One almost gets the impression national Democrats would prefer Newt Gingrich to Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee in 2012.
In Virginia, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is mounting a campaign to tie Gingrich to George Allen, who is running against former governor Tim Kaine to reclaim his old Senate seat in Virginia. Digging up a sixteen year old quote in which Allen referred to himself as “Baby Newt,” Democrats are putting out press releases this week highlighting their similarities on Social Security (they both have supported private accounts).
“If George ‘Baby Newt’ Allen and Newt Gingrich had their way, Wall Street would be gambling away seniors’ Social Security benefits in the stock market,” DSCC spokesman Shripal Shah said in a statement. “The Allen-Gingrich scheme to privatize Social Security would be devastating for Virginia’s seniors.”
The other connection that Democrats are hoping to exploit: Allen’s post-political career as a high priced consultant for corporate interests. In Gingrich’s case, his work for Freddie Mac is causing his campaign the most trouble. For Allen, it’s his work in with the coal industry.
Both of these issues would be big election year attacks against Allen regardless of their connection to Newt of course. But it’s a testament to Gingrich’s brutal national polling that even as he’s hitting his peak in the GOP primary, Democrats are still rushing to attach his name to other candidates.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.