Rush Limbaugh took aim at the conservative media on Tuesday, saying that there seemed to be a "coordinated" effort to tarnish Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich's meteoric rise to the top of the Republican polls has been swift. He's earned the title of frontrunner for now, with little help from a key segment of conservatives.
In October, the former House Speaker was laboring toward the back of the pack with a meager seven percent of the vote. Sitting four weeks away from the Iowa caucuses, Gingrich logged 25 percent of the vote in Saturday's Des Moines Register poll.
Yet Gingrich has notably gained this jump without significant support from conservative media. Limbaugh took note of that fact on Tuesday, pointing to "the hit pieces" against the candidate.
"Today there is a coordinated -- well, I don't know that it's coordinated, but it sure appears to be," Limbaugh said on Tuesday. "Regardless, no matter where you look in the Republican establishment media today, there looks to be a coordinated attack on Mr. Newt."
HuffPost's Sam Stein and Michael Calderone chronicled Gingrich's complicated relationship with the conservative press, noting that "the list of conservative commentators who have penned anti-Gingrich tomes in recent days is lengthy and impressive." From Washington Post columnist George Will deeming him the "least conservative candidate", to National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru unveiling his endorsement for Mitt Romney, Gingrich's ascension among a crowded field has come without any type of firm right-wing media backing.
While Limbaugh cautioned that he was not defending Gingrich, he denounced the idea of downing the Georgian in favor of another term of Barack Obama as president.
"I feel like calling some of these people, which of course I would never do, I don't call anybody 'cause I actually don't like talking to people. I would say, "Do you really at the end of the day prefer Obama to Newt? 'Cause that's what you're gonna bring off here if you keep this up," he said.
Gingrich seems to have benefitted from his ability to embrace the role of being the antagonist. The Associated Press looked back at his knack for confrontation, citing tenuous times in the 1990s that included memorable budget battles resulting in government shutdowns. As Arianna Huffington noted on Monday, Gingrich has exuded confidence that has him poised to profit when the real polls take shape.