PLYMOUTH, N.H. — Republican Newt Gingrich fought on two fronts Thursday, branding Mitt Romney's policies as "timid" and accusing President Barack Obama of carrying out "an imperial presidency."
Gingrich is going all out to reinvigorate his bid for the Republican presidential nomination after a finishing fourth in Iowa's caucuses.
The former House speaker launched a TV ad Thursday in New Hampshire and South Carolina, the first in which he challenges Romney.
"Romney's economic plan? Timid," the spot says. "Parts of it virtually identical to Obama's failed policy. Timid won't create jobs and timid certainly won't defeat Barack Obama.
The ad highlights Gingrich's "bold leadership" and says: "The Gingrich jobs plan: A powerful plan for growing our economy and creating new jobs."
Appearing at senior citizen center in Plymouth, N.H., Gingrich criticized Obama for circumventing the Senate on Wednesday and appointing three people to the National Labor Relations Board. Gingrich called on Congress to strip the panel of its funding and blasted it as "a runaway, anti-jobs, anti-business, pro-labor union board."
Gingrich said Obama's action showed "a total willingness to violate the law and impose an imperial presidency."
The former Georgia congressman campaigned Thursday in the snowy, mountainous reaches of northern New Hampshire
At a town hall in Littleton, Sam Greenlaw, a 74-year-old retiree, told the thrice-married Gingrich that he knew more about Gingrich's personal life and his work for Freddie Mac, the federal mortgage agency, than he did about Gingrich's policy initiatives, which he said were impressive.
"You need to do more of this," he told Gingrich, referring to the policy-rich meeting Gingrich held.
Afterward, Greenlaw said that attacking Romney would backfire on Gingrich – at least in his mind.
"I need to know how he's going to go about correcting the problems of our institutions. Not about what he thinks about other people," Greenlaw said.
Others thought highlighting Romney's record was long overdue.
"I do not think that Speaker Gingrich was out of line at all. He simply told the truth about the man," said John Anderson, a 65-year old retiree from Pittsburg, N.H. "I'm not a Romney hater, but I do not believe he can take on Obama and I do not believe he is real conservative
In Littleton, an audience member asked to hear from Gingrich's wife, Callista, who stands silently by his side at campaign stops.
She stepped forward and complied.
"I just want to say that I think Newt has been preparing for this challenge his whole life," Callista Gingrich said. "And I believe truly he is the best person to lead this country."
Follow Shannon McCaffrey: http://www.twitter.com/smccaffrey13