Gingrich: ‘It’s fair to raise any question’ about GOP candidates

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both said Sunday that they doubted that Mitt Romney would be able to draw a clear distinction between himself and President Obama in a general election campaign.

Under fire from some Republicans for attacking Romney's business record during primary season, Gingrich said whoever is the GOP standard-bearer would have to stand up to Obama’s high-dollar campaign. 

“I think it’s fair to raise any question, including about me, about any other candidate. It’s fair to raise the questions now, get them out the way now,” Gingrich said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“Otherwise, we’ll nominate somebody in a soft process and watch them collapse,” the former House speaker added. “I don’t want to see us nominate someone who can’t debate Obama, who can’t take the heat.”

Gingrich also continued to call on a super-PAC that is supporting him to edit or pull a documentary film attacking Romney’s career in private equity. On “Fox News Sunday,” a top adviser to the super-PAC, Winning Our Future, said they would keep running the film. 

On the CBS show, both Gingrich and Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, also said that Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor would be a problem in a race against Obama.

The Obama administration has said, for instance, that the Massachusetts health care overhaul under Romney was a model for national reform. 

“It is an absolute disaster,” Santorum said. “And for us to give away that issue with Governor Romney would be a case of, in my opinion, malpractice on the part of the primary voters.”

“He would not have the clear record that I have, that is better than anybody else in the field,” the former two-term senator added. 

For his part, Gingrich, who said he would probably win the South Carolina primary next week, also attacked Romney’s record on gun control and taxes.

“I want to do everything I can to make sure we defeat Barack Obama,” Gingrich said. “I just think a clear Reagan conservative has a much better chance of defeating him than somebody who comes out of a Massachusetts moderate background.”