- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 27, 2012

Former Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich, looking rested and at ease before TV cameras, had some succinct advice Sunday morning for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, the head of the Democratic Governors Association, who often is mentioned as a possible 2016 candidate for the White House.

“Raise a lot of money,” a smiling Mr. Gingrich told the governor on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Mr. Gingrich, who dropped his own presidential bid earlier this month, showed flashes of why he briefly rose to the top of the Republican field, answering questions deftly and decisively, often squeezing in zingers while Mr. O’Malley stuck to Obama administration talking points.

“We have driven, under President Obama’s leadership, unemployment down to three-year lows,” the Maryland governor said. “Home foreclosures are lower now than they were when President Obama took office. We have put together … 26 months in a row of private-sector job growth.”

But Mr. Gingrich, who was one of the most aggressive critics of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney on the primary trail this year, focused his criticisms Sunday on the White House.

“This is an administration,” the former House speaker said, “that went from ‘Yes We Can’ to ‘Why We Couldn’t.’ “

Mr. Gingrich said that since his attacks earlier this year of Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor has done a good job of explaining and justifying his time as the head of private equity firm Bain Capital.

He added that he is “totally committed” to the Romney campaign.

“Given this economy, this level of unemployment, this level of deficits … it’s very likely [Mr. Romney] will win. And I think that you’ll see a pull away in September and October,” Mr. Gingrich told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory.

Mr. Gingrich said he had no regrets about the bruising GOP nomination battle.

“Look, this has been a brutal, tough process at least since 1800. And it hadn’t gotten any less brutal and — and probably shouldn’t. If you’re not tough enough to get to the presidency, you’re not tough enough to be president.”

Mr. Romney, the former speaker said, will wage a formidable campaign against the incumbent president.

“He’s tough. He’s much tougher than I would have thought. He’s prepared to do what it takes to win. In the end, he could organize and raise money on a scale … that can match Obama. I couldn’t. And I think he’s also a very good study. I think he really worked hard at understanding, when I beat him in South Carolina, what he’d have to do to come back in Florida,” Mr. Gingrich said.

Asked about a possible 2016 run, Mr. O’Malley said he hasn’t “thought that far” and is focused on helping to elect Democrats in 2012 races.



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