Gingrich: I'm 'a lot more conservative' than Romney
November 28th, 2011
08:26 AM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich: I'm 'a lot more conservative' than Romney

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich went after candidates who "adopt radically different positions" Monday, positioning himself as a "conservative alternative" to fellow contender Mitt Romney in the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

Speaking to Charleston, South Carolina radio station WSC, Gingrich said his record was stronger, and more consistent, than the record of the former Massachusetts governor.

"There needs to be a solid conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, and I'm the one candidate that can bring together a national security conservative, and economic conservative, and social conservative, to make sure we have a conservative nominee," said the former House Speaker.

He continued, "I wouldn't lie to the American people, I wouldn't switch my position for political reason. It's perfectly reasonable to change positions if you see new things you didn't see. Everybody does that, Ronald Reagan did that. If you go around and adopt radically different positions based on need for any one election, people will ask, 'What will you tell me next time?'"

Speaking for the first time about Sunday's high-profile endorsement from the New Hampshire Union Leader, Gingrich said it put his campaign in a new competitive mode in the Granite State.

"I think we can have a very serious race with Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, and people didn't think that was possible," Gingrich said.

As for the characterization of him as "by no means a perfect candidate" by the newspaper's editorial writer, Gingrich said no politician could achieve perfection.

"I think anybody who is honest about it says no person is ever perfect," Gingrich said. "I don't claim to be the perfect candidate, I just claim to be a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anybody else."

Gingrich's claim to be the most electable candidate counters the results of a recent CNN/ORC International poll, released last week. Forty percent of Republicans named Romney as the candidate with the best chance of beating President Barack Obama. Only 21% said Gingrich had the best chance of victory. The poll was taken Nov. 18-20.

Gingrich's radio interview kicked off a campaign swing through South Carolina, the first southern state to vote in the primary and caucus calendar. He will speak live with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King at 6 p.m. ET Monday from Charleston on "John King, USA."

Also see:

Bachmann says NBC president should have apologized for rude song

Bill Clinton says Gingrich surge a result of thoughtful positions

Huntsman says Union Leader endorsement highlights 'fluidity' of race

Cain: Confusion has led to drop in support

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • South Carolina
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Ha ha, that is funny. He advocated a government takeover of health insurance.

    November 28, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    By saying he is more 'conservative,' Newt must mean that he is more openly corrupt. Newt's work as a lobbyist, his 85 counts of ethics violations, and his misuse of huge amounts of money, make him an ideal conservative, and represents what republicans stand for.

    November 28, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  3. king

    lesson in order to grow this economy into the 21st century, we cannot allow stigmas to open our mind and see the challenges that will be facing us in the modernized future. conservatism has too much close minded functions to compete. we need a country that will do almost what it takes to set our future generations up for success. lt doesnt means drilling in every neughborhood for oil either. we need a future that we can live in. it doesnt means giving all the money to corporations, which we are finding out that when money goes up, it usually goes side ways over seas. we need to empower the people because afterall we are still a democratical country.

    November 28, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Gingrich's claim that he is "more conservative than Romney" should be good news to liberals. It could mean that the "Flip-Flop War" is about to begin. Romney and Gingrich are neck and neck on how many issues that they have argued for both sides of the discussion.

    November 28, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  5. Sandra, Atl

    Sure he is as long as no one questions his morality....or lack thereof. I cannot believe people are such hypocrites to believe this man has changed his stripes. #3 seems to know she had better watch out for him and sticks to his side like glue. The man sickens me and always will.

    November 28, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  6. Liz the First

    Newt, you say that like it was a good thing. being conservative means you're afraid of change, diversity, progress, basically everything that propels us forward as a country and a species. conservatism panders to the basest elements of the human psyche, fear, hate, bigotry, and ignorance. they constantly strive to go back to the dark ages. this short-sighted, morally bankrupt philosophy got us in the mess we're in now and another dose of it would be like giving another dose of arsenic to a poisoning victim starting to recover. the sooner we reject this philosophy, the better off we'll all be.

    November 28, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  7. yuri

    Let the bare-knuckle brawls begin w/ a bang. We wanna see smoking-hot and red-meat attacks flyin' around, like brickbats.

    November 28, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. shades

    the next President of these United States.... hopefully its not too late to bring us back from Obamas mess

    November 28, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. 1crusader

    Gingrich angered conservatives in the 90s for compromising with Bill Clinton, and just this year, he created a big hoopla that almost destroyed his campaign by calling the Ryan plan "right-wing social engineering", something that he back-tracked from..He, at one time, supported the "individual mandate", an idea that Republicans created and espoused; and that is now at the center of controversy of the president's health care plan He has flipped-flopped on that, as well as his position on our involvement in Libya, and a host of other issues..I think that flexibility can be a virtue to a certain extent, but for Gingrich to characterize himself as unwavering in conservative ideology isn't true.

    November 28, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  10. Keith in Austin

    Gingrich or Romney would be a major improvement to Obama! "The Chickens are coming home to roost" for the Absentee in Chief!!

    November 28, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    I will say this much for Mr. Gingrich, he does have a talent for finding the leading edge of issues before they come over they horizon. ( TRANSLATION: He has a talent for stirring up controversies. Most especially on issues that were politically irrelevant. )

    November 28, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. AmyAnne

    Gingrich is a divider and polarizer who, if elected, would most likely deliver grid-lock. Romney is a team player who will bring people together for the common good. They BOTH have changed positions over time, since neither one has a fossilized brain. But Romney is More trustworthy and has demonstrated solid family values. Romney is the best choice.

    November 28, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Tired of the nonsense

    Don't these people understand that being a conservative is a bad thing?

    November 28, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. stevie

    Gingrich or Romney would be a vast improvement over The Great Divider Obama, although neither is a true conservative by a long shot. Either way, since obama has nothing but failure to run on, and Americans are sick of the malaise he has brought to the country, Newt or Mitt will beat him handily.

    November 28, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |