Gingrich's Fury a Boon for Romney Newt paints Mitt as a moderate—handy for November: Jonathan Alter By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Feb 3, 2012 12:22 PM CST 9 comments Comments Mitt Romney greets supporters during a Grassroots Rally at The Grove on February 2, 2012 in Reno, Nevada. (Getty Images) (Newser) – You might think that Newt Gingrich's assault on Mitt Romney would give President Obama the upper hand in the general election—but actually, it's just the opposite, writes Jonathan Alter at Bloomberg. Gingrich's efforts will position Romney as the "more rational and centrist" candidate, which will prove to be a big help when he snags the nomination. Romney's "pivot" into moderate general election mode will seem all the more genuine thanks to Newt. "'Massachusetts moderate' may be an epithet in Republican primaries, but it’s a compliment in the general election, which will be determined by independents with no sympathy for the Tea Party," Alter notes. Obama's task will be "to lash Romney to the conservative policy agenda that created few jobs and helped drive the economy off the cliff." But it'll be a tough job: Even though Romney has in fact been conservative since about 2007, the media has painted him as a moderate—and now Gingrich has, too.