January 22nd, 2012
07:35 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney takes aim at Gingrich in Florida

Ormond Beach, Florida (CNN) - The day after Newt Gingrich’s rout in South Carolina, Mitt Romney wasted no time in lighting into his newly emboldened competitor.

At a rally in Ormond Beach, Florida, Romney took direct aim at the former House speaker as he sought to wrest back his momentum in the GOP presidential race, offering the audience a history of what he called Gingrich’s “failed leadership” as speaker of the House.

“At the end of four years it was proven that he was a failed leader. And he had to resign in disgrace,” Romney said as the sun set over the outdoor rally at a building materials company. “I don’t know whether you knew that. He actually resigned after four years in disgrace.”

Romney tied the former speaker to President Obama, painting Gingrich as a Washington insider and saying a true outsider was the only hope for winning back the White House.

“He talks about great, bold movements and ideas,” Romney said. “Well, what’s he been doing for 15 years? He’s been working as a lobbyist, yeah. He’s been working as a lobbyist and selling influence around Washington.”

Hours after an abrupt turnaround on releasing his tax returns – Romney said Sunday morning that he would put out his 2010 tax information on Tuesday – the GOP candidate called on Gingrich to release records of his time spent working with troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

“What was he doing at Freddie Mac?” Romney asked. “Because Freddie Mac figures in very prominently into the fact that people in Florida have seen home values go down – it’s time to turn that around!”

Gingrich has said most of the six-figure sum he received from Freddie Mac went to pay for overhead and staff at his firm.

The former Massachusetts governor also made reference to Gingrich’s troubled marital history and emphasized the importance of character in the Republican race for the White House.

“We’re not choosing a talk show host, all right? We’re choosing a leader. We’re choosing the person who should be the leader of the free world,” Romney said, in a veiled reference to Gingrich’s colorful – and frequently applauded – speaking style at a series of presidential primary debates.

Romney added: “I believe leaders have integrity. I believe they are people of sobriety, judgment, thoughtfulness, reliability, high ethical standards, all the elements of leadership.”

The Romney campaign hoped the shift to Florida would provide an opportunity for rebound after a difficult week in which Romney learned he had lost Iowa’s caucuses, struggled over repeated questions about his taxes and was dealt a stunning loss in South Carolina.

Romney has a healthy financial advantage in Florida and boasts a significant political organization.

“It’s good to be back in Florida,” he told the audience Sunday. “I need your help.”

Romney was aided in his efforts by the two women who introduced him - Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi and Romney’s wife, Ann – who vouched for the former governor’s character.

Bondi took a none-too-subtle swipe at Gingrich’s ego.

“Let me tell you, this man is not arrogant,” Bondi said of Romney, adding of his family: “They are good people, of the highest integrity, of the highest morals, and they are a good, strong family.”

Meanwhile, Ann Romney spoke about Romney’s large and, by all accounts tight-knit, family.

“I understand Mitt’s going to release his tax forms this week,” she said. “I want to remind you where we know our riches are. Our riches are with our families.”


Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Greenspam

    Finally, Romney fights dirty. It's about time.

    January 23, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Keith in Austin

    I love it when some envious Liberals attack Romney and those that have achieved the American Dream for being wealthy! Quite obvious that a lot of those supporting Obama's socialistic agenda, have minimal achievements and their success in life has been nil. Now, they have bought off on Obama's class warfare rhetoric and his false promise that BIG GOVERNMENT is the answer to all their woes! Pathetic! Here's a novel idea. Why don't you losers start looking up to those that have succeeded! Perhaps you might learn a thing or two. They may even hire you! You might even get to where they are some day with hard work and sacrifice! Wouldn't that be better than whining all the time how your miserable life isn't fair and others need to carry you on their backs? Vote GOP!

    January 23, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. kenny

    Romney is not the biggest problem Newt faces. Newt has to be concerned about the one otherperson that dislikes him worse than the rest of the country. Newt Gingrich needs to be concerned about Newt "The Walking Time Bomb". When the "Hateful" Newt comes to the surface he destroys the Gingrich campaign every time and the "Hateful Newt" is consistant. He is dependable. You can count on him to self destruct the campaign about every 3 or 4 months.

    January 23, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Al-NY,NY

    Mittens.."blah blah blah" Newter..."blah blah blah" Thank you GOP. You are making Obama's reelection easier every day

    January 23, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Gurgi

    Better trickle down economics than trickle up poverty. Any economic improvement the past 3 years has been in spite of Obama's and the democrat's policies, not because of them.

    January 23, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. beevee

    Romney should hit Gingrich hard as a person without moral character and a hypocrit both of which are true facts and should not relent being critical of Gnigrich throughout the nomination process. Gingrich is a big mouth and arrogantly scoffs at media that should not be tolerated.

    January 23, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Paul1st

    Mitt, you are trying to be aggressive with Newt, but you are still way too polite to blunt Newt's style. Stop playing nice and deliver direct, easy to understand, clear messages about Newt. Repeat these messages as often as possible, and don't get totally hung up on the truth. Ready? Newt is a liar! As speaker, Newt stabbed Republicans in the back! Newt's a lunatic! Newt's a fraud! C'mon Mitt. Feel it. You can do it!

