Mitt Romney doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd like trash talk, but he's indulging in quite a bit of it in Florida. The Republican candidate has every right to be proud that his campaign has gone from way behind Newt Gingrich to way ahead in just 10 days, but he's not being too gracious about a triumph that The New York Times' Nate Silver gives a 97 percent chance of happening Tuesday night. "Speaker Gingrich, he’s not feeling very excited these days --- I know, it’s sad," a clearly not-at-all sad Romney said in Dunedin Monday, ABC News reports. "He’s been flailing about a bit trying to go after me for one thing or another. You just watch it and shake your head. It’s been kind of painfully revealing to watch."
The Newt-taunting happened all over Florida Monday. "I know the speaker's not real happy," Romney said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Here in Florida if you're part of the housing crisis you're probably not going to get elected president." Sick burn! On the campaign bus, Romney responded to Gingrich's vow to keep on fighting after the Florida primary by saying, “That’s usually an indication that you think you’re going to lose…. When you say, 'I'm going to go on no matter what happens,' that's not a good sign," The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny report. Just 30 seconds into a speech in Jacksonville, The Times reports, Romney was joking, "Send him to the moon!"
Not only does Romney love winning (“Those debates were fun -- wasn’t that a hoot?” he bragged in Naples), he wants all the credit, The Hill's Christian Heinze points out. Romney's aides went on the record with The New York Times Sunday, detailing their genius strategy to destroy Gingrich. When asked about the story on the Today show Monday, Romney said, "I think you can expect advisers to think that the work of advisers is very, very important, but frankly, I think if you're to go back and look at where the sentiment changed, it was with the debates."
It's been clear for a while that Romney is not the kind of guy you want to play touch football with. In two debates, Romney bragged about forcing Ted Kennedy to take out a second mortgage when he ran against him for Senate in 1994. Romney lost, but hey, at least he caused Kennedy a little pain. His killer instinct extends beyond politics. Before the Iowa caucuses, he called his son Craig on stage to tell the delightful story about the time at the Romney family triathlon (yes!) Romney and his daughter-in-law -- who had given birth to his grandchild a couple months before -- were the last two left in the race. Romney couldn't let his son's wife be only the second-worst athlete.
CRAIG ROMNEY: ...And it was down to my wife and my dad over here.
ROMNEY: I tripped her.
CRAIG ROMNEY: And it was kind of in the home stretch in the run there. And she had a slight lead on him. And he said that in that moment, he decided he was going to win that race or he was going to die trying. And you see this fight to the finish, and he went for this -- he gave it everything he had. He gave it a good kick and he beat her in the end. And he did almost die trying, by the way.
He passed out in a lawn chair and we didn't see him the rest of the day. He barely made lot of life. But it's that type of hard work, it's that type of determination, I think, that we need in the White House.