New York Times reporters Trip Gabriel (pictured right) and Ashley Parker, who follow Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, respectively, teamed up for Saturday’s report from Las Vegas, “Republican Candidates Wrangle Over Nevada," rushing to Obama’s aide after a mild attack by Mitt Romney, and accused conservatives of carrying a “caricature” image of lefty donor George Soros.
With polls showing a double-digit lead over Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Romney confidently met with business leaders in northern Nevada. He never mentioned his rival, turning his focus to President Obama. “If I become president of the United States, I commit to be a friend of working people and employers and entrepreneurs and innovators,” he said.
He greeted the big economic story of the day -- that unemployment had fallen to 8.3 percent, a three-year low -- as “good news,” but he did not let up on Mr. Obama. “I know the president didn’t cause this downturn, this recession,” he said, “but he didn’t make it better either. He made it worse.”
It was a dubious statement, because the unemployment rate fell to precisely what it was during Mr. Obama’s first full month in office, February 2009, and nonideological economists agree that the stimulus actions taken by the administration and the Federal Reserve kept the recession from being worse.
And he added to the theme that Mr. Romney is a moderate, closer to the president than what the conservative base of the Republican Party wants. He described a new video his campaign released on Friday that uses recent comments by George Soros that “there isn’t all that much difference” between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney.
Mention of Mr. Soros, a billionaire whose support of liberal causes has made him a caricature villain in conservative circles, elicited boos and catcalls from the crowd of about 200. That delighted Mr. Gingrich, who offered, “See, at least you have an idea who George Soros is.”
Meanwhile, the left’s image of the Koch brothers as dangerous conservatives is taken at face value at the Times.