Newt Gingrich on Tuesday lit into Ron Paul over extremist newsletters he once published, saying that he would not vote for him if he were the Republican nominee.
Asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about tough attack ads Paul has been running against him, Gingrich slammed his rival, who he said “disowns ten years of his own letter, says he doesn’t really realize what was in it, had no idea that he was making money on, that it was racist, anti-Semitic.”
“He’s attacking me for serial hypocrisy and he spent ten years out of earning money off a newsletter that had his name that he didn’t notice,” he said. “He’s got to come up with some very straight answers to get somebody to take him seriously. Would I be willing to listen to him? Sure. I think the choice of Ron Paul or Barack Obama would be a very bad choice for America.”
Gingrich flatly said “no” when asked if he would vote for Paul himself.
“There will come a morning people won’t take him as a serious person,” Gingrich said, saying he was a “reasonable candidate” as a protest vote.
“As a potential president, a person who thinks the United States was [responsible] for 9/11, a person who believes, who wrote in his newsletter, that the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 might have been a CIA plot, the person who says it doesn’t matter if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon — you look at Ron Paul’s record of systemic avoidance of reality, his ads are about as accurate as his newsletter.”
Gingrich, who has taken heat in the past for criticizing fellow Republicans too harshly, most notably Paul Ryan, acknowledged he might get in trouble for his hard line against Paul.
“I think Ron Paul’s views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American,” he said. “Now, that’s going to be very controversial, but I just suggest to people, read the newsletters.”
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.