Courtesy of Wall Street Journal:
By Alicia Mundy
Former Sen. Bob Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, took a big swing at candidate Newt Gingrich on Thursday, saying a Gingrich nomination will sink GOP contenders across the country.
Mr. Dole of Kansas and his wife former Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina both endorsed Mitt Romney in December – not surprising considering that Mr. Dole was no fan of then-House Speaker Gingrich in the 1990s.
Today, the Romney campaign emailed a statement from Mr. Dole, known for candid and caustic comments.
“Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself…
“[Mr. Gingrich] was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway.”
A House ethics committee investigation of Mr. Gingrich resulted in the first reprimand by Congress of a sitting speaker, and he was fined $300,000 in 1997.
What happened next apparently is an enduring annoyance for Mr. Dole. He wrote that Mr. Gingrich’s “mounting ethics problems caused him to resign in early 1999. I know whereof I speak as I helped establish a line of credit of $150,000 to help Newt pay off the fine for his ethics violations. In the end, he paid the fine with money from other sources.”
Mr. Dole also noted that in his own presidential bid against incumbent Bill Clinton, he was undermined by tough Democratic ads that tied him to Mr. Gingrich. He warned that could happen again in 2012.
“The Democrats are spending millions of dollars running negative ads against Romney as they are hoping that Gingrich will be the nominee which could result in a landslide victory for Obama and a crushing defeat for Republicans from the courthouse to the White House.
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond responded on Twittter: “Hey Bob Dole, remember when they invented the refrigerator?” He linked to a C-SPAN video from Sept. 12, 1996 of Mr. Gingrich, on the floor of the House, touting the savings from ending the delivery of ice to House offices.
Another Gingrich spokesman, Joe DeSantis, dismissed Mr. Dole’s remarks and suggested Mr. Gingrich was being attacked because he was not a Washington “insider.” “These establishment Republicans sure do stick together,” he said.