Do Democrats have a preference on who should win the Florida GOP primary?
A possible hint: six days away from the hotly contested primary, two top Florida Democrats held a conference call Wednesday seeking to inject Mitt Romney’s months-old remarks on housing foreclosures back into the news cycle. And even though Newt Gingrich holds an edge in recent polls, the only time his name came up was as a pretext to attack Romney.
“Ironically, Governor Romney accuses Newt Gingrich of cashing in on Freddie Mac,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith. He called this “blatant hypocrisy” from the former Bain Capital executive and “one more indication that Governor Romney will say or do whatever to get elected.”
Last October, Romney told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.”
On the call, Smith and state Rep. Scott Randolph quoted that line several times. The comments aren’t helpful to Romney, especially because Florida has seen nearly 1 in 138 homes foreclosed on, one of the highest rates in the nation, according to a November 2011 estimate.
If put into effect, “Mr. Romney’s feelings about the Florida housing market,” Randolph said, “would tremendously hurt our economy for years to come.”
It’s unclear what the immediate effect of reigniting this attack on Romney would be other than to help the former Speaker next Tuesday, for whom a victory would be a significant boost in the nomination fight. And conventional wisdom has it that Gingrich’s national approval numbers are so low that Dems would rather run against him than Romney in the general election.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.