Mitt Romney hits Newt Gingrich for criticizing Republican budget plan last spring

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has his guns aimed at front-running rival Newt Gingrich this week, and on Friday unveiled a web video slamming the former House Speaker for criticizing the budget plan passed by House Republicans earlier this year.

Gingrich called the budget plan, written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan "right-wing social engineering" during a May interview on NBC. In part, the plan would make a substantial overhaul of the nation's Medicare program and would allow Americans under 55 to invest their current Social Security taxes into private retirement savings accounts.

"I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering," Gingrich said when asked about Ryan's plan at the time.

"With allies like that, who needs the left?" Ryan said in response to Gingrich's comments.

Anticipating attacks such as Romney's new video, Gingrich walked back his comments a few days after his NBC appearance, calling the remarks "a mistake."

"Any ad which quotes what I said Sunday is a falsehood," Gingrich said on Fox News. "Because I have said publicly, those words were inaccurate and unfortunate. . . . When I make a mistake--and I'm going to on occasion--I'm going to stand up and share with the American people, 'That was a mistake.' "

That, however, didn't stop Romney. Here's the ad:


Romney's full-throated defense of Ryan's plan is a new development. In May, he did not appear nearly as enthusiastic about the proposal. While he did not criticize the plan at the time, Romney responded to questions about whether he supported it by saying he "appreciate[s]" Ryan's work, but added, "I'm going to have my own plan."

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