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As New Hampshire voters head to the polls, is Gingrich in a race for runner-up?
Presidential candidate Gingrich made his bold pitch on his last full day of campaigning before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. It was in answer to a question about Las Vegas gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a longtime friend and supporter, donating $5 million to Winning Our Future, the pro-Gingrich but ostensibly independent group buying political ads in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
“If he wants to counterbalance Romney’s millionaires, I have no objection to him counterbalancing Romney’s millionaires,” Gingrich said to his traveling media scrum after a town meeting Monday morning with public-utility workers in Manchester. “Anybody else, by the way, who would like to counterbalance Romney’s millionaires, I have no objection if they happen to see this … and decide to do it.”
Gingrich said he hasn’t talked to Adelson about his largesse, but conceded that the two friends do speak from time to time.
“I think anybody who believes that the Republican candidate is going to get through September and October without Axelrod and Obama spending a billion dollars” is mistaken, Gingrich said.
His multimedia solicitation came on the same day that he proudly announced the endorsement of Todd Palin, the erstwhile First Dude of Alaska—“Todd called me 20 minutes ago,” he revealed—and also touted a new Gingrich campaign attack video detailing $700 million in new taxes that Romney allegedly raised from the citizens of Massachusetts when he was governor from 2003 to 2007.
Never mind all Gingrich’s happy talk in Iowa about waging a positive campaign. Now that money is beginning to shake loose, the anti-Mitt onslaught is coming—and Gingrich argues that he’s actually doing the Republican Party a favor.
“I think anybody who believes that the Republican candidate is going to get through September and October without Axelrod and Obama spending a billion dollars” is mistaken, Gingrich said, referring to Obama message guru David Axelrod. “If somebody is going to crumble, they better crumble before the nomination. You don’t want to end up in September with a nominee who has been untested.”
Apparently in that favor-dispensing spirit, Gingrich suggested that the Republican frontrunner—whom he accused of embodying “pious baloney” during Sunday’s NBC debate—might want to hold “a fairly long press conference” to explain the business practices of Bain Capital, the leveraged-buyout firm Romney ran before winning the governorship. (Coincidentally enough, it turns out that Winning Our Future has made a documentary short chronicling the shattered lives of workers who were handed pink slips after Bain acquired their companies.)
“I’m totally for capitalism and for free markets,” Gingrich said. “But you have to raise questions about somebody” who spends $30 million to buy a company with high debt, takes out $180 million, “and then the company goes bankrupt.” Gingrich described such a transaction as “a handful of rich people manipulating the lives of thousands of people and then walking off with the money … leaving behind broken families and broken neighborhoods.”
The aforementioned Axelrod couldn’t have said it better himself.
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