Mitt Romney, in his harshest criticism to date of his Republican contender Newt Gingrich, today dubbed Gingrich’s assertion that he will be the nominee “self-aggrandizing” and added that such comments “don’t win elections.”
Appearing on “Fox & Friends” this morning, Romney was played a clip of Gingrich’s exclusive interview with ABC News , during which Gingrich told ABC’s Jake Tapper, “I’m going to be the nominee.”
Asked if he disagrees with Gingrich, Romney laughed before responding, “I sure do.”
“Let me tell you, over the last year there have been a lot of people who have been real high in the polls who are not high in the polls anymore — there’s a funny thing in America, it’s called an election. You have to win the election and to win the election you have to earn it. I wish Newt the best. He’ll run his campaign and I’ll run mine, and let the best person win,” said Romney.
Romney continued to highlight the differences he says exist between him and the former speaker, reiterating previous statements that peg Gingrich as a Washington insider.
“I don’t think I want to characterize Newt at this point other than to point out our very distinct differences with regard to background,” said Romney. “I think that if America feels we need somebody who has lived in Washington for the past 40 years to run the country he’s a good choice. I actually believe we need someone who has lived out in America – not in Washington – who has had the experience of leading enterprises, who has led a state, led the Olympics and by virtue of those leadership experiences understand the power of leadership.”
“Look I must admit that Newt has had a very extensive long record of working in Washington with various governmental and non-governmental agencies,” Romney added. “And I don’t think that’s the background that is ideally suited, one to replace Barack Obama and number two, to lead this country. This is not a matter that America needs better lobbyists or better deal makers or better insiders, I think America needs a leader.”
Sitting down for today’s interview with the very cable channel that hosted Romney just a few days ago for what has been dubbed one of his more “uncomfortable” sit downs, Romney was asked about reports that he complained to host Bret Baier after Tuesday’s interview.
But Romney didn’t repeat the alleged complaints, calling the interview with Baier as a “good opportunity.”
“I just wanted to spend more time talking about the big issues of the day which are issues about the economy, getting Americans working again taking America back from those who want to turn us into a European-style nation, I want to talk about our foreign policy challenges in Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea, but you know it turned out to be a pretty good chance to talk about some of the attacks coming from the Democrats, all and all I thought it was a pretty good opportunity,” said Romney.
Pressed again as to whether he was expecting a “softball interview,” Romney responded, “Of course not — it turned out to be a good opportunity to talk about you know, the mud that’s being thrown by the Democrats and I got a chance to bat back some of that so it worked pretty well.”
Romney appeared via satellite from Texas, where yesterday he met with Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara. Romney characterized them as one of the most “interesting and delightful” couples he knows.
“It was fun to see them again and hear their thoughts,” said Romney. “You know Barbara Bush speaks her mind and her husband just chuckles. By the way they are 100 percent with it. I don’t know how old they are but they are young at heart and young in mind. They are remarkable leaders.”