Video: Romney goes on the attack against Gingrich

posted at 8:40 am on December 9, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

As I predicted yesterday, Mitt Romney has decided to attack Newt Gingrich in Iowa in an attempt to get conservatives to rethink their new allegiance to the frontrunner du jour — and Romney knows just where to aim.  In a new 60-second spot, the campaign hammers Gingrich for his attack on Paul Ryan’s budget-reform plan earlier this year, and stressed this line of attack in a conference call with the media yesterday:

Though Romney himself didn’t embrace Paul Ryan’s budget proposal in the spring, Talent and Sununu attacked Gingrich for distancing himself from the plan, which Gingrich dubbed “right-wing social engineering” in May on “Meet the Press” before walking the statement back days later.

“For Newt Gingrich, in an effort of self-aggrandizement, to come out and throw a clever phrase that has no other purpose than to make him sound a little smarter than the conservative Republican leadership, to undercut Paul Ryan, is the most self-serving, anti-conservative thing one can imagine happening,” Sununu said.

During the 21-minute call, the two mentioned Ryan’s name 25 times.

On MSNBC minutes later, Sununu mentioned Ryan 10 times during a five-minute hit. He called Gingrich “a faux conservative” and added: “I believe Newt Gingrich is a Gingrichite. All he cares about is Newt Gingrich.”

This attack is effective because it comes after Gingrich’s reinvention. Gingrich can chalk up his partnership with Nancy Pelosi as a big mistake and can explain away his political and personal baggage from years gone by as lessons learned the hard way. The attack on Ryan as a purveyor of “right-wing social engineering” came just a few months ago, when Gingrich was already a candidate in this cycle. Gingrich has tried to soften that criticism since then and claimed that the only objection he had was that Ryan didn’t leave the option to allow people to stay in the current system, but that would negate the reform entirely. Keeping the current structure of Medicare while at the same time adding a premium-support option would be close to what we have now with Medicare Advantage, only in Gingrich’s version we would have more money flowing out of the system.

It’s interesting that Romney is conducting this attack with his own campaign.  His super-PAC launched an attack ad on Obama in Iowa this week, which one would have expected from a traditional campaign, so we’re seeing a bit of role reversal here.  The campaign’s imprimatur underscores just how urgent they see their task in slowing down Gingrich’s momentum, especially with Tea Party voters who idolize Paul Ryan.  Romney may not pick up that support if those voters do dump Gingrich, but Romney doesn’t really need to do so, as long as they don’t rally to one alternative candidate alone, especially Rick Perry.

Romney’s not likely to get that support, either, unless he learns to engage better with conservatives.  Matt Lewis offers a facepalm moment from Team Romney’s pitch to argue that they’re more conservative than Gingrich:

As you probably heard, some Mitt Romney surrogates hosted a conference call today to attack Newt Gingrich. Because Romney is attempting to win a Republican primary — and cast Newt Gingrich as unacceptable to conservatives — you probably assume that center-right journalists or conservative bloggers got to ask some questions, right?

Wrong. Here’s the list of reporters and media outlets who were permitted to ask questions:

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS
MARK HALPERIN, TIME
LLOYD GROVE, THE DAILY BEAST
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, TPM
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES
PHIL RUCKER, WASHINGTON POST

That’s it. No Townhall.com, HotAir, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, National Review, Weekly Standard, American Spectator, or Washington Times … you get the picture.

Mother JonesTPM?  Great roll call you fellow had, there, for a lecture on conservatism.  As far as I know, we didn’t get an invitation to this conference call, although to be fair we were so swamped with registration issues that we could have easily missed it.  But if Team Romney wants to argue for conservative support — or at least to argue that conservatives shouldn’t support Gingrich — shouldn’t they be talking with conservative media to get that message out?

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All candidates get debate prep and coaches. In fact, Perry’s debate coach is BACHMANN’s former coach. Everybody gets this kind of help. It’s nothing like teleprompters.

Aslans Girl on December 9, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Yes, a lot do. I highly doubt that Newt does. It’s obvious that he doesn’t need one.

stenwin77 on December 9, 2011 at 7:52 PM

You know how Newt is going to win?

By not going back at Newt. By putting out another “Reaganesque” ad like he did last week. By putting forth more ideas on how he will fix our country.

It will make Mitt look like the “little,” petty person he is.

Newt will take on Obama and the media,… which is what we want our candidate to do.

stenwin77 on December 9, 2011 at 7:57 PM

stenwin77 on December 9, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Completely right.

rrpjr on December 9, 2011 at 8:04 PM

I was a Cain supporter and I haven’t decided who to vote for yet now. This ad doesn’t do anything for me.

Dollayo on December 9, 2011 at 8:07 PM

It will make Mitt look like the “little,” petty person he is.

Newt will take on Obama and the media,… which is what we want our candidate to do.

stenwin77 on December 9, 2011 at 7:57 PM

+7%…!

Seven Percent Solution on December 9, 2011 at 8:55 PM

Its ironic that that support is going to Gingrich over Romney
when Gingrich has fliped flopped, triple flopped,quadruple flopped and sometimes quintupled flopped on most issues over his career

gerrym51 on December 9, 2011 at 9:45 PM

gerrym51 on December 9, 2011 at 9:45 PM

I agree with you. I just don’t know who to vote for. I wish Ron Paul wasn’t so clueless on foreign policy, we really need some radical government cuts to save the republic. Things I don’t think Newt or Mitt will even try. Bauchman doesn’t have much of a chance, I wonder if she is electable.

