On his Saturday radio show on WABC in New York City, “Kudlow Report” host Larry Kudlow voiced his displeasure with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s attacks on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s association with Bain Capital.
At the tail end of his show, during a panel discussion with Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Steve Moore, Real Clear Politics editor and founder John McIntyre and American Enterprise Institute economic columnist James Pethokoukis, Kudlow charged that Gingrich did not pass the free-market capitalism test.
“Jimmy [Pethokoukis], I don’t care whether Newt wins in South Carolina or not,” Kudlow said. “He’s not going to get the nomination and I don’t even think he’s a capitalist. He’s still pecking away as he did in the last debate with this left-wing stuff. He’s saying that, ‘You know Bain Capital — it wasn’t a venture capitalist fund. It was a bad private equity fund.’ I’m sorry. He doesn’t pass the smell test for capitalism.”
And although some of Kudlow’s panelists said that was just Gingrich attempting to capitalize on one of Romney’s vulnerabilities, Kudlow said that was not justification to attack capitalism.
“What it tells me is Newt Gingrich is not a free-market capitalist,” he said. “I just had Sen. Jon Kyl, who has not made an endorsement. And Kyl however, rapped Gingrich by saying ‘Republicans on the campaign trail that sound like left-wing Democrats are wrong and we need to make a moral case for free-market capitalism.’ And that’s my beef against Gingrich — political opportunism Steve Moore, does not in any way, shape or form in my book, just speaking personally political opportunism does not justify Gingrich’s attacks on capitalism.”
One of the criticisms of the former House speaker has been his willingness to latch on to the new idea of the day, whether it has been supporting global warming activism or his health care initiativeswith Hillary Clinton. Kudlow warned there might not be a boundary to where that could end.
“And the hot idea tomorrow might be socialism and he’ll latch on to that,” Kudlow said. “Maybe Vladimir Putin takes over Russia and they declare 6.5 percent GDP and Newt Gingrich says, ‘We need to take a look at that. We should take a look at that because it’s all very interesting.’ I’m not going to concede an inch, not a millimeter on this point. Not a single nanosecond am I going to concede this. I will not forgive him for his attack on Bain Capital.”
And as of late, the CNBC host said Gingrich’s economic message has been lacking.
“Newt Gingrich at the Thursday debate never mentioned his 15 percent flat tax — never mentioned it,” Kudlow said. “They ask an economic question, he started about the Army Corps of Engineers and the Port of Charleston’s whatever the hell it is — never mentioned it and he sure isn’t mentioning gold.”