There’s been plenty of speculation that Newt Gingrich might be considering backing down fromcriticizing Mitt Romney’s record at the private equity firm Bain Capital.
But as Herman Cain once said, the problem with that analysis is that it is incorrect.
“This issue at hand is neither about Bain Capital, private equity firms, nor about capitalism,” Hammond said. “It is about Mitt Romney’s judgment and character. It was Governor Romney’s decision to base his candidacy, in large part, on his background as a portfolio manager. Thus, it is entirely legitimate to ask questions about whether he is accurately presenting how he conducted himself during that career.”
Politico’s Jon Allen and Jake Sherman reported Wednesday afternoon that at a campaign stop in Spartanburg, S.C., Gingrich told a supporter that his attacks on Romney’s tenure at Bain had backfired:
“I’m here to implore one thing of you. I think you’ve missed the target on the way you’re addressing Romney’s weaknesses. I want to beg you to redirect and go after his obvious disingenuousness about his conservatism and lay off the corporatist versus the free market. I think it’s nuanced,” said Dean Glossop, an Army reservist from Inman, S.C.
“I agree with you,” Gingrich said. “It’s an impossible theme to talk about with Obama in the background. Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally in that area because he is so deeply into class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect. . . . I agree with you entirely.”
Gingrich accuses Romney of managing buyouts as an executive that included ruthless cut jobs and added profits to the wealthy front-runner's wallet. Romney argues that his work at Bain actually created jobs.
In his statement, Hammond cited reports by the Wall Street Journal and other sources that he said “contradict Governor Romney’s claims that it was his goal at Bain Capital to make companies more successful.”
“Instead of accepting the responsibility to answer questions about his business background, the Romney campaign is throwing up a smokescreen about an attack on capitalism,” Hammond said. “That’s just more pious baloney from Mitt Romney and his campaign.”
Still, it’s worth watching whether – and how hard – Gingrich and others in the GOP field will continue to hit Romney on the issue. A GOP debate coming up on Monday could prove a crucial test. And if a Web ad released by Gingrich’s campaign Wednesday afternoon is any indication, the former House speaker’s team is going full speed ahead.
The two-minute video is a “greatest hits” of sorts, pulling together clips of Romney’s campaign-trail gaffes. Many of the themes touched on in the video have been used by Democrats – something that could bring Gingrich under further fire from some conservative groups who have expressed concern about a heated primary fight.
A pro-Gingrich super PAC has also released online a 28-minute documentary with a critical take on Romney’s time at Bain and is planning to run 30- and 60-second ads containing excerpts from the film.