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Gingrich Clarifies His Position on Bain, Discusses Romney’s ‘Two Credentials’

4:01 PM, Jan 12, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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For those who might have missed it, Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren interviewed Newt Gingrich last night and asked whether he was “backing down” on his “attack on Bain capital.” Gingrich replied

Gingrich Newt

“Well, first of all, I’m not attacking Bain Capital; I’m questioning Mitt Romney’s judgment, I’m questioning Mitt Romney’s decisions.  He’s the person who has gone around saying that his business career is one of his two credentials.  The other is his governorship.  He doesn’t want to talk about his record as governor ’cause it’s too liberal for a Republican primary, and he doesn’t want anyone to talk about his business career….

“You know, this isn’t about free enterprise….This isn’t about capitalism.  This isn’t even about private equity funds.  This is about one person who wants to be president of the United States.  He owes the country an explanation:  Why were certain decisions made?  How were they done?  What was the consequence of them?  Does he stand by them in retrospect?  Now, surely, if he’s gonna go around running for president saying his 25-year business record is proof [that people should vote for him], he ought to be willing to discuss the 25-year business record, instead of suddenly jumping up and saying any questions are a sign you’re attacking free enterprise. That’s baloney.

“I have a very long record as a Reagan conservative.  I have consistently worked to make sure we had more enterprise, not less; more jobs, not less; more entrepreneurs, not less.  And in fact I would say that Mitt Romney did pretty well under the tax laws that I helped Ronald Reagan pass in the 1980s.  So he ought to be happy with my role in expanding free enterprise and my role in the 1990s as speaker in cutting the capital gains tax — the largest tax cut in capital gains in American history came while I was speaker, so this is not about free enterprise.  This is about one person, Mitt Romney, and what he did.”

In response to a follow-up question, Gingrich added,

“The question here is, various newspapers have reported, and an entire documentary has been made, about three or four cases that are very specific.  Now, I think if Governor Romney thinks there’s nothing there, he ought to just hold a press conference, walk the news media through it, explain how it was done, let people see it.  But I find it strange that they are so sensitive on this issue that they’ve sort of pushed the panic button. 

“But understand me:  This is not about free enterprise.  This is about the character, values, and judgment of a particular person who is running for president of the United States.  And it strikes me, just as with his record as governor, where his record’s very different from his advertising, he owes the country some candor, and he owes the country some facts.  That’s all I’m saying.”

Van Susteren then asked Gingrich to explain his apparent about-face on running attacks ads.  Gingrich said that, after Iowa, he and his wife Callista had a day-long discussion about whether his campaign should continue its policy of unilateral disarmament in that regard, and he decided that doing so would effectively mean “getting out of the race,” which he wasn’t prepared to do.

During the interview, Gingrich also went on the offensive:

“[N]ow we’re in South Carolina, which is my country.  This is where, as a Georgia conservative, I have a pretty good idea how to campaign.  And we’re gonna make it a clear race:  a Reagan conservative from Georgia? — or a moderate from Massachusetts?

“...[I will] lay out [Governor Romney’s] liberalism on issues like abortion, gun control, raising taxes.  These are all issues which, when the voters of South Carolina understand them, he’s gonna get remarkably few votes down here, because he’s not pro-life.  He in fact put Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America, into Romneycare.  He has tax-paid abortion in Romneycare.  His administration approved building an abortion clinic for Planned Parenthood.  He appointed pro-abortion judges.  These things all happened after he claimed he was pro-life....”

Moments later, Van Susteren interrupted and playfully deadpanned, “So I guess it’s fair to say you are gonna fight back.”

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