Miami, Florida (CNN) - Perhaps it was the strong Cuban coffee.
At a campaign stop at the legendary Cafe Versailles in Miami's little Havana neighborhood, Newt Gingrich served up his toughest critique to date on Mitt Romney's claims on creating jobs.
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Gingrich seized on a new Romney campaign ad that defends the former Massachusetts Governor's record when he led the private investment firm, Bain Capital.
The ad states Romney and Bain created "thousands of jobs," not 100,000 jobs as the former Governor has previously claimed.
When asked about the ad, Gingrich laughed.
"He's now himself changing his claim," Gingrich said.
The former House Speaker called on Romney to produce records from his tenure at Bain to prove his claims.
"He's still not prepared to release any documents from Bain to prove anything," Gingrich said.
Last month, Romney told Time Magazine he and Bain created 100,000 jobs.
"And so I'll compare my experience in the private sector where, net-net, we created over 100,000 jobs. We created over 100,000 jobs," Romney told Time.
That jobs claim does not appear in the new Romney ad.
"Mitt Romney helped create and ran a company that invested in struggling businesses, grew new ones and rebuilt old ones, creating thousands of jobs," the spot states.
In an interview with CNN, Gingrich questioned Romney's claims.
"I'm saying that he misstated the facts," Gingrich said.
A new ARG poll finds Romney and Gingrich in a statistical dead heat for the upcoming South Carolina primary.
Gingrich, who has come under sharp criticism from conservative pundits for his attacks on Romney's Bain record, appeared to be pivoting away from the topic at events in South Carolina on Thursday.
But in his remarks to a packed crowd of Cuban Americans inside the Café Versailles, the former speaker defended his comments, saying the issue is fair game. The Florida primary comes just ten days after South Carolina.
"If he can't stand up today and defend his claim today, how is he going to stand up to Obama in the fall," Gingrich asked.
The former speaker pointed to a recent Washington Post fact-checking column that gave the 100,000 job claim "three Pinocchios."
Gingrich admits he has now abandoned his previous pledge to wage a positive campaign for the GOP nomination. But only, he says, because Romney attacked him first.
"You either unilaterally disarm and quit or you decide you're going to match," Gingrich told CNN.
A pro-Gingrich super PAC, Winning our Future, is now running ads featuring clips of a 30 minute documentary style video that attacks Romney and Bain.
Gingrich, who has previously said he would not tolerate any misstatements from the super PAC, gave no indication he has a problem with the "King of Bain" spots.
The same fact-checking column gave the anti-Romney flick "four Pinocchios."
A new Gingrich campaign ad compares Romney to former Massachusetts Democratic presidential candidates Michael Dukakis and John Kerry.
Gingrich brushed off the possibility the comparison could damage the GOP, in the event Romney becomes the party's nominee.
"The Obama people will figure out their own line of attack," Gingrich said.
"Let him explain his record. It's certainly not a conservative record," the former speaker added.
UPDATE: In a paper statement on Friday afternoon, Newt Gingrich called on Winning Our Future, a super PAC supporting his presidential bid, to edit or take down advertisements and a 30-minute documentary-style film critical of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital if they contained factual errors but he listed no specific problems. He then called on Romney to do the same.
"I am calling for the Winning Our Future Super-PAC supporting me to either edit its "King of Bain" advertisement and movie to remove its inaccuracies, or to pull it off the air and off the internet entirely," he said.
He said accuracy in advertising is a "two way street," and repeated his criticism of ads produced by the Romney campaign and their allies.
"Furthermore, I am once again calling on Governor Romney to issue a similar call for the Super-PAC supporting him to edit or remove its ads which have been shown to contain gross inaccuracies, something the Governor has thus far refused to do," he said in the statement.
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Seems like a clever strategy by Newt to say..."I told my Super PAC to remove the false information, now you tell yours." One...he makes himself seem like an upstanding character. Two...it makes people question what information Romney's PAC (not affiliated with his campaign) distributes that's true or false. This is all about posturing Newt. You're doing it just as much as the next person. This is partly why politics sucks.... and we all gotta live with it.
Fair is Fair wrote
"Finding a good paying job starts with a good education."
Yup. I agree.
See? Me right, all along. You wrong.
Gingrich lies every time he opens his big fat mouth.
Lynda/Minnesota- Yes you have! But I did not get an answer to my question....which is an answer in itself.
The TRUTH sure does hurt.
Fellas the 'me right you wrong' strategy is kindergartten stuff, we're supposed to be grown ups here...
Somebody says 'A is right/happened' without factual proofs that his/her statement is true.
