Knives are out for Mitt Romney heading into Iowa caucuses

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is taking heated criticisms from nearly all of his Republican opponents heading into Tuesday evening’s Iowa caucuses.

Romney’s GOP rivals have knocked him all day for being inconsistent as they jockey for position before the first in a series of contests nationwide that will decide which candidate will face off against President Barack Obama in this year’s general election.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called Romney a “liar” during a Tuesday morning interview on CBS’s “The Early Show.” Gingrich has seen a recent drop in the polls after enjoying a brief period as the Republican front-runner. Gingrich was hit with millions of dollars in attack ads while he was atop the polls.

The former speaker accuses Romney of being behind the political action committee (PAC) ads that likely contributed to his fall off the top of the polls.

“This is a man whose staff created the PAC, and his millionaire friends fund the PAC,” Gingrich said. “He pretends he has nothing to do with the PAC. It’s baloney. He’s not telling the American people the truth.”

Gingrich said this incident with Romney is “just like his 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 and wants the rest of us to believe he’s somehow magically a conservative,” Gingrich said. “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.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who has seen a last-minute spike in the polls and is considered a serious contender to possibly win the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday evening, railed against Romney on Tuesday over his health care record.

“This has been a debate about health care. That’s what the behemoth of government, the signature issue, is: Obamacare,” Santorum told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We cannot put up a presidential candidate who is in basically in the same place as Obama on government-run health care.”

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann nailed Romney over health care, too. “Mitt Romney,” Bachmann said at a Monday night campaign event, “is the chief author and the creator — the only governor in the history of the United States to create a socialized medicine program for his state, called ‘Romneycare.'”

Texas Rep. Ron Paul jabbed at Romney with a new one-minute radio ad he launched hours before the Iowa caucuses. “Mitt Romney can’t fight against Obamacare because he supported the same mandates and government takeovers as governor of Massachusetts,” an announcer reads. “Romney can’t stand up against more bailouts because he supported them. He can’t lead the charge to shrink the government because he has grown it.”

“Romney’s record is liberal and putting him up against Obama is a recipe for defeat,” the announcer continues. “That candidate who can beat Obama is Dr. Ron Paul.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry took more generalized shots at Romney on Tuesday, attacking Romney over how conservative he really is. After saying he thinks Republican primary voters are going to pick him over Romney because he’s a “true, authentic conservative” and Romney is a “conservative of convenience,” Perry told the Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly that he thinks Romney is an “insider from Wall Street.”

Even former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has the knives out for Romney. Huntsman, who is skipping the Iowa caucuses to focus on New Hampshire, is criticizing Romney as a political insider and an establishment candidate. “How can you bring change to Congress and Capitol Hill when you got half of Congress supporting you?” Huntsman said. “No way, no how. How can you fix the banks on Wall Street if you’re the number one recipient of contributions from Wall Street?”

“He’s a good guy,” Huntsman adds. “I respect him, but we’re two different people.”

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has ripped Romney from the other side, too. The DNC has attacked Romney for being what it considers too conservative, and for being an inconsistent flip-flopper.

“Romney’s entire candidacy has been a charade … he’s saying and doing anything to get elected,” DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said at a Monday press conference, adding that she thinks Romney is “a corporate buyout specialist who fired workers, outsourced [jobs] … and deliberately bankrupted companies.”

Romney hasn’t responded to all of these criticisms, but he has brushed off some. “Well I don’t know why he is so angry,” Romney said in response to Gingrich’s criticisms during a Tuesday interview on Laura Ingraham’s radio show. “I think he is mad for a lot of reasons, but I think he is a good guy, I like his wife Callista, I wish him well. This is going to be a long campaign and you know I think we are going to plow ahead.”

“By the way, of course the Super PAC that is working for me, I know the people there. Of course I helped raise money for it. But the law says I can’t tell them what ads to run or when to run them or where to run them,” Romney said. “And if they make mistakes or say things that are wrong, I decry that. Don’t say things that are dishonest.”

In response to conservatives pointing out that Romney called himself a “moderate” with “progressive” views during his 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial bid, Romney said he’s become more conservative as the years have gone on. “I have learned from experience,” Romney told Ingraham. “I’ve become more conservative as I have lived a little longer, as I’ve spent more time in business, as I’ve actually spent time as governor. When I came in as governor I found I had an agenda in front of me that was very different than I might have expected — a $3 billion budget shortfall. I had to go through and eliminate programs. By the way, I cut state employment.”

“My four years as governor there were fewer people working for my administration, my government, the agencies that reported to me, than when I began,” Romney added. “I became more conservative as time has gone on. I’m not embarrassed to say that it happens to be the truth.”

Romney’s campaign hasn’t responded to The Daily Caller’s requests for comment on these criticisms, or for an interview with the former Massachusetts governor.

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