Newt Says He and Perry Would Have Done Better Than Romney

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 20 2012 11:12 AM

Newt Says He and Perry Would Have Done Better Than Romney

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Newt Gingrich attends TIME's Person of the Year panel on November 13, 2012 in New York City

Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images.

Newt Gingrich sat down with the Huffington Post for an hour-long interview to talk about the GOP's current problems and what he thinks are the best ways to solve them. But just because the interview was framed as forward-looking doesn't mean there wasn't some time for a quick look back along with a heavy dash of second-guessing:

Gingrich, whose staying power in the Republican primary has surprised many observers, was Romney's most acerbic critic during that intraparty contest. He would go on to play the role of dutiful soldier during the general election, only to revert back to form a month and a half after the national contest ended with Romney losing handily.
"I think either [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry or I would have probably done better [against Obama]," said the former speaker, exhibiting a bit of his trademark braggadocio. Gingrich didn't go so far as to say he would have won outright as the Republican nominee. But even as he walked himself back momentarily, he couldn't help but offer another boast.
"[I]f Obama had pounded on my weaknesses as intensely as Romney, who knows what would have happened. So I don't want to be arrogant and say I would have done better," said Gingrich. "I would say my impression is that, from the Obama team's standpoint, the two candidates they found the hardest to cope with were Perry and me."
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It's a little difficult to trust Gingrich's hindsight, however, given the accuracy of his recent foresight. Before the November election he was predicting that Mitt Romney would win in a landslide.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.