Newt Gingrich has made a new enemy.
Last week, in response to the barrage of negative ads from a pro-Romney super PAC against him, Newt Gingrich said, “I’ve been Romney-boated.” The comment was a reference to the ads by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth which falsely claimed Kerry had lied about his war record in Vietnam and contributed to George W. Bush’s reelection. As Newt tries to fight back against the negative ads in Iowa, his comparison implies that, well, the Swift Boat ads weren’t true.
One person who did not appreciate the allusion is John O’Neill, the swift-boat captain who led the anti-Kerry movement. This makes sense, since Gingrich is basically saying that the ads against him are as spurious as those O’Neill launched against Kerry. So now O’Neill has harsh words for Newt as well.
“To me, it reflects Gingrich’s very cynical hypocrisy, which he shares with Kerry,” O’Neill told National Review Online. “Kerry is an extremely cynical guy whose policies change like a kaleidoscope, and Newt Gingrich is just the same. He’s a constantly changing kaleidoscope with one policy idea after another.”
O’Neill says his dislike of Newt goes back to his handling of the House of Representatives in the 1990s. After comparison’s to Kerry, O’Neill said, “I would be really proud to win or lose with any of the other Republican candidates. But I would be ashamed if Gingrich were the candidate.”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.