Pullback Beginning on Romney Foes’ Bain Attacks?
Is a pullback now beginning on attacks by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and perhaps others on attacks on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for Romney’s role at Bain Capital? It sounds that way. Actually, I figured a pullback would begin once I learned that conservative talker (and Ruler of the GOP in some ways) Rush Limbaugh was blasting it. The Politico reports:
Newt Gingrich signaled Wednesday that he believes his criticism of Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital is a mistake — and that he’s created an impression that he was echoing Democratic rhetoric.
Gingrich conceded the problem when pressed by a Rick Santorum supporter at a book signing here Wednesday.
“I’m here to implore one thing of you. I think you’ve missed the target on the way you’re addressing Romney’s weaknesses. I want to beg you to redirect and go after his obvious disingenuousness about his conservatism and lay off the corporatist versus the free market. I think it’s nuanced,” said Dean Glossop, an Army Reservist from Inman, S.C.
“I agree with you,” Gingrich said. “It’s an impossible theme to talk about with Obama in the background. Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally in that area because he is so deeply into class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect. … I agree with you entirely.”
I doubt Gingrich would be conceeding this point if he didn’t see himself under fire from Limbaugh, The Weekly Standard, and Sean Hannity for using this issue.
But don’t expect it to go away overnight.
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond issued a statement from the campaign Wednesday afternoon that pushed back on the reports of Gingrich moving away from his criticism of Bain.
“This issue at hand is neither about Bain Capital, private equity firms, nor about capitalism. It is about Mitt Romney’s judgment and character,” Hammond’s statement read. “It was Governor Romney’s decision to base his candidacy, in large part, on his background as a portfolio manager. Thus, it is entirely legitimate to ask questions about whether he is accurately presenting how he conducted himself during that career.”
To be sure, a pro-Gingrich PAC will still run the planned ads. But this sounds like the beginning of a gradual inching away from the issue once the initial barrage of ads is over.
Gingrich isn’t the only one backing away from the topic that consumed the conversation in the GOP race on Monday and Tuesday. Jon Huntsman also urged his fellow candidates to “cool it” on the attacks as he arrived in the state Wednesday.
“If you have creative destruction in capitalism –which has always been a part of capitalism – it becomes a little disingenuous to take on Bain Capital,” Huntsman said.
Gingrich was far less contrite this morning in his interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd.
Meanwhile, Limbaugh is in full demonization mode — comparing Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Cuba’s Fidel Castro for the way Perry has used the Bain issue against Romney.