Former Sen. Thompson: Many critics 'were holding Newt's coat' when he was speaker

Newt Gingrich-backer former Sen. Fred Thompson pushed back against the damaging attacks from Romney surrogates on Gingrich’s leadership and tenure as House speaker on Sunday.

“There’s some old score-settling going on,” said the former Tennessee senator on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Newt Gingrich had some run-ins with people from his party.”

After a late surge propelled Gingrich to victory in South Carolina, the Romney campaign has showcased numerous lawmakers and members of the GOP establishment who have come out to hammer Gingrich.

Thompson though said that many of those critics had benefitted from Gingrich’s ideas and leadership.

“A lot of them were holding Newt’s coat when he conceived for a way for Republicans to take over the House,” he said referring to the Gingrich-engineered GOP take over of the House in 1994.

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