In shift, Romney campaign targets Gingrich
January 18th, 2012
01:02 PM ET
6 years ago

In shift, Romney campaign targets Gingrich

Spartanburg, South Carolina (CNN) - Mitt Romney hit Newt Gingrich over job creation claims Wednesday, the latest in a sudden escalation of attacks by Romney's campaign on the former House speaker.

"The Speaker the other day at the debate was talking about how he created millions of jobs when he was working with the Reagan administration," Romney told an audience standing outdoors at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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"Well, he had been in Congress two years when Ronald Reagan came to office."

Romney said jobs are created by the private sector, not government.

"Congressman taking credit for creating jobs is sort of like Al Gore taking credit for creating the Internet," Romney said.

The direct hit was the latest in a torrent of coordinated criticism unleashed by Romney's campaign Wednesday, perhaps a sign the campaign sees the former speaker as a growing threat in the days before South Carolina's primary.

In contrast, Romney complimented Gingrich in a Republican debate two days earlier.

"I appreciate the speaker's work working in the Reagan years and in the Clinton years," he said during the Myrtle Beach forum. "We did see good growth in this country. I want to see that come back again."

The campaign seemed to shift tactics Wednesday, releasing a pair of web videos that featured two of Gingrich's former congressional colleagues, Rep. Susan Molinari and Sen. Jim Talent, who charged the GOP candidate was an "undisciplined" and "unreliable leader."

On a morning conference call for reporters organized by the Romney campaign, the legislators - both Romney supporters - took another opportunity to hit Gingrich's leadership record as House speaker.

The Romney campaign held a similar conference call in Iowa in early December, when Gingrich was leading in many state polls.

Molinari told reporters Gingrich lacked the "temperament" to lead the Republican party, and both legislators charged the speaker was a lone operator who did not always act in the party's best interest.

"If the speaker's the nominee, he's going to be the issue," Talent said.

In a statement, Gingrich's campaign released a list of current and retired Congressional supporters who they said stood firmly behind the former speaker's record.

"With several former and current members endorsing him, Gingrich has already proven his leadership skills during his time as Speaker, creating 11 million new jobs, balancing the budget, controlling spending, and reducing poverty levels," Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said in a statement.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. whobeehe

    Mitt Romney always gives the smallest piece of cake to his youngest son, even on the boy's birthday.

    January 18, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. lsm

    Romney may not be as eloquent as Gingrich, but we already have an eloquent speaker in the White House and look where that got us. Gingrich is a politican and used politician's words. Congressman Jim Hansen, who presided over the Gingrich ethics violations, saw Gingrich's inner workings first hand. He said that while Gingrich is a good professor and historian, he is a terrible administrator and him in the white house would be disastrous.

    January 18, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. packerfans

    Vote for Mitt Romney can save America!!!

    January 18, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Debby

    What does Romney have to be desperate about he is ahead by double digits. Gingrich does NOT connect with the people. He just knows how to jab at debates.

    January 18, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Tatteratoo

    Newt – the last white (conservative, extremist, desperate, pompous, voluminous, philanderous, rich) hope for South Carolina, AND Himself, His Pompousness.
    Except for Romney, the last standing slick pompous rich (non-tax disclosing) non-politician / politician [yep, he's both, depending on the time of day] , debate better (as making 10k bets) and Man of the People (with incomes over 1 mill and country club memberships). What a wonderous group of candidates in Whom we Trust NOT.

    January 18, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. whobeehe

    Mitt Romney is a strange breed of politician, a feral cat with little human contact. He is also an opportunist who seeks out weaknesses in systems to exploit them. that is how he got rich and how he is going to steal the nomination.

    The big losers in this will be the Republicans who will go four more years holding their noses when they are in Washington.

    January 18, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Mark


    To all of you ignorant Obama loving losers
    Sure, that's quite the way to argue effectively with logic and facts. As an independent who has not decided, people like you ruin any chance of the GOP winning – that arrogance could cost the GOP the 2012 election.

    January 18, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The truth of the matter is, neither of these guys have created jobs. With Romney however, evidence points to him being responsible for costing America jobs.

    January 18, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Keyser Soze

    flip flop indeed. Better to keep the job destroyer from Bain in the private sector than allow Willard to run amok as POTUS and put the country in another GOP ditch.

    January 18, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Tom

    Hey "Val"...his weak record on job creation? You mean like net job gains since he has been in office versus the 8 years of net job loss when the Tpublicans had control? That kind of "weak record". LOL at all of you fools.

    January 18, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. L Smith

    This so-called polical news site and barely one mention of R-o-n P-a-u-l? You'd think Gingrich and my pet dog were ahead of him, right behind Romney!

    January 18, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. Skitownrefugee

    Oh but Romney "created jobs" in Mass right? These jokers are all ready to take credit for anything that comes withing 3000 miles of them. I started a small business (real estate sales) in 1995 when the economy still hadn't shaken off the late 80's Savings & Loan debackle – remember that one (with Bush #1 in office on the heals of 8 years of Regan) and Clinton, nor Gingrich, nor Romney, nor any politician can take any credit for that. It was me – I started the business in a bad economy and I eventually "created" 7 jobs which are down to 2 now. They all act light the "Almighty"...."and on the sixth day, Romney created jobs and he saw that it was good – so he took the 7th day off." What a bunch of BS. Vote for Obama in 2012!

    January 18, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Steve

    I really can't believe what the republican field is doing to itself. They all need to get over it, Romney is the nominee. All they are doing is making it easier for Obama to get re-elected.

