LAS VEGAS, NV — After using the Occupy Wall Street playbook to attack Mitt Romney last month, Newt Gingrich is cribbing from the Tea Party’s anti-Obama files, identifying his rival as yet another co-conspirator in a vast leftist plot to destroy capitalism itself. Not a great sign for those Republican strategists who hope Romney’s Florida victory will quickly unite the party.
Addressing fired up supporters in a cowboy-themed Vegas bar on Friday, Gingrich offered a new depiction of Romney as a tool of George Soros who doesn’t respect the Founding Fathers and is little different from Obama himself.
Gingrich mentioned Soros, who gave an interview in Switzerland last week saying he expected Romney and Obama to pursue similar policies, more than a half dozen times in his speech. The billionaire financier received boos and jeers at almost every mention — one supporter shouted out “The Devil!”
“I do not believe the Republican party wants to nominate a George Soros-approved candidate,” he said, saying they need someone who “believes in the Declaration of Independence” rather than “somebody who is clearly against the American ideal.”
He added that: “This is a campaign of people power versus money power — you look at the George Soroses of the world you know who their candidate is.”
Gingrich also slammed Romney’s comments that he isn’t “concerned with the very poor” as un-American and at odds with the Republican platform.
“If you’re a genuine conservative you don’t say you don’t care about the poor,” he said. “We think it’s the left that has betrayed the poor because their safety net is actually a spider web and it traps people in dependency.”
And what would Romney do for the poor? According to Gingrich, he’d “raise the barrier against them getting a job, increase long term unemployment, because the truth is I don’t think he understands the free market.”
Even Newt’s prescription for defeating Romney is the same as for Obama: challenge him to an unmoderated Lincoln-Douglas debate where he’ll expose his secret liberalism for what it is.
And in case you were wondering if Gingrich is leaving anytime soon, Newt says “we’re going to contest this all the way to Tampa, and that’s why we’re going to win the nomination.”
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.