NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Originally Published: Tuesday, December 13 2011, 10:38 AM
Newt can do it, one prominent Republican says.
Bucking the GOP’s conventional wisdom, Rudy Giuliani declared that Newt Gingrich would be a stronger general election candidate than Mitt Romney.
Giuliani said Monday that he believes the surging Gingrich, now leading most Republican national polls, can set aside his checkered past and take down President Obama.
“My gut tells me right now as I look at it that Gingrich might actually be the stronger candidate,” the former mayor of New York said on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.”
Romney, with his business background and more moderate views, has long been viewed as the more potent threat to make Obama a one-term President.
But his campaign has stumbled in recent weeks and Republican primary voters have taken a shine to the more conservative — and controversial — Gingrich.
“I think he can make a broader connection than Mitt Romney to those Reagan Democrats,” Giuliani said.
“You won't have this barrier of possible elitism that I think Obama could exploit pretty effectively,” Giuliani said.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has sold his potential electability as a selling point to Republican voters and needs the support of respected party voices to help make that case.
So it could prove damaging if more A-list Republicans follow Giuliani’s lead and praise Gingrich.
The Republican establishment has been wary of the former House speaker from Georgia, who has several suitcases’ worth of personal baggage — including multiple affairs, three marriages and an unpredictable temperament.
Giuliani’s praise came the same that day that former vice president Dick Cheney warned fellow his Republicans not to “underestimate” Gingrich.
“We came to Congress together at the same time and when Newt showed up, he said, ‘We can become the majority. We can take back the House of Representatives,’” Cheney said on CNN.
“We hadn't had the House since the 1940s. And initially, none of us believed it, but he was persistent,” Cheney said. “And he was tenacious. He kept it up and kept it up and kept it up.”
“And finally by '94, he's the newly elected speaker of the House of Representatives with a Republican majority,” said Cheney. “I wouldn't underestimate him.”
Gingrich and Romney traded verbal barbs Monday, but the former speaker sent a letter to his staff members Tuesday urging them to run a positive campaign.