(Photo: Reuters / Jason Redmond)
New Jersey Republican Gov. Christ Christie has stepped up attacks on GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s newest challenger: Newt Gingrich.
“Speaker Gingrich has never run anything,” he told FLDemocracy2012.com, a Scripps Howard website, on Thursday. “And he’s been a legislator. I have to tell you, I don’t think being a legislator is the best calling card. Look at the guy we have in the White House now. He never ran anything and was a legislator.”
He added that Romney, whom he endorsed in October, does have executive experience.
When questioned about Gingrich’s rise in the polls, Christie dismissed it saying that the former speaker of the house is just the “newest flavor of the two weeks.”
“These Gingrich poll numbers are as solid as the Cain numbers were, as solid as the Perry numbers were, as solid as the Bachmann numbers were,” he said, according to FL Democracy2012.com.
Christie has picked up his campaign schedule, with a planned visit to Iowa next week as well as hosting a fundraiser for Romney in New Jersey.
Romney, meanwhile, has downplayed Christie’s attacks, saying to CNN that the New Jersey governor’s comments were “hardly an attack.”
He did, however, go on to essentially restate Christie’s comments in his own words.
"My view is that Newt Gingrich and I have very different backgrounds," Romney said on Fox News Friday. "His background is very valid, of course, but he's been in politics almost all his life ... I think that America needs to have a leader who's run things."
Gingrich has portrayed himself as the alternate candidate to Romney, saying that he is more conservative than the Massachusetts governor. Romney, as a result, has portrayed Gingrich as the career politician type who will bring no change to Washington. In a CNN interview, Romney said Gingrich’s past is not presidential material. He also scoffed at the fact that Gingrich has gained confidence that he can win the election based on his new poll numbers.
"There's this funny thing in America, it's called an election. You have to win the election and to win the election you have to earn it, you have to get out and campaign," Romney said. "Self-aggrandizing statements about polls are not going to win elections."
Christie himself was asked by many prominent conservatives to consider running in 2012. Despite his popularity among the conservative base, he declined, saying that he had to finish the job he started in New Jersey.
This statement, however, did not stop the rumor mill from propagating whispers of a potential Christie vice presidency.
"If it is offered, I'd make the decision I thought was best for me and my family and the country," he said. But, "I cannot imagine it happening. I think someone else will be running with Gov. Romney. Not me," he said according to the Florida website.
A new poll from Insider Advantage put Gingrich far out ahead of the other GOP candidates in the Florida Jan. 31 primaries, leading Romney 41 percent to 17 percent.