(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters )
Newt Gingrich’s star is on the rise in Iowa, but a leading conservative voice in the Senate remains unimpressed.
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn says he “will have difficulty supporting (Gingrich) as president of the United States” based on his experience serving in the House during Gingrich’s years as speaker.
“The thing is there are all type of leaders. Leaders that instill confidence, leaders that are somewhat abrupt and brisk, leaders that have one standard for the people they are leading and different standard for themselves,” Coburn said on Fox News Sunday. “I found his leadership lacking.”
Gingrich served as speaker of the House from 1995 until he resigned 1999, a turbulent period in Congress marked by bitter partisan fighting, impeachment, government shutdowns, but also compromise on policy. Gingrich stepped down after his party unexpectedly lost seats in the 1998 midterms election, amid pressure from his Republicans colleague and ethics accusations.
Coburn, who was elected to Congress as part of the Republican wave in 1994, gave Gingrich credit for organizing the vast GOP victories, saying “he’s brilliant, he has lots of positives.” But he suggested that other Republicans in the class of ’94 would have similar reservations.
A new Des Moines Register poll show Gingrich is leading the GOP primary pack with support from 25% of Iowa Republicans, Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 18%. Mitt Romney had 16%.