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

    Gingrich pledging fidelity is kind of like a puppy swearing off of peanut butter – meaningless.

    December 13, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Dixon

    What a jokster that Gingich is. How would he win the nomination with a positive campain and no lies? lol I heard a better one the other day...He signed the usual Republican "pledge" to remain true to his wife...lol Like he has a choice in that. Thanks for the laughs Newt.

    December 13, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. M Hobart

    Of course Newt wants to "stay positive" since there is so much in his history and positions to attack. Remember that Newt is one of the authors of the recent (last 20 years) revival of attack-dog politics, so he knows what it can do to the subjects of attacks.

    December 13, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. glyder

    if you like obama,i don't see why you wouldn't like newt.except for those party sheep of course.

    December 13, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Jake

    I can only imagine what the Clintons are feeling, the hell Newt put the country through during the 90's is going to come ten folds right back at him in this new "frontrunner" status! and somewhere Bill and Hillary will be smiling with the rest of us!

    December 13, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Kevin O.

    NEWSFLASH!!!\

    We don't want NICE, we want ACCOUNTABILITY/REALIBILITY.
    We don't want a PRIEST, we want a PRESIDENT.

    And quite frankly I don't want an old scrotum running around. I want a younger person who isn't all FAT and GROSS.

    December 13, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. Tired of Nonsense

    Neither the current nor the wannabe presidents have a desire to ACTUALLY fix the problems in this country....EXCEPT Ron Paul! He's the only one without a selfish motive...period. Therefore he's the only one we can trust! Get with it people.

    December 13, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. DC Observer

    The majority of the republican candidates withdrew and that was the smart thing to do as this was a circus with an arrogant self centered reality TV host as moderator – NUTS. Newt signed up because he belongs in a circus with Trump and Newt already knew Trump is going to endorse him. Santorum signed up because he has no money; has little chance to stay in; and this gave him some more exposure. Trump is so full of himself – my dog has a better chance running as an Independent than Mr Wig, and my dog has better hair (and it is his own).

    As for Gingrich, if he wins the GOP nomination, he will destroy the Republicans' chances for the White House for a second time. Newt cannot beat Obama because he has too much baggage; is an insider with a dirty recond in Congress; cannot get independents or moderates to support him, and will make the election about him and not the economy and debt – this plays right into Obama's hands as Obama would win hands down on an election based on character – not so against Romney.. If Republicans do not wake up and realize they must compromise in the primaries and select Mitt Romney, they have no hope of capturing the White House in 2012. Only Mitt can get the Independents and moderates –and unlike Newt, there will be no character issues (cheating on a wife who had cancer; or undermining President Herbert Bush in the balanced budget amendment vote that sunk the GOP under Newt"s watch when he lied to then President Bush.

    Newth has real issues. Issues of character. Issues of policy. Issues of trustworthiness. Issues of honesty. On top of this, Newt is just not a nice man – he is vicious – will change his position on a dime – and will outright lie about his record and what he stands for. Gingrich will never be President The only thing Newt might be able to accomplish, is to derail the republican's bid for the Oval Office a second time, and damage the GOP

    December 13, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. dmnewberg

    Translated:
    "As long as I think I am ahead, let's refrain from negative campaigning."

    December 13, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. SaintM

    @USA#0: NOT SO FAST - the candidates you are talking about are the ones running for the REPUBLICAN ticket.

    We already know who the democratic nominee is, and all the smart Americans will be voting for a second term for President Obama. Care to tell us where you're from and how much better your leader is than ours ???

    December 13, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Rajiv Shaw

    I guess he will stay positive because he agrees with the criticism!

    December 13, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Maine LIberal

    Will he break his Vow of fidelity in marriage or fidelity to party first

    December 13, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. RIcky Bobby

    WHY IS EVERY ARTICLE ON CNN ABOUT GINGRICH!?! CNN, try to give more BALANCED COVERAGE! Why don't you just slap a big NEWT 2012 sticker on the homepage? Or perhaps more appropriately, keep propping up Newt as the front runner with the ulterior motive...OBAMA 2012

    December 13, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. Roland

    Once a deer needed to cross a stream, and the only way to get across was on the back of an alligator. The deer made the alligator promise to ferry him across and not eat him. Three quarters of the way across the stream the alligator tossed up the deer and ate him. A hippo nearby saw the whole thing and said- "why did you eat him? You promised you would not do what you have in the past." To which the alligator responded- "don't blame me- I'm an alligator."

    Newt is an alligator. He has no chance whatsoever against Obama.

    December 13, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    I would hardly call talking about a tax plan that would significantly accelerate the redistribution of the nation's wealth to the already extremely wealthy whle screwing the middle-class "positive." But keep taling, Newtered, please...do tell us what you'd do after enacting such a "tax reform" and ending child labor laws....

    December 13, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Eric of Reseda

    And of course this is WILDLY transparent. Few candidates have more to be ashamed of, and Gingrinch is using this as a ploy to keep other candidates from bringing up his murky past.

    December 13, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. minellimu

    Newt for POTUS? Are Americans ready for a first lady who slept with a married man?

    December 13, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. Bryan Campbell

    How convenient... let's not say anything bad about each other.. this usually comes from the person who has the most to hide

    December 13, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. ChrisM

    Newt vows. lol And anyone who believes NEWT, I have, just for you, such a deal on a bridge and some ocean front property. Can the Newt supporters be any more ??????

    December 13, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. atypical

    he'd be better off vowing to stay honest and reasonable. . . sigh. . . ain't gonna happen.
    at any rate I hope there are enough reasonable-minded people out there that will vote to keep this clown miming on the sidelines.

    December 13, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. mmichelle79

    He says stay positive. I'm thiking that he means no more mud slinging with the other candidates.

    I'll never understand why everyone is so protective of Obama. How has your life changed that you'd like to keep him office? Please tell me, because my life has been unaffected. I see no change, and hear only excuses coming from Mr. President. He promised the world on during his campaign, but then he says he needs more time, meaning, "re-elect me". Why didn't you say so in the first place? Oh, that's right, you had no idea what you were talking about.

    Now that you no longer have Bush to blame, you are just blaming Republicans, period. I really hope that the people who actually go out and vote this time are not ignorant enough to fall for his pep rally antics again.

    December 13, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. jk from MN

    Isn't a marriage vow a pledge, too?

    December 13, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. terry

    Because if HE goes negative, it will be a PIG pile on the ... well, on Porky himself!

    December 13, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Democrats answer to everything, TAX THE RICH, TAX BUSINESS

    It is very simple really. Have a campaign to discuss issues and their solutions. Obama has already shown he doesn't have a clue about how to fix the economy. Borrow a trillion from China and spend it on his unions supporters? Ooops, didn't work! Now he's left with nothing but class warfare to try and buy votes by giving tax breaks for some that are funded by other taxpayers. Didn't they call this walking around money back in the old corrupt days of buying votes?

    December 13, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. loathstheright

    A snake is still a snake when it sheds it's skin...Newt is no different.

    December 13, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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