Gingrich won't stop hitting Romney

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at his party on primary night Jan. 10, 2012, in Manchester, N.H.
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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at his party on primary night Jan. 10, 2012, in Manchester, N.H. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished first in the state's primary election.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Getty Images

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Brushing aside talk among some Republicans that he should stop harshly attacking Mitt Romney, a defiant Newt Gingrich on Wednesday said he won't do so because "I think that the American people deserve to know things."

"I'm prepared to have people be irritated on the right and the left," Gingrich told reporters following a rally here.

Gingrich, along with several other GOP candidates, has made an issue over front-runner Romney's background as an executive at Bain Capital. A super PAC supporting the former House speaker has developed a video that blasts Romney and Bain for layoffs in South Carolina and other states, a move that some critics have condemned as anti-capitalist.

"I think it's funny that on one hand he wants to run around touting his record; on the other hand, somebody asks a question about his record, he hides behind an entire framework," Gingrich said. "You know, to question the facts is to be anti-capitalist. That is nonsense. Baloney, I think, is the term I was using the other morning. The fact is we have a right to know."

Gingrich - who finished fourth in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary thatRomney won with ease - also chafed at the idea that the former Massachusetts governor should be given a break because he's "the establishment candidate."

"I understand why he's throwing up this smokescreen, but if he weren't the establishment candidate, the smokescreen wouldn't last thirty seconds," Gingrich said.

He said of his critics: "Not a single one of them was very worried in Iowa, so I just think when you're t he establishment candidate, everybody gathers around you and says, 'Oh, please. Don't do...' If they think they can get through a general election with Obama and [Obama adviser David] Axelrod and not have to be capable of answering tough questions, that's a formula for guaranteed defeat this fall."

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    Sarah Huisenga is covering the Mitt Romney campaign for CBS News and National Journal.