MANCHESTER, N.H. — With his year-end surge to the top of the polls now seeming like a distant memory, Newt Gingrich is pulling out all the stops in his attempt to knock down top rival Mitt Romney before it’s too late.
“I spent three weeks saying, ‘Let’s find a way to be positive,’” Gingrich said, dismissing Romney’s conjecture that Gingrich simply couldn’t withstand the scrutiny.
That heat is likely to take the form of ramped-up scrutiny of Romney’s work at the helm of private equity firm Bain Capital. The former Massachusetts governor is facing a barrage of criticism from rivals in both parties that his work amounted to breaking down companies, firing workers and turning a quick profit.
“Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money? Or is that somehow a flawed system,” Gingrich said, appearing to depart momentarily from his usual full-throttle embrace of capitalist ideas.
Speaking to reporters after addressing a packed room of public utility employees in Manchester, N.H., where voters will go to the polls Tuesday, Gingrich said he hadn’t seen the 27-minute documentary that a super-PAC backing his campaign had produced to knock Romney’s work at Bain Capital.
The $5 million to create the film, which features former employees decrying their treatment under Romney’s firm, was reportedly provided by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
But while Gingrich has targeted Romney repeatedly and sternly for allowing his own PAC to spend millions of dollars in ads attacking Gingrich — dollars credited with knocking him down to fourth place in Iowa — Gingrich said he had no problem with Adelson’s investment.
“If he wants to counter-balance Romney’s millionaires, I have no objections,“ he said.
Speaking earlier at a town hall, where journalists outnumbered actual employees by a wide margin, Gingrich said nominating him "leads to a very interesting campaign,” dismissing claims that by attacking the likely nominee now, he was hurting his party’s chances in November.
“If someone’s going to crumble, they’d better do it before the nomination,” he said.