So, Newt Gingrich is a vampire? Over the course of two segments on Monday's Good Morning America, ABC's journalists goaded Gingrich to repeat his attacks on the "dishonest" Mitt Romney, while suggesting that the former Massachusetts governor is getting ready to "drive a stake" through the ex-Speaker's heart.
Playing up the fight between the two candidates, George Stephanopoulos pushed Gingrich, "You've made it clear again and again and again that you think Mitt Romney is a dishonest man... Will you still pledge to endorse him if he defeats you, and can you be effective, an effective campaigner for the ticket after what you said about him?"
The GMA co-anchor also highlighted gloom in the Gingrich campaign, noting, "But, what a difference a week makes. Last Monday, you were on this program surging, coming out of South Carolina. This week, you come in plunging in Florida. Is it too late for you to recover and win Florida?"
In a previous segment, reporter Jon Karl used unusually harsh language in describing the inter-party battle, declaring, "...No matter what happens in tomorrow's primary, Romney will continue hammering away at Gingrich until he's driven a stake through the heart of the Gingrich campaign."
A partial transcript of the January 30 Stephanopoulos segment, which aired at 7:09am EST, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Front page of USA Today this morning shows that Romney is doing much better than you against President Obama. He's basically tied with President Obama in the key swing states. But President Obama opens up a seven-point lead over Rick Santorum, a seven-point lead over Ron Paul. And a 14-point lead over you. Why should a Republican on the fence look at you and say I may like Newt Gingrich I may even agree with him on many things, but he can't beat President Obama?
GINGRICH: For the same reason in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was down 30 point against Jimmy Carter. Conservatives looked and said, "you know, I'd rather have a guy that can go into the debate with a clear position than some guy who can't even distinguish between Romneycare and Obamacare. I think it's going to be very hard for Mitt Romney with funding from Goldman Sachs, with the statement today from George Soros, how is he going to explain to the country that he's going to be different? I think the fact is that a liberal- we nominated a moderate in 1996. He got beaten badly. We nominated a moderate in 2008. He got beaten badly. I know the establishment would love to nominate Romney and they want to make him electable, so that they can beat him in the fall. But, I think the record of 1996 and 2008, you better have a conservative who can really draw a wide gap.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr- Mr. Speaker-
GINGRICH: And Romneycare and Obamacare are really about this far apart.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Speaker, you've made it clear again and again and again that you think Mitt Romney is a dishonest man. You think he's lied about you and your record in this campaign, has lied about you and your record. Will you still pledge to endorse him if he defeats you, and can be effective, an effective campaigner for the ticket after what you said about him?
GINGRICH: George, he misled the country which the debate on his own voting pattern. He mislead the country on a whole range of things. We just found out he had 23 foreign assets he didn't even list in disclosure forms. I mean, go down the list. I'm not talking about me. I'm saying the same thing that Mike Huckabee said. The same thing that John McCain said the last time. The same thingle Rudy Giuliani said this fall. I think he has a real challenge-
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, will that keep you from endorsing him in the fall if he wins? Will that keep you from endorsing him if he wins?
GINGRICH: -of being candid and direct. That's a problem. No, I think re-electing Obama is a disaster. But I certainly endorse the Republican nominee. But I think Mitt Romney will have a very, very hard time trying to differentiate himself. And I think that's what the George Soros message is this morning. Speaker, thank you for your time