Jacksonville, Fla. — In the post-debate spin room, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom threw cold water on Gingrich’s posture as a Beltway outsider, telling reporters that the former speaker’s “anti-establishment” credentials are weak.
“Gingrich is positioning himself as an anti-establishment and anti-Washington candidate,” Fehrnstrom said. “The truth is, you can’t be anti-establishment if you’re the former speaker of the House, who after leaving Congress set up an influence-peddling firm on K Street. You can’t change the culture of Washington if your livelihood depends on it.”
“I wouldn’t draw any hasty conclusions about Newt Gingrich rousing popular support,” he added, cautioning those who mentioned Gingrich’s big crowds.
In fact, Fehrnstrom is pretty confident that come Tuesday, Romney will perform better than many observers expect. Gingrich may have won South Carolina, but Romney’s advisers sees their organizational strength as a real advantage.
“With respect to Florida, which is a big market, we’ve been active here since December,” Fehrnstrom said. “We have an absentee ballot program that we’ve been assiduously tending. We’ve been working the state with phone, mail; we’ve been up on broadcast media since December. Early voting has already started. And we think that’s all good for Mitt Romney. We feel good about the state of things.”