Newt Gingrich has made his refusal to launch negative attacks on his GOP rivals a point of pride, but he didn’t hesitate to lay out why he thinks he’s a superior candidate at a speech this morning.
Channeling the oft-repeated comments of what Republican primary voters say they like about him, Gingrich held up his experience and debate skills to contrast himself with the other Republican hopefuls.
“If you stop and ask yourself: it’s October of 2012, President Obama is spending $1 billion beating up the Republican candidate [and] you get to the debates, who do you want to have debate Obama to draw clarity between the various lies they will be telling and the truth?” he asked. “I think most people end up thinking I’m probably a better debater than my friends are.”
To that, Gingrich got a loud ovation from the crowd of about 100 students and businesspeople.
Gingrich, speaking at Rivier College, had been asked by a student for “the one thing” that separates him from his Republican opponents. He listed three.
“The scale of the solutions that I propose – which are much bigger and much more comprehensive than any other person running for office,” he said.
And, he added, there is his experience.
“I’ve actually done it,” Gingrich said. “I’m the only person running this year who has actually helped create a national majority twice, in 1980 and 1994” (Gingrich was reelected to the House in 1980, but it’s not clear whether he was claiming a share of credit for Reagan’s victory, Senate Republicans winning a majority or both).
Of his record as House speaker, Gingrich rattled off a list of accomplishments.
“I passed entitlement reform, welfare, I passed a second reform, Medicare, which was done so well nobody noticed it,” he boasted. “AARP was for it, the Democrats didn’t oppose it.”
Gingrich also noted his pushing through a series of balanced budgets.
“Nobody else running comes anywhere close to that,” he said.