Newt calls Romney a liar, media freaks out

O'Donnell: I have to ask you, are you calling Mitt Romney a liar?
Gingrich:Yes.
O'Donnell: You're calling Mitt Romney a liar?
Gingrich: Well, you seem shocked by it!/ 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.


It's just like this pretense that he's a conservative. Here's a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in 'Romneycare,' puts Planned Parenthood in 'Romneycare,' raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses, appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats, and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he's magically a conservative.


I just think he ought to be honest with the American people and try to win as the real Mitt Romney, not try to invent a poll-driven, consultant-guided version that goes around with talking points, and I think he ought to be candid. I don't think he's being candid and that will be a major issue. From here on out from the rest of this campaign, the country has to decide: Do you really want a Massachusetts moderate who won't level with you to run against Barack Obama who, frankly, will just tear him apart? He will not survive against the Obama machine.


Some analysts are immediately going back to the 1988 campaign, when Bob Dole called out George H.W. Bush for the same offense, saying that Bush needed to "stop lying about my record." In case you forgot, Bush won that nomination.


As has been widely reported, Gingrich has been the victim of millions of dollars in Super PAC money from Mitt Romney allies in Iowa, contributing to his fall from front-runner status in the race as of mid-December.


Of course, the bigger question is: Have the ads or rhetoric employed by Romney been false? As has been said ad nauseam, Gingrich does have a ton of negative facts in his background that require little embellishment.


But then at the end of the interview, Gingrich said he'd still support Romney if he wins the nomination, prompting CBS' Bob Schieffer to say, "That is pretty strong stuff."


Gingrich: Well, I'll let you go and check his record, Bob. Look, you're a professional reporter. Did he support Reagan in the '80s or not? The answer is no. Did he vote as a Democrat for Paul Tsongas in '92 or not? The answer is, yes, he did. Did he say that he didn't want to go back to the Reagan-Bush years in '94? Yes, he did. Did he run to the left of Teddy Kennedy? Yes he did. Now, why is it politically incorrect to tell the truth?


You're saying in the traditional Washington pattern it's better to be sweet and honest and have this face of saying, 'Oh, gee, we want to be nice to each other no matter what happens to the American people.' I think the American people deserve the truth. I think the next couple of debates are going to be very interesting. I am prepared to defend every single thing I've said to you this morning. And candidly, I wish Mitt would just, you know, level with the American people, be who he really is, and let's have a debate about a Massachusetts moderate versus a real conservative.


Give it up to Newt for not being sweet and honest.

I always enjoy watching a political candidate criticize another when he believes he's been characterized inaccurately.

Somehow it's fine to call that other candidate out for his "misstatements" — but don't you dare say what normal people would say in that situation — that somebody is lying about them.

A reporter might question said candidate: "Are you saying he's a liar?" But generally the candidate backs away from that term, because somehow it's too incendiary.

Which is why it's hilarious to see the Huffington Post have a huge banner headline reading, "NEWT UNLOADS: ROMNEY'S A LIAR."

Then again, CBS News' Norah O'Donnell did a double-take when Newt Gingrich said Mitt Romney was lying about his record on CBS' Morning Show on Tuesday:

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