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Mitt Romney criticizes Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama in Fox interview

Mitt Romney tonight criticized both his Republican rival and the Democratic president he hopes to face next year, calling the ideas of Newt Gingrich “not practical” while saying that if President Obama is reelected the country will “hit a Greece-like wall.”

On Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” the former Massachusetts governor elevated his criticism of Gingrich’s proposal to crack down on federal judges.

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“His comments about the justices and the Congress, sending the Capitol police to bring in judges - that’s not exactly a practical idea or a constitutional idea,” Romney told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, according to a transcript released ahead of the 8 p.m. show.

“Let me tell you, there are a lot of decisions by judges I vehemently disagree with,” Romney added. “But I also agree with the Constitution. The solution to judges out of control is not to tear up the Constitution and say that the Congress of the United States becomes the now ultimate power in this country.”

He also criticized Gingrich for making a commercial on global warming with Nancy Pelosi, and for calling a House GOP budget plan “right-wing social engineering.”

When asked whether he considers himself to be a conservative thinker, Romney said, “I am conservative. I’ve become more conservative over time.”

Romney also warned of dire consequences to the American economy if Obama wins reelection next year.

“I think we hit a Greece-like wall,” he said. “I think before the end of his second term, if he were reelected, there’s a very high risk that we would hit a financial crisis that Greece or Italy have faced.”

Romney would not go as far as some of his Republican rivals, however, and refer to Obama as a “socialist.”

“You know, I prefer to use the term that he’s just over his head,” Romney said. “I consider him a big government liberal Democrat. I think, as you look at his policies, you conclude that he thinks Europe got it right and we got it wrong. I think Europe got it wrong. I think Europe is not working in Europe, and I’ll battle him on that day in and day out. But I’m probably not going to be calling him names so much as calling him a failure.”

Romney talked about the changes going on in North Korea, following the death of leader Kim Jong-il. “I know a great deal about North Korea, but before I would take a step with regards to North Korea, I’d bring in a lot of people, get a lot of opinions, analyze them thoroughly and then take action,” Romney said, of how he’d handle the situation. “With North Korea now, there’s the potential that Kim Jong Un will do something provocative. When change occurs, a setting is more fragile. But there’s also an opportunity in North Korea.”

Following the interview with O’Reilly, Romney is also delivering the top 10 list on the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Several of the items have been released, quoting Romney reading a list of things that he wants to tell the American people. “I just used all my campaign money to buy a zoo with Matt Damon,” he says for the fourth item. “I can do a lot, but even I can’t fix the Indianapolis Colts,” is the third. And for number two on the list, he’s allowed to poke a little fun at a rival. “Newt Gingrich? Really?” is the line.

Matt Viser can be reached at maviser@globe.com.
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