Gingrich: South Carolina will be 'Armageddon' of attacks
January 11th, 2012
06:41 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich: South Carolina will be 'Armageddon' of attacks

(CNN) – Newt Gingrich said Wednesday a relentless attack from his rivals ultimately eroded his will to stay positive in the race for the GOP nomination.

Speaking with CNN's Piers Morgan, the former House speaker said Mitt Romney's refusal to disavow attack ads produced by a super PAC sponsoring his candidacy left him with no choice but to go negative.

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"I concede that every effort I made to stay positive and every effort I made to talk Romney out of doing this failed," Gingrich said. "But you can't - you know you can't unilaterally disarm unless you want to get out of the race. And since this is the objective reality we have no choice."

A super PAC supporting Gingrich's own candidacy recently purchased more than $3 million of ad space in South Carolina, and is preparing to unleash a scathing attack on Romney's time as CEO of the private investment firm Bain Capital.

Gingrich didn't mince words about the battle in the Palmetto State.

"This is going to be Armageddon – they are going to come in here with everything they've got, every surrogate, every ad, every negative attack," Gingrich said. "At the same time we'll be drawing a sharp contrast between a Georgia Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate who's pro-gun control, pro-choice, pro-tax increase, pro-liberal judge, and the voters of South Carolina will have to look and decide."

Gingrich framed the attacks on the former Massachusetts governor as a gauntlet any candidate must face if they expect to succeed against President Barack Obama.

"The last thing you want is to nominate somebody who collapses in September because they can't answer the questions," Gingrich said. "I mean, so you better answer - you know, people want to attack me for my past, that's fine. I either will answer it and be ready to be the nominee or I won't. Romney ought to have to meet the same test."

Gingrich, who has sparred with Romney frequently at debates, said he had no personal opinion of his opponent.

"No, I have no view," Gingrich said when asked his personal judgment of Romney.

He continued, "He is a competitor. He's somebody who I think was unnecessarily negative and who ran - who knows that some of the things he ran were not true. But that's his decision. That's how he wants to play the game."

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.

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • President Obama • South Carolina • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Lisa

    What is it with this man and his war analogies? First he likens not being allowed on the Virgina ballot to Pearl Harbor and now SC to Armageddon? If he likes war so much, perhaps he should have considered volunteering to serve even though he says he wasn't required to do so.

    January 11, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. Thomas

    JAN 21 THE MOTHER OF ALL PRIMARY'S !

    South Carolina will be 'Armageddon' of attacks

    Thank God Mitt Romney's five sons avoided volunteering for military service in a time of war. They will be needed now in there fathers election campaign.

    January 11, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. avic de jesus

    Newt, you need to grow-up! This is the reason why you could never be president. You have uncontrollable rage and a violent temper. You are not the center of the universe and you will go down in history as the only speaker who was fined for ethics violation and you were rejected by your own colleagues. Get out of the race, you are not good for the party anymore!

    January 11, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  4. Hank

    Hey Newt, your attack on free enterprise and capitalism reveals your true liberal colors. Because your ideology matches so closely with the Occupy Movement, I guess I'm not surprised to see you sitting on the same couch with Nancy Pelosi chatting up environmental concerns.

    Let me guess, you also think the government should expand the EPA and also close up all oil drilling, right?

    You're pathetic Newt!

    January 11, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Let the mud fly! I hope to hear about it and wonder if it will take someone down.

    January 11, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  6. brett

    The Republicans are imploding within. They really should be focusing on what Obama has not done, and attack him and his failures not each other. This is the plan for the left. Ask yourself why the head of La Razza was just appointed a higher position by Obama, and why the media is not reporting that Obama gave amnesty to 215,000 illegalsfrom El Salvador. Can you smell prospective voters for Obama. Yes the Chicago machine is gearing it up for the elections and since he is down in the polls, he resorts to this kind of tactic....again.

    January 11, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. SecedingfromTexas

    Sorry I missed this show.
    Did Gingrich mention that his lawyer sent letters to all of the media in South Carolina and Florida threatening them
    with lawsuits if they run Romney's ad regarding the @300,000 fine, saying it was not true?
    Gingrich can pretend he wanted to be positive, but this stuff is what he lives for, and his long-time "angel" in
    Las Vegas just gave him the funds he needed: $5M....and more to come.... apparently.
    I can't believe some of you really want any of these guys running our Country.

    January 11, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  8. Navy_CPO

    By the time this is over the GOP will have beaten their candidate up so much the general election will be no contest....

    January 11, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  9. Bob in Florida

    Gingrich is nothing but a Washington insider, liar, and made millions off of the housing disaster while posing as a "consultant." Remember his "Contract with America?" Well, is and every one of the programs that he swore he was either going to get rid of or reduce funding to actually received more funding! This guy is in serious denial, and is a serious liar...

