Rick Tyler, head of Newt Gingrich’s super PAC Winning Our Future, sat for a short interview this evening after his candidate’s 12-point victory in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary.
The super PAC created a 28-minute video that criticizes Mitt Romney and his work for Bain Capital, a private equity and investment firm in which companies were bought, restructured, and closed or sold. The video (“King of Bain”) was released January 11, the day after Gingrich finished fourth in the New Hampshire primary. In days since Gingrich and the super PAC made Romney’s work at Bain a campaign issue.
In the past week, Gingrich overcame a double-digit deficit in South Carolina polls. New York Times election specialist Nate Silver characterized this turnaround as “one of the most shocking reversals of momentum ever in a presidential primary.” And an ABC News report tonight credited the Bain video with helping Gingrich to win over lower-income voters.
However, the video has been heavily criticized for its accuracy and fairness. Even Gingrich himself criticized the video’s content. And several conservative leaders have decried the general perspective as anti-capitalistic and anti-free enterprise.
In his concession speech tonight, Romney declared that Republicans could not and would not choose a nominee perceived as hostile to capitalism. He said, “We cannot defeat the president with a candidate who has joined that very assault on free enterprise. When my opponents attack success and free enterprise… they’re attacking you.”
Tyler has worked with Gingrich since 1999, and was the Gingrich campaign’s spokesman for the early half of 2011. He departed because he “thought the campaign was over,” he told me. After months away, he saw Gingrich revive in the polls, and in December Tyler joined Winning Our Future as a senior adviser.
Tonight, he defended the King of Bain video and discussed capitalism and the role of super PACs in U.S. politics.