Gingrich criticizes outside group supporting him
DUNCAN, S.C. - January 13, 2012 (WPVI) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is calling on an outside group that supports him to edit "inaccuracies" from a film it produced attacking Mitt Romney's tenure as a venture capitalist.
The move comes as Gingrich, as well as other candidates, face pressure from an array of Republicans and conservatives to scale back their criticism of Romney's business record before it undermines the party heading into a general election with President Barack Obama.
Gingrich said Friday that he would continue to raise questions about Romney's tenure as the head of Bain Capital, a private equity firm, and Romney's experience as Massachusetts governor.
But he said he wants Winning Our Future, a political action committee run by his allies, to cut inaccuracies from a 28-minute film it released this week assailing Romney's record at Bain. Shorter segments from the film, called "King of Bain", are also running on television in South Carolina ahead of the state's Jan. 21 primary.
"I am calling on them to either edit out every single mistake or pull the entire film," Gingrich said Friday after opening a campaign headquarters in Orlando, Fla.
The film assails Romney for "reaping massive rewards" for himself and investors while running Bain, at the expense of "tens of thousands" of workers who lost their jobs as a result.
Gingrich did not say what in the film was inaccurate and should be removed. But he pointed to a fact-check story in the Washington Post that said there was no evidence that Romney and Bain were responsible for the job losses cited in the film, and quoted people interviewed for the movie who said their words were taken out of context.
PACs are legally prohibited from coordinating directly with campaigns, though many are staffed by longtime supporters of the candidates.
The former House speaker has blamed what he calls negative and misleading ads from a pro-Romney PAC for eroding his support in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses. He finished a disappointing fourth in Iowa, as well as in New Hampshire, and now sees South Carolina as his last chance to slow Romney's march toward the GOP nomination.
On Friday, Gingrich renewed his previous calls for Romney to disavow misleading ads from a PAC supporting him, called Restore Our Future.
"The American people deserve a robust debate and full comparison of the plans and records of the people who are asking for their vote. They also deserve assurances that the information they are hearing is accurate," Gingrich said. "I am committed to holding my campaign and my supporters to this high standard of accuracy and I hope Gov. Romney will do the same."
Romney and Gingrich have tangled over the role of PACs before. In a debate earlier this week, Romney said that while he couldn't direct the ads put out by groups supporting him, he hoped that if they contain any wrong information, "they take it out."
Associated Press writers Kyle Hightower in Orlando, Fla., and Christine Armario in Miami contributed to this report.
election, south carolina, newt gingrich, inside politics
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