Newt To Mitt: ‘Can We Drop All The Pious Baloney?’


romney-gingrich1In their final debate before New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary, the top three challengers of front-runner Mitt Romneyattacked his conservative credentials today and portrayed him as a political loser.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul all sharpened their criticism of Mr. Romney, seeming to realize that their sparring among one another in a debate 12 hours earlier on Saturday night had let Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, off the hook.

“If his record was so great as governor of Massachusetts, why didn’t he run for re-election?” asked Mr. Santorum, who is surging in polls here and drawing large crowds.

He turned to Mr. Romney onstage and asked: “If it was that great, why did you bail out? The bottom line is, I go and fight the fight.”

Mr. Romney replied that he never intended to be a career politician and that he had accomplished much of what he wanted in one term as governor from 2003 to 2007.

“Run again? That would be about me,” Mr. Romney asserted.

That claim was too much for Mr. Gingrich, who said Mr. Romney was an unpopular governor and also failed in a bid for the U.S. Senate in 1994.Mr. Romney also ran for president in 2008.

“Can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney?” Mr. Gingrich asked Mr. Romney. “You were running for president while you were governor. … You then promptly re-entered politics. You lost to [Arizona Sen. John] McCain, just as you lost to [Sen. Edward M.] Kennedy. Just level with the American people. You’ve been running at least since the 1990s. The fact is, you ran in ’94 and lost. The fact is, you had a very bad re-election rating” as governor.

Mr. Paul, who has been polling a distant second to Mr. Romney in New Hampshire, chimed in.

“I don’t see how we can do well against [President] Obama if we have any candidate who endorsed single-payer systems,” he said, referring to the universal health-care program Mr. Romney implemented in Massachusetts.

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said after the debate that Mr. Romney had withstood the rhetorical assault from his challengers well.

“It was their last chance to attack him, and they failed,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said.

The 90-minute debate was sponsored by NBC’s “Meet the Press” and Facebook. New Hampshire holds its first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who is placing all his hopes on a strong finish in New Hampshire, also chided Mr. Romney for his earlier suggestion that Mr. Huntsman was somehow disloyal to the GOP for having served as ambassador to China in the Obama administration.

“I was criticized last night by Gov. Romney for putting my country first,” Mr. Huntsman said. “I want to be very clear with the people in this country. I will always put my country first.”

Mr. Romney refused to backtrack, saying, “I think we serve our country first by standing for people who stand for conservative principles.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry continued to try to paint himself as the only Washington outsider in the field.

“There’s a bunch of people standing up here who say they’re conservative, but their records don’t follow up on that,” Mr. Perry said.

Some of the candidates were traveling after the debate to South Carolina, which holds the next primary on Jan. 21.

{The Washington Times/ Newscenter}


  1. Romney is John McCain all over again! If he wins the nomination, he will move to the center/left! He won’t criticize Obama for the fear that the media will call him a racist/bigot/ too white, etc… In other words, if Romney is the Nominee, Obama will win in a landslide! We have an obligation to vote for Rick Santorum!