With a new Quinnipiac poll showing Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in a statistical dead heat in Florida, the former Speaker is again ramping up attacks from the Left against his top rival. Though his supportive SuperPAC is focusing on a fair area of Romney criticism (one that the candidate himself can't complain too loudly about, given his own record), Newt is once again resorting to liberal arguments to bloody Romney up. Gingrich is running a new Spanish-langugage radio ad that brands the former Massachusetts governor as "anti-immigrant," a familiar slur employed by Democrats against Republicans who embrace legal immigration. This cheap move compelled Marco Rubio to come to Romney's defense for the second time in 24 hours:
Sen. Marco Rubio scolded Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign over a Spanish-language radio ad that accuses rival Mitt Romney of being “anti-immigrant” “This kind of language is more than just unfortunate. It’s inaccurate, inflammatory, and doesn’t belong in this campaign,” Rubio told The Miami Herald when asked about the ad. “The truth is that neither of these two men is anti-immigrant,” Rubio said. “Both are pro-legal immigration and both have positive messages that play well in the Hispanic community.” Rubio’s sharp rebuke comes a day after he subtly corrected Gingrich for comparing Romney to former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, branded by conservatives as a turncoat who left the party before Rubio beat him in 2010. The criticisms from someone of Rubio’s stature in the Republican Party comes as polls show a near-even race, albeit with Gingrich surging.
Rubio plans to stay neutral in the race. He’s a potential running mate whom both candidates would love to have on the ballot. And he’s gaining iconic status among many national Republicans who see him as a face of the future in a nation that’s growing more Latino...When Gingrich’s radio spot described Romney as “the most anti-immigrant candidate,” Rubio and others felt he not only crossed the line – he was adopting liberal criticisms.
I, for one, am looking forward to Gingrich's gripes about Romney's "nasty," "personal," and "inaccurate" attacks in tomorrow's debate. But Democrat-style race-baiting wasn't enough for Newt; he also hit "a new low" by adopting "Marxist rhetoric." Those quotes come from well-known Romney critic Phil Klein of the Examiner. What's gotten Phil's goat? Language like this about investment income:
When asked about Romney's position on immigration, Gingrich said that deporting all undocumented immigrants is unrealistic. "You have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and making $20 million for no work, to have some fantasy this far from reality," Gingrich said.
Recapping: Investment income is now illegitimate, but making seven-figures as a lobbyist/"historian" for a federal mortgage giant is a patriotic triumph. My manual of approved "true conservative" lexicon and behavior is being revised by the minute. Newt simply cannot resist embracing any criticism of his opponent du jour that pops into his head, regardless of how it affects the movement or the party. With that in mind, here's Newt ripping Ronald Reagan for inadequate message discipline:
Gingrich scorned Reagan’s speeches, which moved a party and then a nation, because “the president of the United States cannot discipline himself to use the correct language.” In Afghanistan, Reagan’s policy was marked by “impotence [and] incompetence.” Thus Gingrich concluded as he surveyed five years of Reagan in power that “we have been losing the struggle with the Soviet empire.” Reagan did not know what he was doing, and “it is precisely at the vision and strategy levels that the Soviet empire today is superior to the free world.”
Read the whole thing to discover Newt's contemporaneous thoughts on Reagan's anti-Soviet policies (highlights: "weak," "inadequate," "dangerous," "pathetic"). To be fair, it's not like Mitt Romney has been a Reaganite champion either -- just watch the video we posted this morning. Presented with a real opportunity to run to Newt's right and curry favor with the base, Romney's hitting all the right notes. And by "right notes" I mean "tone-deaf fumbling:"
Mitt Romney attacked his GOP presidential rival Newt Gingrich over what has to date been one of Gingrich’s most effective debate methods — going after the moderators and the media for questions he deems inappropriate. “It’s very easy to talk down a moderator,” Romney said Wednesday on Fox News. “The moderator asks a question and then has to sit by and take whatever you send to them. And Speaker Gingrich has been wonderful at attacking the moderators and attacking the media.”
Siding with the MSM moderators over conservatives. Yeah, that's the ticket, Mitt. As I sighed earlier: What a field.
UPDATE - Amidst heavy criticism, Team Newt has pulled the "anti-immigrant" ad. Good. The conservative Club for Growth meanwhile, is laying into Gingrich for disparaging investment income:
"Newt Gingrich says he’s a student of history, but he must have gone to the same school as Barack Obama if he is reaching the same wrong conclusion about economic freedom," said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “Mitt Romney made his money from putting capital to work to create jobs and economic growth. We should encourage, not criticize, such behavior. Newt Gingrich’s comment that Mitt Romney made money from ‘no work’ is ridiculous and continues his poisonous attack on economic freedom."
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography