Gingrich vows to stay positive amid negative attacks
December 13th, 2011
10:48 AM ET
7 years ago

Gingrich vows to stay positive amid negative attacks

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich called on his supporters and staff Tuesday to "stay positive" and avoid attacking fellow Republican presidential candidates, the day after he engaged in a verbal back-and-forth with Mitt Romney.

In an email, the former House speaker said he would refrain from attacking other candidates so the GOP nominee emerges from the primary season "un-bloodied," and encouraged his backers and other Republican contenders to do the same.

"I am instructing all members of my campaign staff and respectfully urge anyone acting as a surrogate for our campaign to avoid initiating attacks on other Republican candidates," Gingrich wrote. "It is my hope that my Republican opponents will join me in this commitment."

On Monday, Gingrich and rival candidate Romney sniped at each other over their records in the private sector. In Tuesday's letter, Gingrich categorized the comments from both camps as "a frank exchange," saying he "reserved the right to respond when my record has been distorted."

But, echoing similar sentiments from Romney, Gingrich said he hopes the candidates will run a solutions-based campaign to ensure President Barack Obama is not elected to a second term.

"So let us hope that from this point forward we can devote our energies to real issues, such as discussing our plans for our nation's economic recovery and helping to create millions of new jobs for the American people," Gingrich wrote.

The letter comes amid heightened attacks against Gingrich from Romney, his closest competitor for the 2012 GOP nomination. The former Massachusetts governor launched a full-scale assault on Gingrich's record, including calling on the former speaker to return the millions of dollars he earned consulting for Freddie Mac.

Gingrich responded by calling on Romney to return the money he earned during his tenure at Bain Capital, saying Romney was responsible for "bankrupting companies and laying off employees."

Gingrich's letter Tuesday mirrors sentiments he made at a town hall in New Hampshire Monday, when he told voters he saw the race going in a direction that could damage a potential 2012 GOP nominee.

"In the last week or so, as I've gotten to be more of a frontrunner, the campaign has begun for the first time to really degenerate in terms of some of the ads, particularly in Iowa," Gingrich said in Windham, New Hampshire. "I appreciate Governor Romney taking that position, and I agree with him, I think what we're about is too important to weaken anybody who might defeat Barack Obama and to give Barack Obama any ammunition that he shouldn't have."

At the event, Gingrich vowed to disassociate himself with any independent political groups that run negative ads against other candidates, and advised the crowd not to donate to any Super PAC that produces negative advertising.

"The choice of the president of the United States, at a time of genuine troubles, is not a game," Gingrich said. "It isn't who can hire the meanest, nastiest, or most creative consultant. It is a fundamental choice about who we think can provide the solutions that bring us together as a nation."

Also see:

Gingrich, Huntsman's friendly foreign policy debate

Giuliani: Gingrich may be stronger than Romney

Cheney: Don't underestimate Gingrich

Santorum counting on Iowa

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. ST

    This why Newt is called another flip-flopper. Was it not only this past weekend he tauted himself that one should have a courage and say the truth, no matter how bad it is. Now it is another story!! be positive. Why wasn't he positive when he used inflammatory words: "invented people"?

    December 13, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. rs

    Notice how much Gingrich resembles the Sidney Greenstreet character from "Casablanca". That character stayed positive too- he just screwed over all the film's other characters.

    December 13, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. Ron

    If I was a republican voter right now, I,d be plenty concerned about the coming general election? "Not one,of these Obstructionist Clowns have a "Chance in Hell" of win the general election against Obama!! Our President looks like the only Human existing, "Against these "Hell bent Alien Obstructionist Lunatics" Obama 2012

    December 13, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Laverne

    Yeah right, if Newt thinks his opponents are going to just let him cruise to the nomination with a fight, then he is just sadly mistaken. It aint going to happen and he knows it! Again, he is just taking this approach because he knows the Washington insiders have so much crap on him that if they choose to expose him, he could never win the republican nomination. Anyways its too late, the gloves are already off and will not be going back on anytime soon!

    December 13, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Newt Gingrich is playing the same game that won Reagan the nomination. The surface similarities between Reagan and Gingrich are remarkable. Both candidates had the strongest name recognition in the field. Both candididates were controversial for their remarks, which was their biggest flaw. They both faced an incumbent Democrat in the White House, for whom they showed little or no respect.

    Ronald Reagan threw up his hands and declared "Thou shalt not make negative attacks on fellow Republicans." This is exaxtly what Gingrich is doing now. Reagan's opponents were suckered into that game, and were left with no ammunition with which to attack him. Even knowing this, his opponents still resisted attacking his record so as not to give ammunition to the Democrats in the general election. Gingrich is pulling the same woolen blanket over his opponents. It works.

    December 13, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It isn't who can hire the meanest, nastiest, or most creative consultant. It is a fundamental choice about who we think can provide the solutions that bring us together as a nation."

