Despite the fact that the media continues to ignore the millions of dollars in dishonest or at least disingenuous ads that were run in Iowa and New Hampshire against Gingrich by Romney and his various Super PAC surrogates, Gingrich seems to have seen his Bain-centered attacks on Romney as unsuccessful, and perhaps harmful to his own campaign. In an indication that Newt Gingrich is turning away from his attacks on Romney on the basis of the “vulture capitalism” theme, Politico is reporting that Newt said on Wednesday the following in response to an Army Reservist in Inman, S.C., who said this to Gingrich:
“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.
Gingrich seemed to step back from the brink:
“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.”
Now some will rightly note that Gingrich isn’t entirely backing down, but he’s admitting that at the very least, this was a bad approach to the question of attacking Romney’s record. As I’ve written over the last two day, Gingrich is better off focusing on the things Romney has done in governing if he wants to go negative, or at least focus on those aspects of Bain that won’t come off as, or be reported as some sort of attack on capitalism.
I also think Gingrich would do well to point out that among the politicians now entered, Gingrich is the only one who ever accomplished real cuts in government spending. This would require that Gingrich accentuate the positive again, and I think that’s a smart move as he certainly fared better when he was talking in positive terms about the country, but also how he is substantially different from Barack Obama, and perhaps how Romney really isn’t so different. Gingrich is now campaigning in South Carolina, a state neighboring Georgia, from which he served in Congress. As he works to try to regain momentum, he’s probably should consider changing this theme entirely for the moment. It’s bound to land him on firmer ground with the electorate.