    January 11, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. pcf621

    A bad history has a way of bitting you in the butt. Gingrich was forced to be the first Speaker of the House to resign in US history. He had 84 ethics violations brought against him. He plea bargined with the commission to a few of the charges if the others would be dropped. He was found guilty by a vote of 395-28. And people want to put this guy back into public office, much less President of the USA. Those people are either stupid or corrupt. Gingrich got rich off of us taxpayers. He should be tarred and feathered – not elected.

    January 11, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  11. Larry in Houston

    This will be "the Newters" Implosion. Romney drove him to it. He just can't help himself. The guy that owns the Venetian Hotel -in Vegas- gave the Newter some resources, amazing, isn't it ? I guess 5 Million is like 5 drops of water, in a huge bucket, compared to the Billions he's got. I will have to say – I've been there, took a ride in that canoe -all the way around that moat. That Venetian Hotel is Built with granite and Marble, with Goldleaf on practically every statue. I guess it's HIS money.

    RON PAUL 2012

    January 11, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. M.Adams

    An old Arab proverb says this:
    "The enemy of my enemy is not my enemy-he is my friend."

    If our Republican candidates do not quite firing at each other, Obama will win again. Sad.

    January 11, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  13. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Show him the angry salamander, Newt!!

    January 11, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  14. conoclast

    We have to be careful of what we wish for regarding Gingrich: we only want enough of him to goad Romney into exposing his skeletons-but no more, fer godsake! If he were somehow the actual nominee whole gameplans would have to be tossed! And any third-party thoughts would die a-borning. It would be no fun at all!

    January 11, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  15. jim

    Thank Roger Ailes and Lee Atwater. GOP eating their young for our entertainment. This really is the stupidest election cycle since Nixon-McGovern.

    January 11, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  16. richard mcenroe

    That's the Georgia Reagan Conservative who never owned a gun in his life we're talking about here? Who boasts about not owning a second vacation home but forgets to mentions his $500k tab at Tiffany's? People, whatever you think about Romney, and there's a lot not to like, remember this is the Newt Gingrich who was thrown out by his own party back in '98. He hasn't improved with age.

    January 11, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  17. ichabod

    Well at least we see what Newt's word is worth, NOTHING. I guess we already knew that, just ask all of his wives. Newt: "I promise to be faithful and 'till death do us part." FAIL! Now he is adding "poor loser" to his line of oh so wonderful credentials. Don't go away mad, Newt, just go away...

    January 11, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  18. DENNA

    Newt, you are a disgusting little man. You have zero chance of being president. Go buy your latest wife some jewelry from Tiffany's and retire. I love Tiffany's. I'll send you my address and you can pick out a piece for me. LOL

    January 11, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  19. Independent from NH

    Considering the plethora of recent conservative judgments against doing this exact thing, attacking a fellow Republican for free market principles for example, and the huge backing Romney is getting from major league players like Nikki Haley and Jim DeMint's adviser's, this will undoubtedly backfire and cause more damage to Newt in the end. He may gain a few percentage points more in the South Carolina primary but ultimately he will be judged by his lack of character, and most importantly, going against the establishment (I can't believe I said that-but it's true!).

    January 11, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  20. GrandInquisitor

    With gingrich we would get compassionate capitalism. That is where no one loses and everyone wins with the US tax payers picking up the tab. Sound familiar?

    January 11, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. BJRTexas

    "Armageddon," eh? Well, isn't that a lovely description of United States politics? Folks, it just isn't supposed to be this mean-spirited! And Newt Gingrich is the meanest, most spiteful man in the race. Please remember how hateful he was as Speaker of the House; he has not changed one bit! Oh, well, of course, he has changed wives - again.

    January 11, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  22. Benjamin Franklin

    newt, the ultimate, consummate slime ball is self-identifying when he talks
    about negative political ads. that has been his MO from day 1 even before he resigned as speaker to avoid prison

    January 11, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  23. Uomo Del Ghiaccio

    Newt Gingrich is such a hypocrite. He went negative first with his implied attacks while saying that he would not go negative. Eventually he was the front runner and when was attacked as is expected (all front runners get attacked, every time , every year) some how Newt Gingrich felt that he should be left alone and not vetted. He was not able to stand up to the pressure that now is angry and is lashing out in typical Newt Gingrich style. Why he chose to attack Capitalism and espouse Socialism, it had to guess. I suppose he felt that lashing out from the left would be unexpected. He seemed to forget that his attack mirrors the attacks that the liberals use against conservatives.

    The weird thing is that Rick Perry appears to be following in Newt Gingrich's ill-fated footsteps. This spell the ruin of both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry and will likely remain with them for years to come.

    January 11, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  24. alkarrk

    Hogswallop. Newt's hypocrisy knows no bounds. I'm sure Obama is loving this guy doing his dirty work for him. You don't usually expect those kind of attacks on the free enterprise system from a "conservative Republican" as Newt calls himself. Mitt will rise above. We all know there is no way Newt could beat Obama–in a war of "checkered pasts" Newt wins, hands down over Romney. But Romney will win the nomination, hands down, over Newt. Romney 2012!

    January 11, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  25. Kit Gainer

    Stomp em dead Newt.

    January 11, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
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