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Zany? Unreliable? Romney gets in some pre-debate Gingrich zingers

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With lines like this, just think about what Mitt Romney has saved for Thursday night's debate.

With the holidays rapidly approaching and the first votes set to be cast shortly after, the former Massachusetts governor seems eager to make up ground on Newt Gingrich as soon as possible.

On Wednesday that process included having the typically press-averse GOP presidential candidate sit down for a pair of Q-and-A sessions in which he lobbed some rhetorical grenades.

"Zany is not what we need in a president," Romney told the New York Times. "Zany is great in a campaign. It's great on talk radio. It's great in print. It makes for fun reading. But in terms of a president, we need a leader."

If "zany" wasn't good enough, he called Gingrich "unreliable" to boot.

"I believe that the comments he's made over the years suggests that he's unreliable as a spokesman for conservatism," he said.

The latter quote is striking Democrats and Romney's GOP foes as puzzling, given that it takes just a few searches on YouTube to uncover a some past Romney statements that would hardly be considered conservative.

Romney also got personal with Gingrich, playing what you could call the Tiffany card on the Tiffany network.

"Newt Gingrich has wealth from having worked in government," Romney told CBS. "He's a wealthy man, a very wealthy man. If you have a half a million dollar purchase from Tiffany's, you're not a middle-class American."

As he claimed frontrunner status, Gingrich has said repeatedly he would not go negative on his rivals, as Romney clearly is eager to do. That doesn't mean he won't fight back, and he may have the opportunity Thursday night in what is the final major candidate debate before the Jan. 3 caucuses in Iowa.

He's also defending himself on the airwaves.

"These are challenging and important times for America. We want and deserve solutions. Others seem to be more focused on attacks rather than moving the country forward. That’s up to them," Gingrich says in his second Iowa campaign ad.

Here's some of Romney's interview with CBS.

And Gingrich's new campaign ad.

 

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