Gingrich moves into new mode: Attack Romney
November 28th, 2011
09:14 PM ET
6 years ago

Gingrich moves into new mode: Attack Romney

(CNN) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich continued his push against rival GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday, saying Democratic swipes against the former Massachusetts governor as a flip-flopper are "legitimate."

"If you run to the left of Teddy Kennedy, it is trickier than trying to run to the right of Newt Gingrich," Gingrich said in an exclusive interview with CNN's "John King, USA," referring to Romney's failed Senate bid against liberal lion Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

His comments come the same day the Democratic National Committee launched an aggressive, multi-state campaign against Romney, using a TV commercial that attempts to show the former governor changing his tune on a number of issues over the years.

Responding to critics who label Romney's record as inconsistent, Gingrich said: "Part of it is the way he (Romney) did some of it. I think it is legitimate."

Meanwhile, Gingrich admitted he was "wrong" when he indicated in a May interview that he favored some sort of mandate on health insurance.

Gingrich has since attempted to clarify those comments, saying he strongly opposes a federal health insurance mandate. But he denied his change in position amounted to the same "flip-flopping" label being lobbed against Romney.

Gingrich said Romney had failed to account for his health care positions, as the former governor strongly opposes President Barack Obama's sweeping health care reform, largely modeled after the Bay State system that Romney helped craft as governor.

"Mitt raised this issue in one of our debates. If I would have been clever, I would say I've admitted I was wrong," Gingrich told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "I've learned and I've changed my mind. Why haven't you?"

But in the same May interview, Gingrich said he wouldn't use the mandate issue against Romney, a tactic he now appears to be using.

Gingrich, who's surged in the polls in recent weeks, has repeatedly called on his fellow Republican opponents to resist attacking each other and take aim at Obama, instead.

But Monday night marked the second time Gingrich went after Romney, having told a South Carolina radio station earlier in the day that his record was stronger and more consistent than that of his closest competitor in the race for the White House.

"I wouldn't lie to the American people; I wouldn't switch my position for political reason. It's perfectly reasonable to change positions if you see new things you didn't see," he said in the radio interview.

"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?'"

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    What happend to Rick Perry ?

    Rick call home !

    November 28, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  2. A disgusted former Republican

    As someone said recently: "It takes serious money to get Gingrich to change his mind."

    November 28, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  3. Nash

    Go Gingrich. Gingrich 2012!

    November 28, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  4. Spark

    He refers to himself in the third person? Nice

    November 28, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  5. mfx3

    According to Tim Pawlenty's logic, this means Newt is afraid of Mitt. Really the only thing Newt has to fear is his own past.

    November 28, 2011 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  6. Nominate Newt . . .

    he will get at least 40 % of the vote against Obama; go Newt . . .

    November 29, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  7. Pat in il

    If the best he can do is double-speak attacks on other candidates, he should remove himself as a candidate right now. I want to hear what these candidates themselves propose...not what they don't like about others.

    November 29, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  8. chuck weidemann

    It's appears the gloves are coming off!! Bachmann attacking,Huntsman attacking and now Newt...looks like they want to cook some of that goose Romney and his staff have been boasting about....just coming at him from his "friends" on the right!!! Who is to be the last one standing? My money is on Newt,if he can still be around after the things he has done...this man IS a survivor!!! Dangerous when you can sling mud as good as he can and you never see it coming until to late.

    November 29, 2011 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  9. lsm

    I am concerned about the fixation on flip flopping, that seems to come up in every election. I would rather have someone who learns and changes–and everybody does it, from Kerry to Bush to Obama to Gingrich, especially when they deal in the subtleties of governing. How unfortunate to be held in the box of our past!

    November 29, 2011 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  10. m

    They all twist the truth and that is putting it kindly.

    November 29, 2011 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  11. kevin

    Newt is a LIAR, a Thief and is also without any morals at all. He has and will say and do anything that is in his own interests! I hope he is th e gop candidate. OBAMA...4 more

    November 29, 2011 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  12. DAnna Sviridova

    Who, but the press, cares what Newt thinks?

    November 29, 2011 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  13. some guy in New Hampshire

    Maybe if Gingrich talks about Romney's endless flips and flops, we'll forget about Gingrich's - climate change, the intervention in Libya...

    November 29, 2011 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  14. Jake

    Neither one of them are worthy of being POTUS

    November 29, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  15. Don

    As a Democrat, I am very happy to see Newt in this race. Run, Newt, run!

    November 29, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  16. So you want to be president?

    Poor republican's, your choice of canidits are two of the worlds biggest flip floppers.

    November 29, 2011 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    Remember folks: Newt did say the Ryan plan was right-wing social engineering, and he's right. Also remember that Newt paid the largest fine in the history of the House for his conduct as Speaker, and epitomises the culture that cost the GOP control of the House in 2006: do you really think he's morally fit to be the president?

    November 29, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  18. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So Newt defends his own Flip-Flops as rethinking his policy decisions while deriding Mitt for doing the same? Yep. That's our old Newt, back in action!

    November 29, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  19. sortakinda

    Hey, Newt. Get lost.

    November 29, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  20. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAhadists

    All Newt has to do is use the DNC ad(Mitt vs. Mitt) against Willard. That ad is nothing but the truth.

    November 29, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. Frank

    Newt is the smartest guy running

    November 29, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    Newt Gingrich is now "schooling" Mitt Romney on proper "flip flopping" etiquette? Too funny.

    November 29, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  23. larry

    If Newt is trying to convince everyone they can trust him he has a loooooongg way to go. Especially when someone like Ron Paul who is a picture of consistency is in this race.

    November 29, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  24. Skitownrefugee

    Hey Frank – Newt will be the smartest guy running if the electorate lets him pull the wool over their eyes. The republicans have not come up with a clear winner and there are none in the pack. All have been or will be exposed before this is over.

    November 29, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. GRofPA

    these guys are as smart as any GOP candidates....

    November 29, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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