Miami, Florida (CNN) - Perhaps it was the strong Cuban coffee.
At a campaign stop at the legendary Cafe Versailles in Miami's little Havana neighborhood, Newt Gingrich served up his toughest critique to date on Mitt Romney's claims on creating jobs.
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Gingrich seized on a new Romney campaign ad that defends the former Massachusetts Governor's record when he led the private investment firm, Bain Capital.
The ad states Romney and Bain created "thousands of jobs," not 100,000 jobs as the former Governor has previously claimed.
When asked about the ad, Gingrich laughed.
"He's now himself changing his claim," Gingrich said.
The former House Speaker called on Romney to produce records from his tenure at Bain to prove his claims.
"He's still not prepared to release any documents from Bain to prove anything," Gingrich said.
Last month, Romney told Time Magazine he and Bain created 100,000 jobs.
"And so I'll compare my experience in the private sector where, net-net, we created over 100,000 jobs. We created over 100,000 jobs," Romney told Time.
That jobs claim does not appear in the new Romney ad.
"Mitt Romney helped create and ran a company that invested in struggling businesses, grew new ones and rebuilt old ones, creating thousands of jobs," the spot states.
In an interview with CNN, Gingrich questioned Romney's claims.
"I'm saying that he misstated the facts," Gingrich said.
A new ARG poll finds Romney and Gingrich in a statistical dead heat for the upcoming South Carolina primary.
Gingrich, who has come under sharp criticism from conservative pundits for his attacks on Romney's Bain record, appeared to be pivoting away from the topic at events in South Carolina on Thursday.
But in his remarks to a packed crowd of Cuban Americans inside the Café Versailles, the former speaker defended his comments, saying the issue is fair game. The Florida primary comes just ten days after South Carolina.
"If he can't stand up today and defend his claim today, how is he going to stand up to Obama in the fall," Gingrich asked.
The former speaker pointed to a recent Washington Post fact-checking column that gave the 100,000 job claim "three Pinocchios."
Gingrich admits he has now abandoned his previous pledge to wage a positive campaign for the GOP nomination. But only, he says, because Romney attacked him first.
"You either unilaterally disarm and quit or you decide you're going to match," Gingrich told CNN.
A pro-Gingrich super PAC, Winning our Future, is now running ads featuring clips of a 30 minute documentary style video that attacks Romney and Bain.
Gingrich, who has previously said he would not tolerate any misstatements from the super PAC, gave no indication he has a problem with the "King of Bain" spots.
The same fact-checking column gave the anti-Romney flick "four Pinocchios."
A new Gingrich campaign ad compares Romney to former Massachusetts Democratic presidential candidates Michael Dukakis and John Kerry.
Gingrich brushed off the possibility the comparison could damage the GOP, in the event Romney becomes the party's nominee.
"The Obama people will figure out their own line of attack," Gingrich said.
"Let him explain his record. It's certainly not a conservative record," the former speaker added.
UPDATE: In a paper statement on Friday afternoon, Newt Gingrich called on Winning Our Future, a super PAC supporting his presidential bid, to edit or take down advertisements and a 30-minute documentary-style film critical of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital if they contained factual errors but he listed no specific problems. He then called on Romney to do the same.
"I am calling for the Winning Our Future Super-PAC supporting me to either edit its "King of Bain" advertisement and movie to remove its inaccuracies, or to pull it off the air and off the internet entirely," he said.
He said accuracy in advertising is a "two way street," and repeated his criticism of ads produced by the Romney campaign and their allies.
"Furthermore, I am once again calling on Governor Romney to issue a similar call for the Super-PAC supporting him to edit or remove its ads which have been shown to contain gross inaccuracies, something the Governor has thus far refused to do," he said in the statement.
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Romney is lying (again) about "job creation" numbers without any proof to backup Mitt's gross exaggeration.
It's telling, because it was the same kind of lie that got Romney in trouble the last time he tried to use it in the MA Senate race, which Romney lost...
"Mitt Romney helped create and ran a company that invested in struggling businesses, grew new ones and rebuilt old ones, creating thousands of jobs,"
Across the nation old car dealers are making same effort they crate more jobs
Romney claim just a “Pious Baloney”
Government can only create an environment that is conducive for entrpreneurs to assume risk of providing a product or service which is wanted by enough customers and modelled in such a way as to result in a profit for the risk-taking entrepreneur(s). What is so hard to understand about that???
