Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney: Former House Speaker Defends Bain Capital Attack

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said questions he's raising about Mitt Romney's record as a venture capitalist are "not the centerpiece" of his campaign in South Carolina.

"It's legitimate to ask the question -- and this is the whole Wall Street problem -- how come the big boys made a lot of money and [others] went broke?” he said on Fox News, according to Politico. "And that's not an attack on capitalism. That's not an issue about the whole capitalist system. That is a question about a very particular style of activity involving a very particular person."

"I don't have any question about the general process of entrepreneurial conservatism. There are a series of cases that don't look right. I'm saying -- for a guy to run for president, and use his record as the basis for running, and then tell us we're not even allowed to ask about his record?" said Gingrich.

The former House speaker said Romney's record as head of the equity firm Bain Capital is "an important question," however, because he predicated his campaign on the argument that he has the necessary business experience to restore the economy.

Gingrich said, "I'm campaigning as a pro-jobs, Reagan conservative in South Carolina."

The Georgia Republican was asked on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" about a man's statement at a campaign event Wednesday that Gingrich should lay off questions about whether the former Massachusetts governor benefited from a culture of corporate greed at Bain Capital. Gingrich told the questioner, "I agree with you."