» View our political blog, with live updates and analysis of the GOP presidential nomination process.
LUTZ, Fla. — Newt Gingrich on Sunday called GOP president rival Mitt Romney a "pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase liberal."
Gingrich made the comments outside a megachurch in Lutz, Fla., two days before the pivotal presidential primary.
Gingrich is trailing Romney in Florida and has been labeling the former governor a Massachusetts moderate. Now Gingrich is moving his 2012 rival even further left.
He also criticized Romney's campaign tactics during two television interviews Sunday morning, decrying his opponent's "basic policy of carpet-bombing his opponent."
One of the ads being run by Romney suggests that Gingrich is exaggerating his ties to Ronald Reagan. Gingrich chafed at that, noting that the former president's son Michael was joining him on the campaign trail Monday "to prove to everybody that I am the heir to the Reagan movement, not some liberal from Massachusetts."
Former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain, a tea party favorite, will also appear with Gingrich on Monday.
At a large rally Sunday at The Villages, a sprawling retirement community in central Florida, Gingrich accused Democratic President Barack Obama of coddling foreign leaders like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"I believe we need to be stronger than our potential enemies," Gingrich told the crowd. "The president lives in a fantasy world where there are no enemies, there are just misguided people with whom he has not yet had coffee."
He said Chavez "deliberately, cynically and insultingly gave him an anti-American book and Obama didn't have a clue that he'd been insulted."
He said the Obama administration should be focused on Ahmadinejad's "pledge to wipe out Israel and drive America out of the Middle East."
"But if I were a left-wing Harvard law graduate surrounded by really clever left-wing academics I would know that this was really a sign that (Ahmadinejad) probably had a bad childhood," Gingrich said.
He described Obama's approach to Ahmadinejad as, "If only we could unblock him we could be closer to him and we could be friends together."
Gingrich, who served in the House for two decades, also made a populist pitch as a Washington outsider. He said the GOP's "old establishment" is trying to block his path to nomination.
"It's time that someone stood up for hard-working, taxpaying Americans and said, 'Enough,'" Gingrich said. "And if that makes the old order uncomfortable, my answer is, 'Good.'"
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company