Anyone can go and says 'Somebody' is wrong because of this or that.
Sometimes the proofs of both sides are as valid as they can be since the issue at hand is not 'black' or 'white' but stand in the 'grey' zone, but other times the 'proof' of one side is false, outdated or taken out of its context.
Just 'me right you wrong' won't gonna work...
There is the 'BECAUSE...'
And what a terrible thing to have an American speak a foreign language! Ouch! What a crime to be better educated!
Do we mention that -ooooh – Newt has a Ph.D. in history? an elitist! how terrible!
I feel that the worst kind of politician is one that exaggerates about their resume and hides what he doesn't want people to know. That is Romney. His claim of success as a businessman is greatly exaggerated. His father was a multimillionaire who gave Romney a big start in getting so rich. Worse, he is hiding his income taxes. Virtually every candidate for president for as long as I can remember has made their taxes public – but not Romney. WHAT IS HE HIDING? Not paying any taxes?
The others are not very competent and have a lot of baggage, but at least they are honest.
Romney's people only got him to the top with attack ads against Gingrich. Now he whines like a school gorl when those ads are against him. Typical behavior of a spoiled child...which is what Romney is. In the general, i would happily vote for Newt, but NEVER for Romney.
The GOBP Rove wingnut/teabagger trainwreck implosion continues full speed ahead to SC.
Woman in California- It sure does...thats why most people don't answer!
How funny, the GOP = GREEDY OPPOSITION PARTY is now trying to establish itself as the party of the working class. Working people have absolutely no business nor is it in their self-interest to be voting for any of these Republicans.
If voters really want to make a difference in 2012 they had better be paying as much attention to the House and Senate races as they are to the presidential race.
Nothing will get done from a divided government which has been manifestly clear from the past two years. While China is moving ahead and taking advantage of our inability to get things done, the whole just keeps getting deeper. The only solution to that problem is to stop digging.
I still haven't made up my mind, but I do want the fighting to stop.
Good luck Mr. Gingrich. Truth in advertising is not part of political ads. The more the PACs can stretch the truth and make accusations the better they believe they are doing. It just has gone too far but until the people say enough is enoughthese ads will continue to be broadcast. The television channels do not look for truth in advertising either.
Fair is Fair:
My remark was quite tongue-in-cheek... sort of a curt reponse to a poster who instead of even considering an opinion simply dismissed it out of hand beccse of WHO posted it. Surely you understand that.
I categorically dismissed your "geography" explanation because it was utter nonsense. To explain higher poverty rates and other poor measurements because the states are geographically large? There are too many states that are larger than many of the poorly performing red states that contradict that idea. Take your pick of the upper Midwest. Most of those states are larger than Mississippi or Alabama.
Why did the unions not help the employees buy the businesses Bain Capital is accused of pilliaging and thereby save those union jobs? Unions have done it before and do it today. They could have used union pension funds as seed money to interest other partners and hired their own sympathetic management and even made a profit assuming the companies were as viable as Newt's ads say they were.
There are so many lies in that disgraceful Michael Moore film, for instance, Romney left Bain in 1999 yet he was accused of liquidating KB Toys in 2008. Gingrich's campaign is telling lies in order to destroy Romney. It's Gingrich's way. He's an adulterer, cheater, and lier who says he's changed his ways, but we can see his old self coming through loud and clear. Gingrich is a pompous jerk.
How many jobs has Newtt Gingrich created in his life as a career politician ?
i hope the people in south carolina put gingrich in his proper place 1 percent.
Mittens can fool the anti-Obama types, but he's one phoney, untrustworthy politician in my book. Scary how he changes opinion to match the crowd. And he needs to keep the jeans home; just doesn't work. A lot of the Republicans in my area are very disappointed in the GOP candidates and may actually vote for Obama! I was floored, but they are very moderate folks who think Obama has actually fought for the middle class; they are not wealthy.
Would you vote for Stephen Colbert if he decided to enter the race for the White House? Vote at Nationwidevotes.com
Newt is sending out a smoke screen to see if people will forget he has been feeding at the trough of Freddie Mac.
I refuse to believe the people of Florida are stupid enough to fall for this guy's line of BS. Every crowd has a silver lining.
Gingrich is getting "PACed" by Romney.
Anything coming from Gingrich is a laugh. He has been the man who has destroyed the country more than any other person and he is the responsible for hate that we see in the congress today. He is the man that started it and he cries his way out of all of it only to become a wealthy man as he continues his hate America campaign over and over. Newt Gingrich is not a fine example of an American who loves his country. Loves the money the stupid people have given him, but not his country.