POSTED: Monday, November 28, 2011 - 6:12pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 28, 2011 - 7:11pm
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich acknowledged Monday that he isn't the perfect candidate but contends he's "a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anybody else."
Gingrich, a former House speaker whose presidential campaign is on the rise just weeks before the first nominating contests take place, offered sharp criticism of Romney. For months, the Georgia Republican has refused to criticize his rivals and instead has kept his focus on President Barack Obama.
That all seems to be over. Branding the former Massachusetts governor as a political opportunist, Gingrich said it is one thing to change positions if new facts become available and quite another to shift positions for political gain.
"It's wrong to go around to adopt radically different positions based on your need of any one election, then people will have to ask themselves, 'What will you tell me next time?'" Gingrich told WSC-FM radio Monday morning ahead of a three-day campaign swing through South Carolina.
Romney has changed his positions on gay rights and abortion since his first political campaign in 1994. Since that unsuccessful effort, he has publicly shifted rightward.
It isn't enough to convince some, including Gingrich.
"We think there has to be a solid conservative alternative to Mitt Romney," Gingrich said.
At times Gingrich has blamed the media for stoking the divisions among the contenders in an attempt "to get Republicans fighting with each other," as he put it during an NBC debate. "You want to puff this up into some giant thing," Gingrich said then.