SPARTANBURG, S.C., — Mitt Romney took a new line of attack against GOP rival Newt Gingrich, likening the former House speaker taking credit for creating jobs during his tenure in congress to former Vice President Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.
“The Speaker the other day at the debate was talking about how he created millions of jobs when he was working with the Reagan administration,” said Romney, speaking at a rally on the Wofford College campus. “Well he’d been in Congress two years when Ronald Reagan came into office. That’d be like saying 435 congressmen were all responsible for those jobs. Government doesn’t create jobs. It’s the private sector that creates jobs.”
“Congressmen taking responsibility or taking credit for helping create jobs is like Al Gore taking credit for the Internet,” Romney said, laughing. “Look, you’re the guys in America that put Americans to work. Not Congressmen, not even presidents. And this president’s got it entirely wrong when he attacks the private sector.”
Gore famously stated that he “took the initiative in creating the Internet” in a 1999 interview with CNN. The comment was seized on by Gore’s critics and dogged him throughout the 2000 presidential campaign.
Romney’s remarks about Gingrich came just a few hours after the campaign organized a press conference call with Romney supporter and former Missouri Senator Jim Talent, who accused Gingrich of using “the language of the left” in his attacks on Romney.
“It isn’t just the positions he takes, it’s the timing of the statements he makes and the way he makes his statements,” said Talent. “And, again, I mean, this is something that legions of people in the conservative movement have been so frustrated by over the course of the last couple of weeks, and they’re getting a taste of what we got in the 1990s, what we’ll all get if he’s the nominee.
“The Speaker is running as a reliable conservative leader who can represent our movement and our party, and he’s not that, because he’s not reliable,” said Talent. “Yes, he can say exciting things. He also says things that undermine the conservative movement, and he says them in outrageous and destructive ways.”