It is on.
Rocked on his heels by his decisive loss to Newt Gingrich on Monday night, Mitt Romney came out firing against his chief rival for the GOP nomination for president this morning in Tampa, calling him "highly erratic" and demanding that Gingrich show his "work product" for what he did for mortgage giant Freddie Mac, and that he give back the money he made while working for the D.C.-based group. He also blasted the former House Speaker for criticizing Romney's health care reform plan in Massachusetts, while previously supporting the individual mandate aspect of that plan.
"He's hitting the post almost like a pinball machine from item to item, which is highly erratic," Romney said. "That does not suggest a healthy stable thoughtful course, which is normally associated with leadership."
Romney made the comments at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk hotel after spending an hour in a roundtable discussion with a group of Tampa Bay area residents who have been adversely affected by the foreclosure crisis in Florida.
Romney used that discussion as an opportunity to bash Gingrich for his $30,000-a-month consulting gig with Freddie Mac, a role that Gingrich has consistently tried to play down, at one point saying he was simply a "historian" for the company.
"We ought to be able to see what he told them," Romney began when talking to dozens of reporters after his sit-down. "I hope what he told them was, with housing prices going way off into a historical trend, with lending way out of normal range, with so-called liar loans and interest-earning loans that this was a crisis about to erupt that would be devastating to the economy, to American families, that there should be a dramatic shift in the policies of Freddie Mac as well as to policies in government. I didn't hear that nationally, I didn't hear those warnings to the nation. He should have, if he was working inside this industry, providing counsel to them, he should have been providing that advice to them, and communicated that to the nation."