As I noted the other day, Mitt Romney’s new strategy is to send out surrogates to attack Newt.
Tomorrow it is former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, a big name in New Hampshire politics but someone whose name is associated with two of the most major conservative failures in the post-Vietnam war history of the Republican Party.
As Matt Lewis points out, Sununu holds a grudge against Newt because Newt tried to stop George H.W. Bush from breaking his “no new taxes” pledge:
With former Speaker Newt Gingrich surging in the polls, Mitt Romney has finally decided it’s time to go on the offensive. One of the men Romney has lined up to attack Gingrich is former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu. The feud is not new.
As a former chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, Sununu has a grudge against Gingrich — who fought Bush’s budget deal that included raising taxes.
Here’s an excerpt from a 1990 Fred Barnes article that describes a meeting for Bush’s re-election efforts:
Sununu attacked congressional Republicans for abandoning the president. House Republican whip Newt Gingrich, who led the opposition to the budget deal, wasn’t invited to the meeting. But he was on Sununu’s and [former OMB director Richard] Darman’s mind. “You could see the Newt chip on their shoulders,” said one Bush adviser. “It was a strikingly bad discussion. The death embrace [of Sununu and Darman] grew tighter.”
There’s more. As Lewis points out, Sununu’s other claim to fame is that he convinced Bush to nominate to the Supreme Court a New Hamphire state court judge who Sununu assured Bush was a rock solid conservative notwithstanding indications otherwise. That person was David Souter.
Sununu serving as surrogate Romney attack dog is the second unexpected Christmas present for Newt after Nancy Pelosi’s failed blackmail attempt, because it shows that all the wrong people hate Newt for all the wrong reasons.
Update 12-8-2011 — More on Sununu’s grudge against Newt for fighting H.W. Bush’s breach of his “no new taxes pledge” here.