Drawing a strategic contrast with the man now besting him in the polls, Mitt Romney took steps to define himself as the consummate Washington outsider with an unblemished record as a family man.

I dont have a political career, Romney told the Republican Jewish Coalition on Wednesday, calling himself a private-sector creature and the opposite of a Washington insider.

Romney didnt mention Newt Gingrich, his main rival for the GOP nomination, by name, but his comments seemed aimed squarely at the former House Speaker. 

The issue isnt black and white for Romney, who served as the governor of Massachusetts, ran for president in 2008 and has been campaigning for the 2012 nomination almost from the day President Obama was inaugurated.

But embracing an anti-Washington, individualist persona affords Romney an opportunity to differentiate himself from Gingrich, who served in Congress from 1979 to 1999 and, as a former House Speaker, is widely considered a GOP establishment figure.

Soon after Romney completed his address to Republican Jewish voters Wednesday, his campaign released a television ad portraying the former governor as a consistent, even-handed husband, father and leader. The campaign plans to air the ad this week in New Hampshire and Iowa.

“I’ve been married to the same woman for 25 — excuse me, I’ll get in trouble — for 42 years,” Romney says in the ad. “I’ve been in the same church my entire life. I worked at one company, Bain, for 25 years. And I left that to go off and help save the Olympic Games.

Gingrich has long faced scrutiny over his multiple marriages, conversion to Catholicism and divisive reign over the House that ended in his resignation as Speaker.

It has become increasingly urgent for Romney to take advantage of lingering animosity toward Gingrich and present himself as the fresh-faced alternative for voters who see Gingrich as part of the problem with a gridlocked Washington.

With less than a month until the Iowa caucus, Gingrich now has a double-digit lead over Romney in most national polls and in key swing states, threatening to upend the front-runner status that Romney has maintained throughout most of the presidential campaign.