COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia native Newt Gingrich was no longer directing his attacks on his former Republican opponent Mitt Romney. Instead, he saved his barbs for President Barack Obama on Friday night.

Gingrich just a few months ago was trying to prove why he would make a better Republican presidential candidate than Romney who is now the presumptive nominee. But the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer ( ) reported he told Georgia Republicans that they need to unite behind Romney who he says will be much better for the economy. His remarks came at a dinner that is part of this weekend’s Georgia Republican Convention at the Columbus Civic Center.

Gingrich said the former Massachusetts governor’s critics ask if Romney is conservative.

“I stare at them for a second and I say, ‘Compared to Barack Obama?’ I mean, let’s start with reality here,” Gingrich said.

The graduate of Columbus’ old Baker High School got a big laugh from proposing this pitch:

“We need to say to young people, ‘The Obama plan is you get to live with your parents. The Romney plan is you get to move out.’ I am not sure that will get the vote of every young person, but it will get the vote of every parent in the country.”

Gingrich talked about polls that show Obama’s big disadvantage is that people think Romney can better manage the economy.

Romney has a business background and has made “tough-minded decisions that ultimately created jobs,” Gingrich said.

“Your choice is simple this fall,” he said: “Do you want the most liberal, radical, big-spending, deficit-ridden, debt-increasing president in history, or do you want a businessman who balanced the budget in Massachusetts and will fight to balance the budget in Washington, D.C.?”

The convention reconvenes Saturday morning.

Those at the convention are electing a slate of 31 “at-large” delegates to the national convention Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, Fla., along with a committeeman and committeewoman to serve on the Republican National Committee.

Georgia will send 76 delegates to the national convention.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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