This article is from the archive of our partner .

Mitt Romney attacked the position Newt Gingrich took on immigration -- let's not deport everybody -- in last week's debate, but he backed the same idea in 2006. As he prepared for his first run for president, Romney told Bloomberg News reporters that people who came here illegally but speak English and follow the law should be able to "get in line" to become citizens. All 11 million illegal immigrants "are not going to be rounded up and box-carred out," Romney said, according to Bloomberg's Julie Hirschfeld Davis.  Bloomberg dug through its archives just as the Democratic National Committee began airing Monday television ads in swing states attacking Romney for his flip flopping. Democrats would have had more material if they'd just waited a few days.

Gingrich echoed the DNC's ad in an interview with a radio station in Charleston, South Carolina Monday. The former House speaker said he was the "solid conservative alternative to Mitt Romney," CNN reports. "I wouldn't lie to the American people, I wouldn't switch my position for political reason." Unlike some people, he implied:

Gingrich continued, "It's perfectly reasonable to change positions if you see new things you didn't see. Everybody does that, Ronald Reagan did that. If you go around and adopt radically different positions based on need for any one election, people will ask, 'What will you tell me next time?'" But Romney's fiercest competitor for biggest flip-flopper of the 2012 Republican primary is Gingrich, who changed his mind on climate change and that health care reform should mandate that all people buy health insurance. Gingrich called for action to stop global warming as recently as 2008, and it seems unlikely he saw new things in the meantime besides an opening to win the Republican nomination. There are areas where Gingrich has remained consistent, and immigration is one of them. Gingrich voted for immigration amnesties in the 1980s and 1990s, as the Associated Press' Shannon McCaffrey reports. Another area where Gingrich is rock solid? Making childhood more Dickensian. He called for bringing back orphanages in 1994, and he's calling for a roll back on child labor laws today.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.