Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign on Thursday launched the harshest attacks yet on Newt Gingrich in a call where two top supporters described the former Speaker as “irrational” and “self-serving.”
Top surrogates for the Romney campaign sought to portray the GOP front-runner as a selfish leader more interested in sounding smart than in achieving conservative goals.
After praising some of Gingrich’s ideas, Talent said that “he also says outrageous things that come from nowhere and he has the tendency to say them at the exact time to undermine the conservative agenda.”
“If the nominee is Newt Gingrich, the election is going to be about the Republican nominee, which is exactly what President Obama and the Democrats want.”
The call is likely to be the first of many attacks on Gingrich’s perceived lack of discipline. Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho promised on the call that the campaign “will continue to make these contrasts.”
Sununu hit Gingrich for describing the Medicare plan from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as “right-wing social engineering.” The plan would turn Medicare into a premium-support system that directs money to private insurance companies to cover seniors.
“Gingrich’s undercutting of Paul Ryan proves that he’s more concerned about Newt Gingrich than he is about conservative principles,” said Sununu, who is a kingmaker in early-voting New Hampshire and served as President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff. “What he did to Paul Ryan is a perfect example of irrational behavior that you do not want in the commander in chief.”
Talent sought to portray that impulsiveness as a pattern, saying that he and other Republicans who served under Gingrich in the House had to force him from the leadership because he lacked the discipline necessary in a leader.
“We’d get up every morning and you would have to check the newspapers ... to see what the Speaker had said that you have to clean up in your own district,” he said.