GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is amping up his attacks on fellow contender Newt Gingrich.
In an interview with The Washington Post published on Tuesday, Romney said of Gingrich, "He has been an extraordinarily unreliable leader in the conservative world--not 16 or 17 years ago but in the last two to three years." The former Massachusetts governor continued, "And even during the campaign, the number of times he has moved from one spot to another has been remarkable. I think he's shown a level of unreliability as a conservative leader today."
This is not the first time Romney has utilized the "unreliability" attack against Gingrich. Last Thursday, Romney surrogate Jim Talent stated on a campaign conference call that Gingrich is "not a reliable and trusted conservative leader, because he's not a reliable or trustworthy leader." Per The Washington Times, Romney's team even created a website targeting Gingrich entitled "Unreliable Leader."
During the Post interview, Romney pointed to a 2008 ad that Gingrich filmed with then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in which the two political heavyweights urged action on the issue of climate change. Romney slammed Gingrich for filming the advertisement, explaining, "When Republicans were fighting for cap-and-trade and needed a leader to stand up against cap and trade, he did an ad with Nancy Pelosi about global warming." As The Daily Caller points out, Gingrich recently described his decision to appear in the ad as "probably the dumbest single thing I've done in years."
Romney also blasted Gingrich for the former Speaker's criticism of GOP Congressman Paul Ryan's Medicare reform plan. In May, Gingrich called Ryan's plan "right wing social engineering" and said that it was "too big a jump." He also described the plan as "suicide," according to Forbes. Romney said of Gingrich's criticisms, "I think his comment on the Paul Ryan plan was an intemperate comment. I think him calling it suicide is a mistake."
On Monday, after Romney criticized Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac and called on the former Speaker to return the money he made from the mortgage giant, Gingrich hit back with a jab of his own. "I would just say that if Gov. Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to listen to him and I'll bet you $10 dollars -- not $10,000 -- that he won't take the offer," said Gingrich. The comment was in reference to a moment during Saturday night's GOP debate in which Romney offered to bet Texas Governor Rick Perry $10,000 to settle a dispute over Romney's health care record.
As Romney and Gingrich trade barbs, HuffPost's Mark Blumenthal reports that local party insiders in key states are still undecided on their preferred nominee. More back-and-forth attacks between the two candidates are almost certainly on the horizon as the race develops.