    January 23, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. CoJo

    don’t forget, Gingrich was part of the establishment that created the rules that allowed the investment firms and banks to setup a finance meltdown scheme and then bet against it. Costing people homes , jobs and their retirements. It has been reported this started all the way back to Reagan era (his hero?). And now he’s complaining that Romney was more successful in using the rules he helped create. He’s just jealous that he was not able to use the rules as well Romney. He admitted he was part of the group that created the rules. Ron Paul admitted in the debate that the republicans had control of the house, the senate and the president but did nothing or worse, they created the finance mess. Now Gingrich wants to do it all over again? Has any republican stated how reduce regulations will keep it from happening again? Come on republicans, speak up.

    January 23, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. sensible

    Romney (ouR-MONEY) will never be president. The fundaMENTALists will never vote for a Mormon. Besides, when his off-shore holdings come to light, we will see how 'honest' he is.
    The people who he laid off in his many holdings don't have a high opinion of him. What does that also say about his morals, firing people and leaving them in the gutter!

    January 23, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. biodan

    Dear news media, please understand that we do not like your phony candidate.

    At first, your arguments made a bit of sense. Now, they are just silly. The whole line of logic has boiled down to: "He has more money", and "He has been running for president for five years now, so he is better organized". That's all good and nice, so thanks for pointing it out, but even if Mitt wins, we won't be electing his donors or campaign staff as president. Mitt Romney is the guy running for office and we actually just don't like or trust him.

    January 23, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. diridi

    Islands v dollars. Bain v offshore jobs. Tax v equity capital, lies v. Mitt. loser v mitt. 1994 v mitt lose. list goes on, on and on....

    January 23, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. Marry

    @kat – but also @Todd, @hollaye, @Riley…..

    Please stop fighting, we MUST stick together if our country is to have any chance of surviving. We MUST get BHO out of office.

    Why, kat?? You want to replace class, intelligence, excellent character, love of country and ALL people and successful work as our President represents it and moving the country away from the brink and slowly back to prosperity - with low life, honesty – what is that? stupidity, greed for the few, finding a reason for a third war (Iran, you know in war deficits do not matter – they do not even have to be on the books as long as they make the rich GOP friends even richer), trade wars (China), “let children work” good for nothing GOP/TP circus?
    I do not think so! President Obama 2012!!

    January 23, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. John

    Romney made his money chopping up companies,stripping the money out of them and getting rid of as many employees as possible for the investors. . He is a hatchet man who could care less about the average worker......Look who is calling the kettle black......

    January 23, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. Why

    * Mitt Romnin: He assumed the leadership of the troubled organization and turned it around to present one of the most successful Olympic Games ever.

    January 23, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    What's that I smell? Ah! Desperation!

    January 23, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. sensible

    Romney is the 1.......%!

    January 23, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. clarke

    Well, All they do is slam each other. It doesn't tell me anything about what they will do for our country. They are bullies at best. No thank you. I would like to see someone run for President who cares about this country and its people. All I see so far are a bunch of men playing musical chairs and who gets the oval office. They should work as hard for the people as they do trying to oust obama from office.

    January 23, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. sensible

    @Keith in Austin
    Yeah, Romney made millions trampling on people just like you!! You must like being in the dirt so another person can get rich!!
    You really need to open your eyes. You are more like us 'liberals' than a rich guy like Romney!!

    January 23, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. Larry L

    @Keith in Austin

    "I love it when some envious Liberals attack Romney and those that have achieved the American Dream for being wealthy!"
    -------------------------------------------------------
    This is the primary election. Attacks on Romney are made by your fellow conservatives. Democrats haven't even needed to waste their money – yet. I believe the term "vulture capitalist" was first used by Rick Perry and later by Newt Gingrich. Once again... as always... you are wrong.

    January 23, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. John

    GOP establishment is galloping to the rescue of their weak,flawed candidate who only cares about the 1%. Remember corporations are people too.....

    January 23, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. Fact

    Mitt Romnin assumed the leadership of the troubled organization and turned it around to present one of the most successful Olympic Games ever.
    Compare with Greece Olympics.
    What Bankrupted Greece? It Was The Olympics!

    January 23, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. Why

    If you work hard, do the right things, hire a lot of people and become successful, you become bad. You must pay my food, my house, my education, my healthcare, my……. and everything for my family. I only do what I am interested in.

    January 23, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. independent

    Hey, CNN, give us a minute to comment on Congressman Paul and the TSA.
    The story says the TSA didn't 'turn him away', but that the Congressman refused to go through proper security screening.

    Either he was hiding something, or he thinks he is better than everyone else. Any other person would have to go through the screening he refused. Does he think no one should be screened? Is he an anarchist?

    January 23, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. sayer

    Mitt didn't do himself any favors with the middle class when he said we're all just envious of rich people. That was pretty dumb for a supposedly smart guy. Debate responses just blame Obama. Where's the substance, Mitt? What are you going to do specifically?

    January 23, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Wait...Whatt??

    kat posted:

    "Please stop fighting, we MUST stick together if our country is to have any chance of surviving. We MUST get BHO out of office"

    Jesus kat, engage in hysterical hyperbole much?

    January 23, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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