WASHINGTON -- Newt Gingrich embraced Republican presidential campaign rival Herman Cain's criticism of the news media in connection with the sexual harassment allegations against Cain in an interview Monday morning.
Gingrich told NBC's "Today" show that news organizations care more about scandal than ordinary citizens struggling to make ends meet.
The former House speaker said voters want a "solution-oriented leader" more than a scandal. He says it's up to Cain to handle in the way he sees fit. But Gingrich said there's a gap between the "gossip" he believes journalists pursue, and more deep-seated problems like economic stagnation.
Gingrich said, "What does it mean to the elite news media that nobody in the country ever walks up to us and raises the questions you raise." He questioned the media's "judgment" on what stories should be emphasized.
Gingrich and Cain met at a fundraising debate event in Texas over the weekend for a good-natured debate on entitlement reform that reportedly provided more opportunities for agreement than argument.
Politico provides some background on the event:
The cordial, tame joint appearance by Cain and Gingrich on Saturday night was par for a race in which they've often offered outright praise for each other in debates and defended each other against outside criticism. It's not even their first joint appearance: they shared the spotlight on CBS's "Face the Nation" last month.
The relationship has some history: both Georgia natives, they've known each other for 15 years. In fact, former House Speaker Denny Hastert said on MSNBC earlier this week that he first got to know Cain while Gingrich was speaker, and used to bring Cain in for policy talks with the House Republican conference in the 1990s.
Cain and Gingrich may have resisted launching attacks at each other, but Gingrich didn't exhibit the same restraint in weighing in on President Obama's place in presidential history.
Here is part of Gingrich's comparison, via Mediaite:
We have today a President and ... compare him to Ronald Reagan who told the truth -- great book called "The Education of Ronald Reagan" on lessons he learned at General Electric -- compare Reagan's ability to talk directly to the American people, make sense and have the American people move the Congress with the current president. This president is about as candid and accurate as Bernie Madoff in what he tells the American people.
While Gingrich has been running as a solid second-tier candidate throughout most of the GOP primary, an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Friday showed the former House speaker at 12 percent, only a percentage point behind Texas governor and one-time frontrunner Rick Perry.