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. CedarRapids

    positive campaign? from the guy that the other day went on a jewish channel and declared the palestinian people an 'invented people'?
    yeah nothing negative about that newt.

    December 13, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Dante

    This is about as self-serving a statement as they come. Of course he wants to limit "attacks" now that he has a lead in the polls. Somehow I doubt this would have come up if he was still trailing by a large margin.

    December 13, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. Brian

    Newt's record, both public and private, is a target-rich environment. It's in his own best interest to take the high road and, if the polls were any other way, his record also shows he would be more than happy to pick up the mud.

    December 13, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Sean

    Too late. Every single one of them is damaged goods. With the possible exception of Huntsman, none of them have a shot at the Presidency in a general election.

    December 13, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. susan

    You can bet there is a REASON for this maneuver. Politics are suppose to be played clean. He will eat them alive. However, i dont think there is a candidate from the GOP that can win the Presidency.
    I see a lot of blogs saying Santorum is 'holier than thou'. he has his skeleton's too. He's not worth vetting at this point, but if he is, people won't be saying how holy he is. He LOST his seat in PA because the voters were too smart.

    December 13, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Translation: "Hi, I'm Newtered Gingrich, and I'm terrified that if Mittens goes on the attack and airs my filthy laundry...and oh boy am I prone to ethical skidmarks...then I'll have to do likewise and attack him, challenging his self-serving nihilist which case we destroy each other and Obama has all that much less work to do. I'd much rather we play nicey nice and hide both of our faults from everyone, avoid as much vetting as possible, and then the nominee can continue the entire denial charade straight through until November 2012."

    December 13, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Shorter Newtered: "I won't show yours if you don't show mine. Let's keep them int he dark and thinking we're both hung."

    December 13, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Kiki

    Moderates and inepedents won't touch Newt with a ten foot pole. They like Huntsman and Romney to a lesser degree but luckily the right wing zealots will make sure the Repubs have an unelectable candidate.

    December 13, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    " ... and then the nominee can continue the entire denial charade straight through until November 2012. ...."
    ....and beyond.

    December 13, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |

    Gingrich is a loser and it is a sad to think that this is the best you guys got to offer. Scorch earth policy as it relates to Obama is going nowhere fast. I think that everytime i listen to fox news i realize how irrevelent the republican parting has become and how ignorant its followers must be. God help us !

    December 13, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Tweedledum and Tweedledee , The best and the Brightest the GOP has.

    Anybody who can beat Obama Wanted , regardless of qualifications !

    December 13, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. lloyd roberts

    Some people want this overweight albino beluga whale, thrice married, religious converted, flip flopper to represent the United States on the world stage. How embarrasing

    December 13, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Geo

    Wouldn't Gingrich be an odd candidate. It seems many of his fellow Republicans, those who have worked with him in the past, can't stand being in the same room with him. His blatant adulteries have to be unappealing for women, no matter how many fundamentalist ministers say he has found God and is now forgiven. His flip flopping on issues are as consistent as Romney, if not worse. His bomb throwing statements put any thoughtful independent person on edge. His bedding with Freddie Mac during the meltdown as a "historian". (If historians get paid millions of dollars, why would anyone be a doctor or lawyer or start a business). He is rude and pugnacious, brilliant and intellectual, self assured and self serving, a multicolored personality as compared to the blank canvass of Romney. He towers in the intellectual wasteland of conservatism whose idealogy is now simply to enrich the the wealthy elite, throwing out the promise that if you believe, maybe, just maybe, close your eyes and believe, a little of that weatlh will dribble down from there gourmand cheeks to the middle class and poor.

    December 13, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. joe the plumber

    don't need him to stay positive. Need him to get in touch with reality.

    December 13, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. Truman

    The GOP might as well pack your bags, and just end the election now. Everyone knows Newt is not going to win, and neither is Romney. Lets not even put effort. You can't win against obama, and Im not an obama supporter either. I can care less. The only person that has more wisdom than all these clowns is RON PAUL. But no one is going to vote for him, and hes not going to get the media attention. He should get media attention, and id love for him to be president.

    December 13, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. amac

    Like Gingrich, I'm staying positive too...... positive I'll never, ever cast my vote for him.

    December 13, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. WhereIsPalin

    "said he would refrain from attacking.... "

    Why don't they all just sign a contract??

    December 13, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Jarod

    This is a page right out of Reagans book, and fortunately/unfortunately (depending on which side you are, this works. Now they cant talk up Newts horrible character references (Lord knowa Obama wont) and if accepted, would increase Newts chances for nomination. Dont fall for it Ron, put a dagger int that pigs heart (non threat) and go for the win!

    December 13, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    "Vows to stay positive"? Is that why he made the snarky remark to Romney during the ABC debate, that the only reason Romney isn't a career politician is because he lost to Ted Kennedy in 1994?

    BTW, Romney should have come back with the only reason Gingrich's career as a politician ended was because Gingrich resigned from Speaker of the House in disgrace, after paying $300,000 in fines for ethics violations that included writing bad checks.

    December 13, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. ILikeRush

    There is a diferance between attacking someone and fighting back after being attacked.

    December 13, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. ILikeRush

    There is a difference between attacking someone and fighting back after being attacked.

    December 13, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    Mitt Romney has taken a nose dive in the polls and is a fool who deserves to lose if he decides not to go after Newt. You can't beat Newt Gingrich playing Mr. Nice Guy. Just ask the class of 1994 how well Newt works with others.

    December 13, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. Bill in Florida

    Only the front-runner can claim to run a positive campaign. Everybody else must go negative; the GOP has proven that negative ads work (c.f., swift-boatng John Kerry), so Newt can expect lots of attack ads from Romney and others. Romney is not going to give up this race to Newt easily. And if Newt starts dropping in the polls, guess what - he'll go negative.

    December 13, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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    December 13, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. CoJo

    so why is Gingrich willing to lower the rich taxes to 20%, but he won't reduce the middle class's tax rate? He's playing favorites to the rich AGAIN... if he did it with equal ratios, the middle class tax rate(if my math is right) would be 8.6%

    It's also amazing CNN does not challenge him on it...

    December 13, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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