Rep. Mary Bono Mack

BY BEN GOAD
WASHINGTON BUREAU
bgoad@pe.com

Published: 26 January 2012 11:52 AM

WASHINGTON — Newt Gingrich is an “erratic” thinker who “abandoned his conservative principals” before leaving Congress, Inland Rep. Mary Bono Mack said Thursday on behalf of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

With the remarks, Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, joined a chorus of Republican criticism targeting Gingrich in advance of Tuesday’s Florida primary. Bono Mack, an early Romney supporter, accompanied the former Massachusetts governor on the campaign trail in Florida, along with her husband, Rep. Connie Mack, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Florida.

During a conference call organized by the Romney campaign, Bono Mack recalled serving under Gingrich as a freshman lawmaker in 1998. She said she was struck by his shifting positions.

Gingrich — who had urged Bono Mack to run to succeed her late husband, Sonny Bono — had “an erratic sense about his thinking,” she said, adding that he would say something one day and “the ideas would change the next day.”

Rank-and-file Republicans, Bono Mack said, gradually lost faith in him as their leader.

“He abandoned his conservative principles,” she said of Gingrich, a former House speaker.

She recounted a phone conversation with Gingrich, just before he announced that he was resigning his post at the end of that year.

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