Two damaging attacks have been launched at Newt Gingrich this morning from other Republicans, which both paint him as out of step with the conservative movement. The first is a Romney campaign ad that blasts Gingrich for his criticism of Paul Ryan’s entitlement reform plan last spring:
The ad is apparently being run in Iowa, and will no doubt be effective with voters there who see Gingrich as the “true conservative” in the race. Does it matter that Romney was never adamantly on board with the Ryan plan? In theory, yes, but from a practical standpoint, not really. He’s not making the case here that he’s more conservative than Gingrich, and he doesn’t necessarily have to. The purpose of the ad is simply to undercut Gingrich’s support.
Something that may resonate with Iowa Tea Partiers even more than the Romney ad is this devastating Rand Paul column in the Des Moines Register attacking Gingrich as a phony conservative “establishment” figure. Paul gets in some good shots at Romney as well, but lets him off the hook in the end. He saves his real ammo for Gingrich:
Moving past both those issues, however, I believe Romney’s candidacy is well-established. He’s a moderate, northeastern, don’t-rock-the-boat Republican, and I think everyone in the party clearly understands that.
But what worries me is that the voters are being sold a bill of goods in Gingrich.
So I will conclude by saying two things: Gingrich is not from the Tea Party. He is not even a conservative.
He is part of the Washington establishment I was sent to fight. He has been wrong on many of the major issues of the day, and he has taken money from those who helped cause the housing crisis and create millions of foreclosures.
Again, Tea Party voters aren’t going to come away from this column with a desire to vote for Romney. But it may be enough to chisel away at Gingrich’s lead.