(Photo: REUTERS / Andrew Harrer)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was yet again criticized for his “flip-flops” Sunday, when President Barack Obama’s campaign adviser, Robert Gibbs, said the former Massachusetts governor is a “political gymnast” who changes positions just to get elected.
“I think the reason that Mitt Romney… hasn’t caught fire is if you hear what he says today, it’s likely to change tomorrow,” Gibbs, former White House press secretary, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
Calling Romney “a political gymnast of the highest order,” Gibbs said, “He will say virtually anything to get elected to any office.”
One thing is certain in this Republican primary, Gibbs added, “If you don’t like where Mitt Romney is today, just wait until tomorrow. It’s a little bit like the weather.”
Gibbs also criticized Romney’s rival Newt Gingrich, but acknowledged his recent surge in national and Iowa polls.
“I got to say I think a lot of people in – inside the Beltway and outside the Beltway woke up today to a very different political environment and one in which Newt Gingrich is – is very much for real,” he said, adding, “Again, I think there’s great skepticism.”
The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll shows that Romney’s support has dropped to 16 percent, even as former House Speaker Gingrich is leading with 25 percent. Romney, from the Mormon faith, has skipped events of Christian conservative voters in Iowa while concentrating on New Hampshire.
However, even in New Hampshire the NBC News poll puts his support at 39 percent, down from 45 percent in October, while Gingrich’s support has soared to 23 percent, up from just 4 percent in October.
Now, after the exit of Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, announced Saturday, Gingrich can further surge in polls by consolidating the non-Romney vote.
Romney’s campaign has reacted to the criticism, saying Obama wants to divert voters’ attention away from the issue of unemployment.
“President Obama has presided over an unprecedented 34 straight months of 8 percent or higher unemployment, so it’s no wonder his campaign is desperate to distract from his failed economic record,” Romney’s spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement. Saul said Obama didn’t want to face Romney. “Rather than focusing on job creation and helping the middle class, President Obama and his campaign are focused on attacking Mitt Romney.”
However, the condemnation by Gibbs strengthens attacks by Romney’s rival GOP candidates on his flip-flops.
Republican candidate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s campaign has made two ads highlighting inconsistencies in Romney’s positions on issues including abortion, the Second Amendment, healthcare and taxes. One of the ads compares Romney to a “lubricated weather vane.”
“I think when you are on too many sides of the issues of the day, when you don’t have that core, when there’s that element of trust out there … I think that becomes a problem, and I think it makes you unelectable against Barack Obama,” said Huntsman, who is also a Mormon, on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last month.