The New Republic’s Alec MacGillis has uncovered an unhelpful quotation of Mitt Romney from May 2006. That month, the Massachusetts governor told the Quincy Patriot Ledger: “I’m very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay.”
Asked to respond by NRO, Newt Gingrich replies, “I’m not at all surprised that the governor was for higher gas prices.” He admits that “I had not seen that particular quote,” but maintains it is evidence of “why I’m still running.”
“I just think that Governor Romney has an almost hopeless task of trying to campaign against President Obama,” Gingrich argues. “[His campaign] can’t energize the base. The turnout in Illinois where Romney pulverized Santorum with money was the lowest turnout in 70 years.”
Aware of his own perilously low delegate total, Gingrich defends himself: “I’m not irrational; I can count.” But he rejects “the idea we’re going to bow out and allow the party to end up with somebody who can’t distinguish himself.”
“We could be campaigning as the party of inexpensive energy,” Gingrich says. Noting that “as late as World War II, we produced 83 percent of the world’s oil,” Gingrich predicts that “with all new the drilling technologies,” the U.S. has the potential to improve its energy situation. As for his opponent, Gingrich concludes, “Governor Romney is ill positioned to take advantage of it and to explain it.”
The ex-speaker answered NRO’s question while holding a conference call with bloggers this morning on the president’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.