    January 18, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. TJeff1776

    ATTACK back....LOL...whats the Grinch been doing. Political attacks is ALL he knows about. Nothing more. QUESTION::: How important is a resume when showing up at ANY worthwhile job ??? When looking at the Grinch's, the warning bells ring ALL OVER. WHAT has he been successful at ?? run out of congress, family life caput because he ran around on both wives, and probably the third, and the financial side a complete disaster. He claims repentance, BUT last month alone he(and daughter) lied about his first wife's divorce which in reality truly shortened her life when papers were in her hospital bed. His Baines attacks were filled with lies....GREAT DAY--what does The Grinch have going for him ? A sensible boss would look up, laugh, and say "what are you doing here ??"

    January 18, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. PTBarnumboy

    Unlike the average Gingrich, AKA The Newster, can't have it both ways. Either the government creates jobs or it doesn't.

    January 18, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. PTBarnumboy

    Unlike the average Gingrich wedding , AKA The Newster, can't have it both ways. Either the government creates jobs or it doesn't.

    January 18, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Geezer

    Government makes policy that encourages private job creation. Right now with regulations, rules and high business taxes, government discourages investments and job creation. Right, government does not create jobs, gov. makes decisions that encourage private business to make investments that create jobs.

    January 18, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. bdylanbdj03

    The Republican Primary is showing its true colors. Hopes to restore rich White America over equality and 'liberal' ideals. Their rhetoric is dangerous to their own citizens and the rest of the world. "We need to find and kill our enemies." "Kill them." Then Romney says "We need a military so strong no one would ever think to ever test it." We already do. We have seen this kind of rhetoric before in history and it results in one thing – world war. The Republican's insist they are running on freedom and peace and propserity, yet the reality is they are running on war against Iran and the rest of our enemies. They are running on racist tactics and it is evident who they are trying to appeal to as we saw in the South Carolina debate. They attack Obama as not patriotic? Wow. Unbelievable this party. Not only do they no longer stand for Republican ideals, they are dividing America between 'conservative and liberal,' 'white and black,' 'minority and majority.' Newt Gingrich is the most bigotrous candidate in history. "Spanish is the language of the ghetto." "Palestinians don't exist." "We need to put paychecks in the hands of black folks, not food stamps." The truth is food stamps are needed as a result of your failed Republican Policies and Bush era consequences. We have seen Obama stop the bleeding and actually turn things around. We all agree spending needs to be cut drastically, but Republicans don't stand for that. They propose increased spending to our military – the largest section of government our budget is devoted to. They profess freedom yet support bills that invade American liberties. They don't believe in the right to privacy. They are out of touch with America and frankly have become a party that is against their own ideals.

    January 18, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. lexgreen

    Jobs aren't created by the "private sector", they are created by consumers.

    January 18, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. Tatteratoo

    @Gurgi, you've made several comments now. Thank you, I enjoy reading them. As much as they make me laugh, there is little sense to them. You obviously don't know "manure" (for lack of a more poignant word) about marxism or the democratic platform. Marx and Das Kapital have nothing to do with the 'democratic' platform. You confuse 'politics for the people" with dictatorial communism. With that dumpster mentality you only vote directly or indirectly for the rich who are robbing the middle classes. That's not communism, that's common sense.
    Your comments are very UNsmart and pea brained, and to suggest that 67 million Americans don't know what they are thinking (yep, the MAJORITY that VOTED for OBAMA) is only showing how limited your world view is. Back to your cave...

    January 18, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Laughing so hard

    Gurgi: you wrote..."russian paper "pravda" had an editorial ..that posed the question, "didn't america learn from our 70 years mistake?" It was referencing policies enacted/posed by the liberal president, senate, and congress".
    Do you really believe what a communist party paper is writing?? Moron!
    And about the president, senate and congress, you just critized that very system that the Russians Do NOT have, a government and representatives elected in a free election process. Duh?
    I can only conclude you don't believe in democratic elections. You'd rather have a dictatorship of right-wing extremists. Oh boy...

    January 18, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Willie12345

    If Romney doesn't push Newt around at the next debate, Romney will have to slug it through all of the primaries.

    January 18, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    "Romney said jobs are created by the private sector, not government."
    If this is true, than how does romney plan on creating jobs when he is president like he keeps claiming? I swear, this guy contridicts more than the Bible.

    January 18, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Omari

    Former President Bill Clinton said Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney can't say what they believe and get nominated in a GOP primary, in an interview with Esquire published Wednesday.

    "As a private citizen he [Gingrich] was for certain important health-care reforms and believed in climate change and believed there had to be a strong reaction to it. And now he's just like Romney," Clinton said. "Neither one of them can say what they believe to be true and get nominated. Romney's still trying to figure out what he did as governor of Massachusetts and still appeal to this driving vituperative energy."

    Gingrich has cited his work with Clinton when he was Speaker of the House as evidence that he can fix the economy. Other times, he has left out Clinton and touted balancing the budget and creating 11 million new jobs.

    When asked last December whether Gingrich could take credit for balancing the budget, Clinton said, "Not really, but I think he did work with me to pass some good budgets."

    Clinton, however, praised his former adversary last November to NewsMax, saying, "I think he's doing well just because he's thinking, and people are hungry for ideas that make some sense."

    Clinton also praised Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts in December, adding that it would be a "mistake" to underestimate him.

    Clinton told Esquire that Republicans have been pushed farther to the right.

    "Every time the president adopts a plan that they [Republicans] once advocated, they abandon it and push farther to the right," he said. "But the voters can push them back."

    January 18, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Marie MD

    @gurgi – stop watching faux news and/or listening to that fat slob who never moved out of the country after our President, Obama, was elected.
    If you can't tear yourself away, please read books, any book that will teach you a bit about Russia, communism and socialism.
    Obama is none of the above but the teapublikans sure have communist ideas as they want to tell us how to live our lives!

    January 18, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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