Gingrich dogs Romney with pet story
January 11th, 2012
05:57 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich dogs Romney with pet story

Spartanburg, South Carolina (CNN) – One day after declaring he would not delve into personal attacks, Newt Gingrich kicked the Mitt Romney family dog into the campaign's discourse Wednesday.

Gingrich called out the dog story in a web video posted on his campaign's website that brings up a story about the former Massachusetts governor driving with their family dog, Seamus, riding in a container on the roof of the car.

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Tuesday Gingrich has said he intended to focus entirely on the records of the two candidates.

"Well we're doing everything we can to draw a sharp and clear contrast with Gov. Romney on the record. We're not getting into personal stuff," Gingrich told reporters Tuesday in Bedford, New Hampshire.

The ad, "For the Dogs," is a montage of statements from the former Massachusetts governor, including a clip from Fox News when Chris Wallace asks Romney, "I have a yellow lab named Winston. I would no sooner put him in a kennel on the roof of my car than I would one of my children. Question, what were you thinking?"

Romney responds: "This is a completely air-tight kennel mounted on the top of our car. He climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself. He was in a kennel at home a great deal of time as well. We loved the dog. It was where he was comfortable and we had five kids inside the car and my guess is he liked it a lot better in his kennel than he would have liked it inside."

The Gingrich camp, obviously trying to tug at the heartstrings of animal lovers, cues this exchange and a number of other humorous statements or gaffes to playful-sounding music that concludes with a question on screen: "Imagine what [President Barack] Obama would do with a candidate like that. Only Newt Gingrich can win debates against Obama. Mitt Romney can't."

The web video was posted the day Gingrich began campaigning in South Carolina, the southern primary state with a reputation for mud-slinging politics.

The former speaker often chides his opponents and the media for taking sentences out of context but Gingrich does just that with the first sound bite in the minute-and-a-half web video.

"I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," was Romney's quote from Monday that was widely mocked by his rivals, including Gingrich, who later came to his defense after he found out what Romney was referring to when he made that statement.

"In fact on his comment yesterday, on his comment yesterday on I like firing people, once I saw the whole quote, I said that's not fair to take it out of context, he clearly was talking about the right to choose between service providers, he wasn't actually talking about firing people per se," Gingrich said Tuesday.

Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN

Also see:

Poll: Romney, Santorum tied with Obama in Florida

Gingrich fires up down South

S.C. Republicans plan presidential forum in conservative upstate

Santorum to spend fundraising haul immediately in S.C.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Ramesh Shrestha

    Ginrich does not care about average Americans, when did he start caring so much about animals? Strange things happen in politics.

    January 11, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. DBA

    When Romney took a statement by President Obama out of context– the President was actually quoting John McCain in a criticism of McCain–the Romney campaign replied that 'hey, he said it so it's fair game ' and continued to use it.

    So, you set the standard, Willard Mitt Romney. Quit your whining.

    As for the dog story: that just shows once again that Willard Mitt Romney is utterly tone deaf and oblivious to the suffering of others– whether with four legs or two.

    January 11, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  3. Cindy

    Some how I am not surprised this man is cruel to animals. He looks down his nose at little people so animal cruelity is par for the course. I hope he doesn't have the dog any longer. This man does not seem to have compassion for anything or anyone. God save america from this awful man.

    January 11, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  4. krissmith777

    I guess Newt is not stopping to think that this can have the opposite effect and create Republican sympathy for Romney. This dog story is old, and frankly, it is not as if he cruelly strapped it to the top of the car.

    January 11, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  5. Pat in IL

    Can Gingrich get any more nuts? He is really starting to stretch and grasp at straws. What he needs to do is tell us what he brings to leadership.

    January 11, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Obama must be behind Newt using this story!

    January 11, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  7. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    If one were to criticize Romney based on this, he would retort that you must be against all american's pet owners!!

    January 11, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  8. Larry L

    I wonder if Romney would mistreat his dog if it had cancer... Still, if he did he could become a Catholic and get "forgiven".

    January 11, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. jubilee shine

    per se..

    but romney believes that corporations are people.

    so yes that is was he was talking about. dont shrink now newt.

    January 11, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. Donkey Party

    If it was an "air-tight" kennel, how did Seamus breathe? Not a very good lie, Willard.

    January 11, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  11. HF

    per say...LOL. Gingrich's goof or yours?

    January 11, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  12. DAT

    Wow! "completely air-tight" – how's that work?

    January 11, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  13. lsm

    I used to admire Gingrich's knowledge and debate skills, but he lost all credibility with me when he revealed his vicious side. Who's the flip flopper now? Go Romney.

    January 11, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  14. DENNA

    Seriously Newt? Really? YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO OCCUPY THE WHITE HOUSE. LET IT GO! I would never vote for Romney, but you are a nut! Why don't you and plastic Barbie go home and enjoy the rest of your lives out of public view?

    January 11, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  15. Uthor

    Yeah, OK. Talk about the rooftop dog all you want. But it's the economy, stupid. How can Gingrich, an insider, and a politician seasoned by four decades or more of campaign battle be so clueless? He's grasping at straws.

    January 11, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  16. JQuinlan

    Being callous enough to travel with a dog on the car roof is a good indication of how Romney feels about anything that is helplessly dependent on him.

    January 11, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  17. Mk54

    All fair in love, politics and war. The Republicans didn't invent political dirty tricks, but they sure have become expert at using them.

    January 11, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  18. m

    Hmmm, an air-tight container. Was the dog fitted with an oxygen tank?

    January 12, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  19. annebeth

    Anyone that would treat a dog like a piece of luggage, to be strapped to the vehicle, should not own a pet. Pets deserve to be treated better than this. Next Romney will strap on of his kids or his wife to the luggage rack, if he runs out of room in the car.

    January 12, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  20. Dixie Independent voter

    An air tight kennel? How did the dog breathe?

    January 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  21. Golbez

    Gingrich is so slimy. Not that Romney's any better. What a whole, filthy pile of excrement, these candidates.

    January 12, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  22. who me?

    Wow....Mitt must have had a "Super Dog"! I have never heard of any living creature that could survive 12 hours in an airtight container. Where can I get a dog like this?

    January 12, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  23. Roger

    So the kennel was "air tight" you say? So you wanted it to die of suffocation instead of exposure? Real compassionate fellow you are, Mr. Romney.

    January 12, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  24. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    The Newt claims that putting the dor in a safe kennel tied to the roof of a car means Romney can't beat Obama. He then says that only the Newt can beat Obama.

    Lets check our facts shall we. Romney has a long history of marital fidelity, the Newt has a long string of mistresses and a history of never being faithful to his current wife. Romney has a long history of Honest public service, the Newt has a long history of ethics violations. Romney has enough money to be bribeproof while the Newt is one of the finest politicians money can buy. Not that he stays bought: the Newt isn't even Louisiana honest, where once you buy a politician he stays bought.

    I can see the Newt's point. He should be the Republican choice. Romney seems to be too honest to keep the Reublicans happy. Let the Newt run. Run Newty run.

    January 12, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  25. clarke

    Newt leave the dog out of this.

    January 12, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
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