Washington (CNN) – In the wake of a CNN interview Tuesday where former House Speaker Newt Gingrich unloaded on fellow candidate Mitt Romney, Romney's campaign was quick to call the fusillade a "drive-by shooting." In what may well be the next chapter, Romney will also sit down on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" Wednesday.
Russ Schriefer, one of Romney's top campaign advisers, appeared on "John King, USA" Tuesday to respond to the earlier Gingrich interview.
"I'm not sure this was the happy warrior Gingrich or a candidate who was lashing out because he was having a really bad week. He's had sinking poll numbers across the country; he wasn't able to make the Virginia ballot," Schriefer said. "He had to cancel half his schedule in Iowa this week…and he's lashing out in a way that shows he doesn't have a real campaign message other than that he doesn't like the campaign ads that are being shown."
After Gingrich challenged the former Massachusetts governor to a one-on-one debate in Iowa before next week's caucuses Schriefer made clear the campaign has no intention of taking him up on that offer.
"Newt Gingrich just isn't special, and shouldn't have a one-on-one debate," said Schriefer. He pointed out that Romney has appeared in more than 10 debates with Gingrich and is scheduled to participate in two more in New Hampshire.
Schriefer dismissed as "disingenuous" Gingrich's demand that Romney be "man enough" to tell his super PAC to take down negative ads attacking Gingrich. By law it's illegal for a candidate to coordinate with the PACs that advertise on their behalf, but a candidate can make public statements commenting on the ads.
Pointing to Gingrich's history of running negative campaigns Schriefer said, "I think that the problem here is not that he doesn't like these kinds of ads, he just doesn't like when these kinds of ads are used against him."
Gingrich has recently been calling Mitt Romney a "Massachusetts moderate," a description Romney used himself during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign. Schriefer defended that language from 2002 suggesting it was necessary in Massachusetts–"one of the bluest states"–but insists Romney governed as a conservative.
He also turned the tables and accused Gingrich of "moving to the left."
"The problem is that Newt Gingrich, the longer he's been in Washington he's become more liberal," said Schriefer, "He's the guy who sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi at the invitation of Al Gore. He's the guy who threw the Paul Ryan spending Medicare reform plan under the bus calling it right-wing social engineering."
Gingrich has said he plans to run a positive campaign and repeated that claim to Wolf Blitzer. When asked about "The Situation Room" interview, Schriefer responded, "you call that positive?"