So why are the majority of the Southern RED States with GOP Governors and low tax policy environments ranked as the poorest, least educated and have higher unemployment rates than the National average??
Private equity firms aren't in business to create jobs or save companies. They are in business to generate huge profits for their investors. If that means gutting a newly acquired business and sucking its pension fund dry, so be it. It is a classic amoral capitalistic enterprise which Darwin would have loved. Mitt Romney is an old style Darwinian capitalist. He would make his millions any way he could within loosely defined laws, and leave a bankrupt hull in his wake. Occasionally, an acquisition might survive and grow, but that is not the mission companies like Bain Capital are on. Mitt Romney fed off failure and, in the process, hundreds of thousands of families were devastated.
I would laugh too. Now matter how he dresses this up or attempts to cover it he participated in the firing of people and shipping of jobs overseas. How can he be a job creator when he profited from the exportation of jobs.
The GOP in it's current state is not good for America.
The Bain Capital Story will prove to have an army of skeletons, once he faces the general elections. I'm sure the Dems are rooting for him: knowing that he'll have no in depth moral support from the core. He'll threaten the eventual voter turnout. I think we'll have to see where the youth's votes go if you want a party that's going to survive in the long haul. I think it means something if the oldest runner in the field is able to attract the youngest votes. Isn't that Paul?
Newt, you will NEVER have the Cuban vote!
Romney wants to talk in "a quiet room", Newt wants Romney's record as a corporate raider out in the open. GO NEWT!!
Mitt is for Job shipper to CHINA and cheap labor....period. Read WSJ.
He destroyed more than he created, and Mass. was 47th in job creation when he was governor. He IS No. 1 at lying.
RMoney (RoMney) is a RINO.
Oh if only this reality show could continue with the same cast until the Republican Convention.
Please, please, don't any of these guys drop out until then.
Actually, i am ROFL, over Romney's "job creation" claims. They are simply ludicrous.
This question has immense weight and it's like an albatross aound Romney's neck.--–Why are Americans not endaring themselves to Mitt Romney? Your Answer-- Mitt Romney over the past years has changed his tunes to suit the situation. Just recently he's dropped the 100,000. jobs he claimed he created to thousand of jobs.Americans like HONESTY and I'm afraid Mitt will not put his pride away and will thus pay the penalty. Mitt is a GREAT PRETENDER and not a LEADER he claims. Time will tell soon.
Google BAIN CAPITAL/MISSION VISION STATEMENT. Scroll to Under Romney Bain Capital made millions from SC.
Romney meant he created over 100,000 jobs in OTHER countries.
He's a breeder, not a leader.
@Woman In California
Thank you for your kind words!
looks like right now the CLOWNS are the ones trying to get into office. Your party is imploding while the president and the Dema are looking on just laughing. I know that just HAS to get to you guys.....and when it comes time for "kiss and make up" in Tampa that might be even more awkward.
"So why are the majority of the Southern RED States with GOP Governors and low tax policy environments ranked as the poorest, least educated and have higher unemployment rates than the National average??"
I fail to see your linkage of cause and effect. However, I will ask you to consider the effects of geography. Most of the "southern red states" are large, geographically with large swaths of rural areas. It's far easier, logistically, to educate the masses where population is denser (no, that's not a pun). For the same reason, you see better medical care in the more densely populated urban areas of the Northeast.
We need to see Romney's birth certificate and proof he has only one wife.
Hey JohnR... Darwinian capitalist? I thought the same. But I'm not so sure Darwin would have delighted in such. I don't remember him studying parasites, but maybe...
If you think these questions about Romney's "business" experience is causing concern with the GOP primaries voters – wait until the general election when the moderates and independents decide elections. They aren't as easily fooled as the GOP base….actually no one is as easily fooled as the GOP base.
As GG said in the movie when asked, "...why do you want to wreck this company?"
"Because is wreckable!"
"I fail to see your linkage of cause and effect. However, I will ask you...." blah freaking blah, always the with nauseating Gingeritch style of pompous bloviation of half facts blended with faith-based facts leading to declarations of utter nonsense.
The point is dumb people (GOP base) get manipulated (by GOP) to vote against their interests.