    Oh, Newter, you're beginning to sound like a fool. First, you - of all people - bringing "us together as a nation" is nothing but trumped up Gingrich rhetoric at its best. Second, you might want to start admitting you really don't want the presidency at all. Your campaign was based on the premise of a "book tour", and - I suspect - will end when said book tour has run it's political course, no doubt taking Mitt Romney's campaign chances down with it. Not my concern, but it might be a concern for others who continue to think the Grand Old Party is still worth a damn.

    December 13, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Ken

    How can he vow to stay positive when he's already making comments like "you didn't become a career politician because you lost to Ted Kennedy." Between that and the whole "if you give back all the money you made bankrupting companies and killing jobs thing" it isn't like Newt has been positive at all.... then again we know he doesn't really take these "vows" or pledges very seriously anyways.

    December 13, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. steven harnack

    More smoke and mirrors. Now listen for daily explanations about how what they said about so and so wasn't meant to be an attack, followed by the standard Republican "apology" that they are sorry that some people are so thin skinned or that they were only joking.

    December 13, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Newt is throwing the old Reagan 11th Commandment sucker punch. If any of his fellow candidates fall for it, they're too stupid to be POTUS, anyway.

    December 13, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. V in Chicago

    Yea, because he knows there is no one with more skeleton or dirt in their closet. Sure he wants to do away with the negative because his past is the most negative of all those running. Say what you want, but anyone who would put this man back in to office is as scary as he is.

    December 13, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  11. phyllis

    I sure hope Newt does not get the nomination of the republicans.......he is not worthy........

    I will be voting for our President Obama again.........he is worthy............peace out...........

    December 13, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. V in Chicago

    This man is unbelievably arrogant and corrupt! God help us all if he gets elected!!!

    December 13, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Stop the Charade

    I hope he does as well with this vow as he will do with his fidelity vow.

    December 13, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. Woman In California

    Both of them are phony liars. Each one is ONLY concerned the other one might dig up more dirt to be thrown against them in the GE by the democrats. With Romney's failure in the debate Saturday – he's even more afraid now. He knows he gave Obama and the DNC a $10,000 Christmas present wrapped in a pretty red bow and that they are going to use it against him – so his concern is not for his republican rivals (as he would have you to believe) but to hide as usual and keep his hands clean as usual so he doesn't look like the spoiled spineless man child everyone knows by now he is.

    December 13, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Mike

    This is too funny. Newt, naturally, will do anything to avoid discussing his sordid, unethical past. And now, he's signed this MEANINGLESS "personal fidelity pledge" (oh the irony – Newt Gingrich, paragon of chaste, modest personal virtue, telling everyone, okay, NOW I'll be true... okay then!). What is it with Republicans' compulsion to sign these silly "pledges" anyway, when they know they have ZERO intention of observing their pledges when it's not politically convenient? They'd best avoid signing any pledges to be truthful about what they're saying during this campaign. They've shown over and over and over that they can't make a pledge like that stick, either.

    December 13, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. Wade

    Ron, you've got to be joking. Bozo the clown could beat our current president. ANY of the repubs could beat him, he's in waaaay over his head and has no idea how to fix the mess he has created.

    December 13, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    Gingrich will get around the pledge by letting his Super PACs do the the dirty work of attacking his rivals.

    December 13, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Laverne wrote:

    Yeah right, if Newt thinks his opponents are going to just let him cruise to the nomination with a fight, then he is just sadly mistaken. It aint going to happen and he knows it!
    Jon Huntsman rolled over last night and imitated a dead dog. Herman Cain had the same debate opportunity and he too rolled over and played dead. No one at the Republican debate the other night really came out an attacked Newt as if they really wanted to cause permanent damage, not just bruises.

    Nope. I think the field is too weak and too stupid to see through the true purpose of Reagain's 11th Commandment. They will let him cruise to an insurmountable lead, and then collectively roll over and play dead.

    December 13, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. Canuck

    "ANY of the repubs could beat him,"

    in your dreams ,Sir....

    December 13, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. FormerMarineSgt

    Gingrich can't go negative. he's got massive baggage that his opponents WILL use if he goes negative on them. He'd be wiped out if that happened.

    December 13, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Tired of the nonsense

    So are his opponents supposed to stay positive as he attacks? After all, he's been attacking others for over twenty years...

    December 13, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Wes Monroe

    Hard to stay positive Newt when you have the likes of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, yesterday, insisting that unemployment didn’t go up in Barack Obama’s term of office. The number of jobs has declined almost 2 million during Obama’s term even without accounting for the 3 million-plus working-age adults who joined the population while Obama has been President. Maybe the DNC should consider having a chair who has some connection to reality. But what fun would that be for the rest of us?

    December 13, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. ddblah

    Yes, relentlessly positive except to poor and unprivileged.

    December 13, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Mike

    Instead, the Gingrich campaign is going to focus more on attacking the poor, as they, unlike republican candidates, have no voice with which to defend themselves.

    December 13, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    FormerMarineSgt observed:

    Gingrich can't go negative. he's got massive baggage that his opponents WILL use if he goes negative on them. He'd be wiped out if that happened.
    Bingo. You have just exposed the real truth of Reagan's 11th Commandment.

    December 13, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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