Mitt Romney took some fresh swipes Friday at the candidate who has overtaken him in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination, saying Newt Gingrich’s “very extensive, long record of working in Washington” makes him ill-suited to defeat President Obama and fix the nation’s economy.
“If America feels that we need somebody who’s lived in Washington for the last 40 years to run the country, then he’s a good choice,” Romney said in an interview on Fox & Friends, adding that while Gingrich climbed the ranks to become House speaker, he was building a business and “trying to understand how the economy works.”
“This is not a matter that America needs better lobbyists, better deal-makers, better insiders,” added Romney, a former Massachusetts governor. “I think America needs a leader.”
Asked about Gingrich’s bullish assertion Thursday to ABC News that “I’m going to be the nominee,” Romney begged to differ.
“Let me tell ya, over the last year, there have been a lot of people who’ve been real high in the polls who are not high in the polls anymore,” Romney told Fox, adding: “Self-aggrandizing statements about polls are not going to win elections.”
Gingrich has a strategy to kill Romney with kindness, and on Thursday instructed his aides not to respond to any attacks. But Gingrich has still been drawing contrasts with Romney on the campaign trail.
“I’m not interested in distinguishing myself from Romney,” Gingrich told reporters after a speech to the Polk County Republican Party in Johnston, Iowa, on Thursday night. “I’m happy to be who I am. I think that distinguishes me from Romney.”
Romney said on Fox that he was confident he would win the nomination and that he is taking nothing for granted. He said he would spend Saturday morning going door-to-door in New Hampshire trying to win over voters.
“I’m going to be working it,” Romney said. “I’m going to be earning it.”
Romney’s interview began at 8:30 a.m., just moments after the monthly economic numbers were released showing that unemployment rate had fallen to 8.6 percent. Asked if that was a boost for Obama, Romney said “this is the slowest recovery we’ve seen since Hoover.”
“He’s going to have a hard time putting perfume on this pig,” Romney said of Obama.