.

"I'm an Army brat; my dad spent 27 years in the infantry ... so from an Army brat standpoint, this brings back lots of memories," Gingrich said as he pointed out a tank at the museum. "Now from a political standpoint, I look at this tank lovingly, because I remember Michael Dukakis. And it's just a reminder that governors of Massachusetts don't always make good presidential candidates."

Turning serious, the former House speaker said his philosophy as president would be to work with Democrats but not compromise with them.

"I'm happy to cooperate; I'm not willing to compromise," he said. "Compromise in Washington means sell out."

He also discussed his campaign's website, NotRomney.org, that seeks to make the case that Romney is not a true conservative. He said the site doesn't contradict his oft-stated vow to run a positive campaign.

"How can I run for president and say 'For Romney.org'? That would be goofy," he said. "I think not Romney.org would capture it."

Despite Romney's ties to Wolfeboro, he has spent little time campaigning there. In the 2008 presidential primary, he barely edged out John McCain there, 2,137 votes to 2,032 votes.

Sarah B. Boxer contributed

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