Gingrich vows to stay positive amid negative attacks
December 13th, 2011
10:48 AM ET
6 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. Me 3

    Why would anyone believe Gingrich? He has been a cheat and a liar in the past. Do not be stupid enough to believe his "I have repented bit." He will say anything to get the nomination.

    December 13, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    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.
    I think the Republican party has a lot more to worry about then what Debbie Wasserman Schultz might be saying on T.V. Shall we start with the clown car candidates, and work our way to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell - all of whom have become a national joke - one year and counting now?

    December 13, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    If Gingrich gets the nomination, you will see vitriol and mendacity writ larger than ever before in American politics. The effect will be shocking. The hatred and bigotry it will unleash in like-minded people will resemble the suppuration of a gangrenous wound, festering and in need of amputation. This macabre spectacle could be our body politic's means of purging itself, if only for the time being, of the evil so powerfully rooted in our public discourse. In any case, its success in grafting itself, from the Congress onto the White House is unimaginable. It would be morbidly fascinating, to watch the originator of the decline of public discourse into 24/7 slash and burn, have that turned instead on him, 24/7, until he implodes, much like the wicked witch of the north. "I'm melting....!!!!!" Now, I'd pay a big price to watch that happen.

    December 13, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. shoegazer

    This coming from a man who perfected "politics of personal destruction".Who also,when addressing a gathering of Young Republicans in1995,stated:"I think one of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don't encourage you to be nasty". Be afraid,very afraid.

    December 13, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. microburst

    I know lots of mechanics that can fix my car and are very good at the job they do , however if they dont want to put seat covers in my car because they are dirty . then i dont want him touching my car. newt is dirty and im not voting for that guy. RON PAUL 2012

    December 13, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Terry

    Gingrich to Staff: OK folks, let's dust off the 1994 Contract with America, those fools will have forgotten that we screwed them back then.

    December 13, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. macb

    Good luck to the Republicans on deciding which multi-millionaire to nominate. If the recent exchange between Romney and Gingrich is an example of what's coming, you're party is so screwed, and Obama will be re-elected. Seriously, Romney is asking Gingrich to give back the $1.8 million he got from Freddie Mac (the organization that Gingrich has condemned in certain speeches, but took money from) and Gingrich is asking Romney to give back the money, I assume millions of dollars, that he says Romney got from Bain Capital for "bankrupting companies and laying off workers" (and Romney is telling us he knows how to get America working again). Next Fall the Democrats won't have to write any orginal TV spots, all they have to do is show the clips from the Republican primaries and Obama will get re-elected.

    December 13, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Wes Monroe wrote:

    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
    No, she didn't. That was Faux photography. Unemployment is now at 8.6%. It measured 7.8% the week Obama was inaugurated, and was up to 8.5% by the time the new Congress convened afterwards for the first time.

    December 13, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Noodle Nose Johnson

    I guess saying Palestinians are an invented people and advocating children working as janitors would be considered positive for Mr. Vitriol. You'll never be President Newt.

    December 13, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. beevee

    This is another political stunt by Gingrich refraining from atacking (verbally) other candidates after he punched (figuretivey) Mitt Romney the other day in the debate. This iguy is too much of a Washington insider in politics and cannot be trusted. The holier than thou is just a talk to fool people.

    December 13, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. jdinhouston

    So Newt wants to bring back old school Republican rules of "do no harm." Let's not forget in his last leadership role, as Speaker, his own party threw him out. Do we really need someone with deep flaws telling us not to expose them?

    December 13, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Jeebus Loves You

    He has to stay positive since his record is so negative.

    December 13, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. michelle

    LOL at the Republican Field!!!!!!

    December 13, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. gg

    dust off CONTRACT ON THE MIDDLE CLASS–lets finish the job

    December 13, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Reefer Power

    I hope that Mr. Romney will try and make a more personal connection with voters, devote more time to some of the challenges he faced in his life, what they taught him, and how it helps him to relate to ordinary people.

    I think he should talk about his time as a volunteer, tragedies and hardships that he faced, how he over came them and how those lessons could help America.

    I think he should devote equal parts to his economic policies, job creation message, and also equal parts to his family life, being a dad and grand dad, being a faithful husband.

    I think Mitt needs to learn the art of the indirect attack. Without ever mentioning your opponent, you should talk about the the things that very clearly attack your opponent in a funny way without being excessively negative.

    Voters appreciate subtlety.

    December 13, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. USA#0

    Americans are so pathetic. They replaced an alleged adulterer (Cain) with a confirmed adulterer.

    USA! USA! USA!

    December 13, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. babs

    Maybe Newt can buy a couple of carats of integrity at Tiffany's.

    December 13, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. anagram_kid

    Unfortunately it is Newt's nature to be spiteful, negative and contrary. He starts fights when they are not necessary for the sole purpose of trying appear smart and tough. He has incredibly low self esteem. Besides, he may enjoy making promises, vows and pledges, but he is a miserable failure at keeping them. He might as well pledge to do a sit up before every debate.

    December 13, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. zip

    Gingrich has vowed to stop committing adultery if he is elected?? Have you seen his wife?? Billy Graham would cheat on her. But he wouldn't stop cheating if he was married to Raquel Welch. He's the Tiger Woods of politics.

    December 13, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. some guy in New Hampshire

    "Please don't call attention to all of my flip-flops, hypocrisy, inconsistencies, and character flaws." Thank you.

    December 13, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    Everyone is focused on Gingrich (and for good reason) while Romney is the bigger snake. Just my opinion.

    December 13, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Stacey

    "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."

    This is the biggest joke of the day. Not only will Obama beat any of the GOP clowns running, even I could beat anyone of these clowns! How would the GOP know how to fix the mess THEY created? Giving more tax breaks to the wealthy who in turn have no intention of hiring? GOP wants to kill the middleclass and starve the poor. No way in hell will they win the White House. It could be many years before the GOP ever captures the White House again. Obstruction and making a sitting president a one-term president will not pay off for the GOP and their supporters in the end. Just wait and see.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    December 13, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Glass houses? Probably a lot of them in this field...

    December 13, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. jmyer

    It is so obvious what Newt is saying by "his not going negative" – he knows what is ahead for him in this contest so he is hoping that by his taking another "pledge" to not be negative in the campaign, that others will follow his example and not be negative about him. People need to know his history/record and if he is qualified to be President. This means going over his past and if there are negatives, the people of the United States deserve to know this information before making a decision.

    December 13, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  25. The Other Michael in Houston

    Wow Newt, how thoughtful of you. So you want everyone else to keep ot clean now that you are the perceived front runner. Nice attempt on deflecting you past. The fact is Newt, they dont want you, well, because you are the biggest hypocrite of all the candidates. The only candadite that the who party would get behind is the one person who can't run because she likes the money too much errrrrrrrrrr I mean because she thinks she will serve better as an attack dog, the posterchild of what is wrong with America, Sarah Palin. So have fun on top while it last........okay Ron Paul supporters, unleash the hounds!

    December 13, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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