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. kimi

    Go home Newt your time is over ... like ten years ago.

    January 11, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  2. Jon

    What difference does it make whether Obama or Romney or Gingrich are elected? Republican or Democrat, it's all the same system. The game is to keep the current brand of national socialism or what ever you want to call it; Lincoln and Clay called it the American System, alive. This election has nothing to do with individual Americans other than to buy their votes. All the folks that are in power are pretty much the same they just have slightly different clients that they work for. We need do devolve the current system of its power and begin to rebuild from the local level, to the states, then to Washington. It's not going to change much for the average American even if the economy gets fixed. The moral and ethical underpinnings that once existed and eroded over the last hundred years are gone. Corporate and human individualism have destroyed what used to be agreed to as the common good. The dignity of the human individual is at an all time low (just check out the language that we use on these com boxes. Basically we are spinning our wheels on this election. We will have to hit bottom before we finally can get together to figure out what to do. Republican Party or Democratic Party do not hold the answer as things stand now. May God have mercy on the United States!

    January 11, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  3. cgridley

    You gotta love Newt, when he's slinging the mud its alright, when he's catching it, he crys for his momma !!!!

    January 11, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  4. Terry

    I wonder how long the voters of South Carolina will stand for the Republicans treating them like fools? People in South Carolina are poorer than most other states, and the Middle Class of South Carolina is now classified as "High End Poverty". As the new national poverty level studies are released, I think the Republicans are going to have numerous questions to answer.

    January 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  5. RJP3

    every word of the attacks on Newt were true - he is of course a cheat and a liar

    January 12, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  6. Tim

    somebody hand newt a twinkie and tell him to settle down....

    January 12, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  7. WhereIsPalin

    Super PACs. They bring out the best in American politics.

    January 12, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  8. Neurotoxin

    Yes, Newt, bury Romney. You're a zombie, despite what Ari Fleischer says, your candidacy ended when you couldn't place in either Iowa or NH. But do this last good deed in your political career and break any chance Romney has of a unified nomination – THAT'LL propel Ron Paul.

    January 12, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  9. AgrippaMT

    It is going to be a lot of fun watching Gingrich self-destruct and destroying himself and the Republican party in South Carolina. Be sure to stay tuned. It's far from over.

    January 12, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  10. ThinkAgain

    If only it really were Armageddon and all the Repub "candidates" just disappeared from the face of the earth ...

    January 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  11. tommytd

    Every day this Party Of No infighting continues moves us closer to another Dem victory! Way to go GOP.

    January 12, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  12. mergetroid

    "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."

    So Gingrich is actually helping Romney by attacking him. What a nice guy.

    January 12, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  13. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Gingrich: South Carolina will be 'Armageddon' of attacks◄
    Lead by PITT-grinch and his PerryWinkle "dogs" matching the rhetoric to the max

    Blah, Blah!!

    Obama 2012!!

    January 12, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  14. John Brown

    Mitt is just another Meg Whitman! Meg fired thousands of HP employees and transferee the jobs to China. Mitt fired employees all the company he bought. Both for their greed. They are not for little people. These kinds of people will not create jobs!! They are the ones who failed and bankrupt America during Bush & Chenney 8 years in White House.

    I will not vote for Mitt! He is fake like Meg Whitman. They think they can buy Presidency with their money! It does not work like that.

    Meg was failed! And Mitt Romney will have the same fate!

    Obama – Biden 2012!!

    January 12, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  15. Kim

    Newt Gingrich was an embarrassment on Piers Morgan tonight..he's proven himself to be a small, angry, bitter old man, not fit for POTUS.

    January 12, 2012 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  16. Meagan

    Newt looks like the Angry Stay Puff marshmallow man from Ghostbusters. When Obama wins the next election we can thank Newt. I would wonder when someone is going to remind everyone of his ethics charges while Speaker of the house?

    January 12, 2012 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  17. Jon Doe

    You mean NEWT, I have more wives than Romney? The same NEWT who created NAFTA that sent all our jobs to India? The same NEWT who took bribes from Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac mortages and Big Pharma? The same NEWT that had problems as Speaker of the House? The same NEWT who is supported by casino gambler, Sheldon Adelson and Sarah Palin's husband, Todd Palin? The same NEWT that supported Obama's signing of the NDAA which takes away all our rights as American Citizens and allows any citizen of the U.S. to be tortured without trial by jury? The same NEWT that can't even get 10,000 signatures in his own state of Virginia? That NEWT?? Nah! Only RON PAUL and RON PAUL ONLY to restore America. RON PAUL 2012!!!!

    January 12, 2012 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  18. Bob

    It looks more like Waterloo to me, Newt. Yours.

    January 12, 2012 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  19. Bob

    What really amazes me about this guy is that everyone knows he's had his finger in the pie all along, and yet he expects people to elect him president.

    January 12, 2012 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  20. devonshire

    Gingrich just loves to portray himself as Saint Gingrich. His use of manipulated euphemism's to score points is a credit to his ability to hide his baggage. But if you look at statements made by members who served with him in Congress it is readily apparent that he is unfit to be President. He claims to be a Reagan conservative. Reagan was a leader Gingrich is one of the rotten apples that fell from the Reagan tree. Here is what former Congressman Nuttercutt has to say about Gingrich. "It was a distraction that we didn't need with so many policy problems to solve,” says former GOP Rep. George Nethercutt, who, like all but a handful of Gingrich’s former colleagues, is not supporting his 2012 run for the presidency. “What concerns me is that I see the same behavior from Gingrich now—you just never know what’s coming with him. When you’re president, there’s little room for error.” "But it was also a period of extreme volatility, serial charges of unethical conduct by Gingrich, and a management style so disorganized and unpredictable that within three years, his own lieutenants tried to depose him in a chaotic coup. By the time he was forced out in 1998, many former members say they were terrified to open up the newspaper in the morning, fearful he had said or done that could cause them political heartburn."

    January 12, 2012 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  21. Charlie in Maine

    Really Newt? Really? You are quoting Sadaam Husien? Are you thinking clearly? I would not vote for you in a gazillion years, but I tink you are risking the support of your base here. The evangelical Christians will not like you throwing around the "A" word like it just meant a serious fight, the "neo-conmen" hawks of your party will not like you quoing "the most evil of evildoers (or however W put it). I think your time is done. Although I am looking forward to watching your movie about Romney.

    January 12, 2012 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  22. Thron

    Well, we know neither Gingrich or Perry understand that increasing profits from cutting waste and bloated staffing through more efficiency in the private sector is equivalent to increasing take home pay for taxpayers by cutting waste and bloated staffing through more efficiency in government. The fact that both are demonizing Romney from doing it in the private sector would indicate each will keep a bloated inefficient federal government for fear a federal employee that spends eight hours a day watching porn of the internet will not be fired so his family does not suffer the pain of not receiving a pay check from taxpayers. Sounds Greek to me.

    January 12, 2012 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  23. Scott

    Quit crying Loony Newt

    January 12, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  24. mb2010a

    Give it up, Newt. You're not wanted in this race anymore...

    January 12, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  25. deadeyeAZ

    Newt, "you aren't young enough, or pretty enough, to be president, besides you are an ethical and moral cancer".

    January 12, 2012 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
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