Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has long been working to portray Mitt Romney as a “Massachusetts moderate.”
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Monday morning, Gingrich mentioned Soros three different times, pointing to a Reuters interview last week in which the investor and champion of liberal causes argued that there isn’t much difference between President Obama and Romney on most issues.
“There’s a lot of parallels between these two guys — Romneycare and Obamacare are essentially the same,” Gingrich said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He later added: “I think that Mitt Romney will have a very hard time trying to differentiate himself and I think that’s what the George Soros message is this morning.”
In an interview with Reuters’ Chrystia Freeland last week, Soros had downplayed the policy differences between Obama and Romney.
“Well, look, either you’ll have an extremist conservative, be it Gingrich or (former Pennsylvania senator Rick) Santorum, in which case I think it will make a big difference which of the two comes in,” Soros said. “If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference except for the crowd that they bring with them.”
Polls show Romney poised for a victory over Gingrich in tomorrow’s Florida primary. But Gingrich’s camp maintains that it is looking for wins past the Sunshine State’s nominating contest and is planning to compete in primaries and caucuses well past Tuesday.
Romney, in a separate interview on NBC’s “Today Show” Monday morning, called Gingrich “a nice fellow” but contended that “his leadership capability has really been called in question by virtue of the people who’ve worked with him.”
Romney also declined to say whether his campaign will pull a TV ad featuring footage of NBC’s Tom Brokaw reporting on Gingrich’s decision to step down as House speaker. Brokaw and NBC have responded to the ad with statements requesting that the Romney campaign take down the spot.
“You know, we’ll sit down with the lawyers and talk to the folks at NBC and make a decision on that front,” Romney said Monday morning. “I think the reason that it was so effective as an ad was that this was not something which Speaker Gingrich would say had been distorted or that Romney was telling things that were not accurate. This is, instead, just the news from the night when the speaker was sanctioned, reprimanded by his own members.”