DOVER, N.H. — Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich may have just found the star of an attack advertisement against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
During a breakfast with supporters on Monday at a sprawling estate, a woman named Linda Teagan of Conway told Gingrich that before moving to the Granite State she had served as a Massachusetts legislator. Teagan, who served before Romney was governor, said not “enough people here understand Romney’s gun control and his support of an assault weapons ban.”
“I was in the Massachusetts Legislature and voted against that assault weapons ban and took a lot of grief for it,” Teagan said. “Romney was in support of it.”
Standing on a staircase inside the ornate home, Gingrich perked up. He garnered applause by responding, “I would love for you to do an ad for South Carolina.”
“It’s one thing if we do it.” he said. “But if somebody says look, ‘I was in Massachusetts and this is what it is like and this is what he did,’ I think it just increases the sort of baloney factor.”
His work to recruit Teagan comes as he is ramping up the heat on Romney — who he says is “remarkably non-conservative” — in response to suffering recent, negative attacks at the hands of pro-Romney super PACs. After vowing to stay positive, Gingrich said he will now fight back against Romney.
“You cannot compete with Romney if you are totally positive and he is running $3.5 million attack ads. It’s not possible. You don’t have to run attack ads, but you have to be prepared to draw a comparison,” he said.
Continuing, Gingrich said, “the minute you start drawing a comparison between a Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate in our party, the average Republican in this country looks at the state that produced Dukakis and Kerry, and it’s not very hard for them to imagine that, in fact, Romney came out of the same culture that produced Dukakis and Kerry.”
Gingrich told the supporters that he plans to release a YouTube video on Monday about “all the taxes [Romney] raised” — fees implemented while he was governor. Gingrich said that includes fees for commuting, teaching horse riding and registering guns.
“He quadrupled the cost of owning guns,” Gingrich said. “So if you believe in the Second Amendment rights, which will be a huge issue in South Carolina, here’s a guy who required you to register — pay a $100 a year for every gun you own.”
“The list is kind of amazing. It’s like they went through and they said, what is it you do with your life? I’ll charge you for it. Of course they were fees, they weren’t taxes,” he said.
As for filming a video for Gingrich, Teagan told reporters, “We’ll see.”
“We’re having a very productive day,” Gingrich said.