Gingrich on Romney's Conservative Cred: 'It's like a Saturday Night Live skit'

Newt laces up for the big weekend fight.

At a Tea Party town hall meeting in Meredith, N.H. Thursday night, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told the crowd that calling Mitt Romney a conservative is a joke -- like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit.

The comment came after Gingrich was asked about attacks on his character – and his refusal to respond in kind: “I am going to run a campaign worthy of my grandchildren,” he said.

Gingrich said he’s running for president, not for personal gain, but because he wants to help the country: “And I think I can help the United States of America by being an honest citizen and telling the truth. And I believe actually, in the end, we will win doing that. I think we'll do better in New Hampshire than people expect, because when you start to describe a Massachusetts moderate (a reference to Mitt Romney) and you remind people of his record, and suddenly they go, ‘Oh, yeah – he’s not a conservative.’ It's a joke for him to call himself a conservative. It's a Saturday Night Live skit.”

Video at the link. This comment tees things up nicely for Saturday night's debate in New Hampshire. We may be looking at a three-way brawl between Romney, Gingrich and Santorum, with Gingrich and Santorum focusing most of their fire on Mittens while all three have major holes in their records. Romney has undoubtedly practiced for debates in which he is the target, but practice and game day are two different things. He hasn't faced serious sustained fire in any debate yet. Neither has Santorum. If you're another competitor in the race who actually does have a strong record governing along conservative principles successfully, here's an opportunity to provide a contrast both in terms of performance and substance. While they're arguing, it's a chance to connect past records with current plans to make a play for the future. The "future" being the next primary and the one after that.