Newt Gingrich, On Eve Of Likely Florida Loss, Unleashes Wild Attacks On Mitt Romney
Huff Post- Posted: 1/31/12 12:00 AM ET | Updated: 1/31/12 09:13 AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. — Meet Newt Gingrich, the human Roman Candle.
Gingrich and Mitt Romney on Monday staggered to the end of a brutal week of campaigning in Florida, one in which they took increasingly nasty and personal shots at one another. But the day marked a new level of angry and relentless attacks on Romney by Gingrich, the former House speaker from Georgia.
From morning until the last of five events at the end of the day, Gingrich branded Romney a liar and cheat, accusing him of suppressing religious liberty and trying to “buy the election.”
The strain of the nastiness showed on both men. Romney’s voice was hoarse as he spoke at his last of three events, in front of a few thousand people at The Villages, a massive retirement community 90 minutes northeast of Tampa. But in a sign of growing confidence and looseness as a candidate, Romney led the crowd in singing “America the Beautiful,” a tune he has mentioned on the campaign trail all month without breaking into song.
Romney didn’t mention Gingrich by name at his last event, after mocking and dismissing him earlier in the day.
Gingrich, on the other hand, launched himself into the Romney juggernaut with a level of fury and desperation certain to produce uneasiness in the GOP for its poisonous tone. Gingrich has vowed to carry his candidacy all the way to the GOP convention, but his actions Monday bore a wildness that could call his campaign’s longevity into doubt.
Gingrich continued to harp on a charge that Romney, during his time as Massachusetts governor, vetoed funds to expand the provision of kosher food for Bay State retirees. Gingrich said Romney has a “lack of concern for religious liberty.”
“Romney cut off kosher food to elderly Jews on Medicare,” Gingrich said, stretching the truth. And Gingrich also hit Romney for a 2005 decision as governor to require Roman Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception, which many Catholics believe is a form of abortion, to rape victims.
“You want a war on the Catholic church by Obama? Guess what: Romney refused to allow Catholic hospitals to have conscience in their dealing with certain circumstances,” Gingrich said.