Dollayo on December 9, 2011 at 11:07 PM

They weren’t thrown into the Grand Canyon – you can climb out of the Grand Canyon!

The Nerve on December 10, 2011 at 12:16 AM

Exactly. And when Mitt attacks Newt, he risks further alienating the conservative wing of the GOP.

petefrt on December 9, 2011 at 9:02 AM

oh, really??? I didn’t realize that this is the kumbaya primary…I was under the impression that they compete for the nomination. Gingrich shouldn’t be given a pass at all, he’s got a horrendous past record, this ad points to just how irrational and thoughtless he is.

jimver on December 10, 2011 at 12:23 AM

You know how Newt is going to win?

By not going back at Newt. By putting out another “Reaganesque” ad like he did last week. By putting forth more ideas on how he will fix our country.

It will make Mitt look like the “little,” petty person he is.

Newt will take on Obama and the media,… which is what we want our candidate to do.

stenwin77 on December 9, 2011 at 7:57 PM

I have reservations about Newt (sitting on the love seat with Pelosi, hammering Paul Ryan, the DeDe Scozafazza debacle), but I get all tingly inside when I think about how he will leave Obama in the fetal position sucking his thumb after a debate.

lighthearted on December 10, 2011 at 1:03 AM

NOMOBO on December 9, 2011 at 9:54 AM

For someone who subscribes to Reagan’s 11th amendment, you sure seemed happy when it was Perry being attacked.

You choose to disqualify Perry because he doesn’t talk like the Ivy Leaguers but we like him because he does all the smart things.

We reject Romney and Gingrich because despite their “smart” rhetoric, they do the dumbest of things and are not conservative.

And since you appear not to appreciative of your governor’s record, why not move to another state? You will be thankful in a hurry.

TheRightMan on December 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Wrong, RightMan. I decided not to suppport our governor for president because his barrage of negativity disqualified him. His record and results in Texas have been stellar but Joe six-pack in Idaho is not too familiar with his accomplishments. It would have been more effective and uplifting for Perry to have introduced himself to America with a positive discourse on his past record and what he would do to right our ship nationally. Instead he stained himself with negativity when the first glimpse of him nationally was awkwardly dissing Mittens. This was a wrong and fatal strategy and I want no part of that.

My point is, if our candidates use nuclear attacks on each other they will be playing right into Obozo’s hands. This election needs to be a referendum on the Failure in Chief starting now

NOMOBO on December 10, 2011 at 7:42 AM

I have reservations about Newt (sitting on the love seat with Pelosi, hammering Paul Ryan, the DeDe Scozafazza debacle), but I get all tingly inside when I think about how he will leave Obama in the fetal position sucking his thumb after a debate.

lighthearted on December 10, 2011 at 1:03 AM

Yes. That is a tingle producing thought for sure.
But… those reservations are real and scary. My crystal ball tell me not to put my money on Newt.

I’d rather have Obummah in the fetal position sucking his thumb after he lost the election to someone who will lead this country in the right direction, and I don’t think that Newt is the one.

Swede With Attitude on December 10, 2011 at 7:58 AM

Is it possible to read a story about Newt without seeing the word “baggage”? It’s already been discounted into the price, baked in the cake. And his lead grows daily anyhow. The election will be a referendum on Obamunism, and the baggage it has wrought could fill a cargo plane.

phillysfinest on December 10, 2011 at 9:25 AM

And his lead grows daily anyhow. The election will be a referendum on Obamunism, and the baggage it has wrought could fill a cargo plane.

phillysfinest on December 10, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Gingrich was involved with Fannie/Freddie as the economy collapsed. He was also ousted as the Speaker after being sanctioned and fined for ethics violations. Obama will counter that he inherited the economy from people like Gingrich. He will point out that he has never been removed from office because of ethics violations.

Yeah, Gingrich is a real winner in the general.

//

csdeven on December 10, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Gingrich was completely exonerated by the IRS. no wrongdoing was found. He wasn’t involved with Fannie. According to Gingrich, he advised Freddie to stop making “ninja” loans, advice they ignored. Obama will be removed from office for a much more egregious list of offenses.

phillysfinest on December 10, 2011 at 9:45 AM

I believe many of the people supporting Gingrich right now know little about his record. I’m very happy that a campaign is doing the work of educating people about Gingrich’s record in hopes of preventing former House Speaker-turned-lobbyist Gingrich from becoming our nominee. Nominating full-of-himself, condescending Newt would be a disaster, especially when we have an arguably more conservative and vastly more electable candidate in Romney. I have never understood how people could believe that candidates like Sarah Palin and Herman Cain (both fine people, by the way) would have any chance of defeating Obama. Palin and Cain were embarrassingly weak, ill-prepared and had trouble stringing together proper sentences. Are these the people supporting Gingrich now? As I see it, the only acceptable candidates are Romney and Santorum (with Bachmann very close behind). Perry doesn’t even deserve much mention here because, although he seems like a good man, he is clearly not ready for primetime and can’t articulate anything but extremely simple ideas.

bluegill on December 10, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Just to pick a nit:

How do you throw someone “off” a canyon. Once you are in the canyon, there is nowhere to go but up….

/pedant mode off

cane_loader on December 10, 2011 at 12:27 PM

OT/

How do you throw someone “off” a canyon. Once you are in the canyon, there is nowhere to go but up….

/pedant mode off

cane_loader on December 10, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Infinite recursion!

*sip*

Axe on December 11, 2011 at 2:17 AM

//

csdeven on December 10, 2011 at 9:33 AM

0:52

Axe on December 11, 2011 at 3:14 AM

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