Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich clearly shocked his CBS interviewers this morning. The network’s White House correspondent, Norah O’Donnell, and her colleague Bob Schieffer asked about Newt’s recent suggestions that Mitt Romney is being duplicitous in claiming he has nothing to do with the Super PAC ads bombarding Newt in Iowa. Does that in effect mean Newt is accusing Romney of being a liar, O’Donnell wanted to know.
Gingrich’s response was blunt: “Yes,” he said.
O’Donnell looked stunned.
“You’re calling Mitt Romney a liar?” she repeated.
“Well, you seem shocked by it,” replied Gingrich.
“Why are you saying he is a liar?” O’Donnell followed up.
“Because this is a man whose staff created the PAC, his millionaire friends fund the PAC, he pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC - it’s baloney. He’s not telling the American people the truth.”
Newt went on to add that he’s also calling Romney a liar because he’s not presenting his true moderate persona to the American people, and is misleading them with “a poll-driven, consultant-guided version that goes around with talking points.”
Moments later, after announcing he’d nonetheless support Romney for President were he to win the GOP nomination, Schieffer was clearly befuddled.
“But Mr. Speaker, what you’re saying is ‘Folks, Barack Obama is so bad that we’d be better off electing a bald-faced liar to the presidency, somebody that we would never know if he was telling the truth.’ That is pretty strong stuff,” he said.
“Well, I’ll let you go and check his record, Bob. Look, you’re a professional reporter,” Gingrich replied, before reeling off a list of Romney’s flip-flops.
The whole exchange lasted several minutes. You can watch it below. The relevant part begins around 3:00.