Former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich drew a clear distinction between himself and his rivals, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, and insisted in an interview with me today that he’s the best conservative candidate to beat President Obama.
He also fought back against the idea that he’s dividing up the conservative vote.
“I think as people look at his record and then imagine him debating Obama, Obama is going to laugh at him,” Gingrich said on “GMA.” “We have to look at what kind of a choice do we want for the country.”
Gingrich also attempted to draw a contrast of his time in Congress from that of his colleague, Rick Santorum. The former congressman has taken issue with Gingrich’s characterization of him as a “junior partner” in the Republican revolution of the 1990s. He, in turn, has charged the former speaker of sitting on the sidelines.
“That’s pretty hard for the speaker of the House to sit on the sidelines,” Gingrich responded laughingly. “Rick and I are going to be competitors. That’s fine. We’ve had different tracks of getting here. I like him. We have different records.”
Though Gingrich has painted a picture of Romney as a Massachusetts moderate who cannot defeat Obama, the former governor is leading in the polls by a wide margin.
In a new poll released today by ABC News affiliate WMUR, 59 percent of New Hampshire’s GOP voters think Romney is the candidate most likely to beat Obama. Only seven percent think Gingrich can do better. Is it a hard sell?
Gingrich told me that Romney’s high polling numbers in New Hampshire are not a surprise, but he’s going to continue to campaign in the Granite state because “this is where the race is this week.” And though he may be trailing far behind the frontrunner, he’s not giving up yet.
“This is the place to point out how big the gap is between a Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate,” he said this morning.