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Newt Gingrich Walking Back His Attacks On Romney Over Bain Capital

It sounds like Newt Gingrich is feeling the heat from his recent attacks on Mitt Romney over the history of Bain Capital:

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — 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 disingenousness  about his conservatism and lay off the corporatist versus the free market. I think it’s nuanced,” Dean Glossop, an Army Reservist from Inman, S.C., said.

“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.”

(…)

Gingrich had started backing away from the Bain criticism from his first event in South Carolina on Wednesday morning, here fresh off a far-back fourth place finish in New Hampshire and hoping to revive his candidacy in the Palmetto State.

Gingrich concentrated most of his speech on Obama’s policies and promised to repeal Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank overhaul of the financial regulatory system and the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting standards law.

Gingrich swiped at Romney, but spoke only broadly about his opposition to “crony capitalism” and never mentioned Bain Capital by name.

Or, as Gilda Radner once put it:

My guess is that someone got to Newt and told him he needed to shut his mouth before he ended up destroying the party’s inevitable nominee before the General Election race even starts.

Update: Or, maybe not:

Newt Gingrich is calling a report that he regrets attacking Mitt Romney on his Bain career “misleading.”

Spokesman R.C. Hammond says Gingrich never said he had crossed the line, and maintained that Romney’s decision to base his candidacy in large part on his record at Bain and Company made his work their fair game.

Stay tuned

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    This is made even more hilarious/pathetic by the fact that Gingrich is actually _right_ about Bain and its ilk. “Creative destruction” only works if other companies come along in the aftermath of the destruction to rebuild, better & stronger. But 90s era VC types were only ever interested in the ‘destruction’ part, because that was the only part they could figure out how to make money on. They were (and are, ’cause they’re all still around) nothing more or less than parasites, dragging down our economy and contributing nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. Even a Democrat like Steve Rattner, who served as Obama’s Car Czar. has said twice in as many days that the rhetoric being directed against Bain is over the top.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  3. PD Shaw says:

    Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally

    Damn, that Obama is just plain evil.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  4. Modulo Myself says:

    My god, Romney and co. really are going to make the base go through with sucking up 24/7 to the financial system’s greatest hits of the past 30 years, aren’t they? I don’t know what’s worse–the contempt of the CEO-class for those who see through them, or the masochism of the rank-and-file who need this as validation.

    And when that won’t work, you get this: ““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.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. Modulo Myself says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You can’t hypothetically grasp why a guy like Steve Rattner might have solidarity with the world of private equity?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  6. mattb says:

    In a way — bigger than the election — it will be too bad if Newt does back off.

    What was most interesting to me about what he was saying was how Catholic it was. Which I think might also tie into the powers that be telling him to button it. Not only was Newt creating a real problem for Romney (which isn’t going away), but his line of attack on the “spirit of capitalism” could have ended up splitting Catholic and Evangelicals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Over the top? Really?

    Interviewer: Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?

    Romney: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like.

    Ahhhh Republican dogma. There’s no class in America, but we all have class envy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. @Modulo Myself:

    Yea when he was giving 15 minute talks on MSNBC this fall about how the Occupy movement was right about the income inequality issue, Rattner was clearly in “solidarity with the world of private equity”

    Good lord how utterly silly

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. David M says:

    I’m pretty sure the Gingrich PAC released the longer version of the ad today on the web, so walking the attack back today doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. giantslor says:

    My guess is it was Limbaugh who got to Gingrich. Limbaugh is a Gingrich supporter, but he said the Bain attacks made him uncomfortable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. murray says:

    “Stay tuned”

    I pass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. @giantslor:

    Wanna bet a certain radio host has a big wad of cash in Bain Capital management?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  13. Modulo Myself says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Just for kicks, I googled ‘Steve Rattner Occupy Wall Street’ and came up with this:

    Rattner faults the government for the inequality. First, he says taxes are too low and unfair. He calls for a return to the tax rates of the 90′s. Second, he says the government is spending an increasing amount on entitlements which is squeezing the amount of money that can be spent on infrastructure and other investments.
    As for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, Rattner says the protesters do have “legitimate concerns.” Whether Wall Street recognizes it or not is another question. However, Rattner is a big supporter of Wall Street and the financial services industry as a whole. “Financial services is one of the great success stories of American business,” he says, pointing out the number of jobs the industry employs.

    What exactly was silly about saying Steve Rattner shows solidarity with Wall Street?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  14. An Interested Party says:

    I’m sure that the President is quite happy that Gingrich started something that, whether Newt is now walking back or not, the President’s reelection campaign will be more than happy to finish…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. jukeboxgrad says:

    Even a Democrat like Steve Rattner, who served as Obama’s Car Czar. has said twice in as many days that the rhetoric being directed against Bain is over the top.

    Here’s part of what he said:

    he [Romney] did it in a perfectly honorably, appropriate way

    Simple question: how does he know? Mitt and Bain are pointedly refusing to disclose details about the deals Mitt made. So aside from blind faith and the personal bias of being a PE guy himself, what’s the factual basis for Rattner’s claim? Is it simply impossible, by definition, for any PE deal to be something other than “perfectly honorably [and] appropriate?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. DRS says:

    No one has more mis-represented Romney’s career at Bain than Romney himself with all his talk on creating jobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. Fiona says:

    “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.”

    Wow–the Obama Made Me Do It Defense. Can you see me rolling my eyes?

    If Newt does walk back his criticism of Bain, it will be because he concludes it might affect his bottom line. Those hefty speaking contracts and historian gigs might dry up if he goes too far in his attack on vulture venture capitalism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0