(CNN) – Mitt Romney's campaign reacted sharply Tuesday to rival Newt Gingrich's reprimand of debate moderators who disallow audience participation.
"It sounds like Newt Gingrich is running for pouter-in-chief," Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom said. He added a piece of historical context, noting the 2008 Commission on Presidential Debates, which organizes and regulates debates between the two general election candidates, prohibited audience participation.
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"Is Newt saying he won't debate Barack Obama in a general election? That would be disastrous for our party," Fehrnstrom said.
Earlier Tuesday, Gingrich said he would protest if debate moderators require audiences to be silent. On Monday, Gingrich participated in an NBC News debate with the three other candidates in which the audience was nearly silent.
"I wish, in retrospect, I'd protested when Brian Williams took them out of the debate. It's wrong," Gingrich said on Fox News.
At the CNN Southern Republican Debate ahead of the South Carolina primary, many of Gingrich's responses drew long applause lines from the audience of Republicans. Other candidates also produced reaction from the audience, both positive and negative.
Gingrich said on Fox Tuesday the silent NBC debate was a reflection of the organizers' bias.
"I think he took them out because the media's terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the debate," Gingrich said. "It's happened in every debate. We're going to serve notice on future debates that we're just not going to allow that to happen. That's wrong. The media doesn't control free speech, people ought to be allowed to applaud if they want it. It's almost silly."
CNN's Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.
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The caption to that photo should read "4 men who will never be President".
I agree with Newt, why can't they cheer if they want to? During a general election it makes more sense, but this is a primary and party enthusiasm is important part of it. In a general election it might not work because then you'd have to make sure the audience is evenly split or it would seem like one side is winning just from cheers/boos but in a primary the audience is all one party!
that explains a lot, gingrich and faux
Im strongest belived that gingirch was affair with other woman also he must keep honest to God
So, Newt can't perform if he's not stroked?
Newt is a faux intellectual. He isn"t really as smart as President Obama.
If the media commentators and his opponenets hadn`t tollerated his histronics, allowing him to play to the "local" rabid, right-wing zealots with cheap applause lines, NO ONE would be calling him the victor.
Independent thinking voters won`t fall for the same nonsense. Gingrich is flawed, arrogant & pompous.
In a true debate where the caliber of the responses matter, where the President lays out simple point counter-point explainations that high-school educated voters in West VA can follow, he will destroy Newton.
Poor poor picked on Newt. Is that how he will handle foreign affairs? Pout?
- This is why he Won South Carolina, people cheering, and it made it seem "Oh, he is great". This year I predict that South Carolina did not choose a President. -
Yah, that biased media. They know that Republican applause will create jobs, so they're against it, right Newt? Jobs, jobs, jobs, that's all you (don't) want to talk about!!!!
It's a debate. It should have some semblance of decorum. If you allow the audience to make noise, you will only hear from loudmouths and idiots while others who may have different opinions but are more polite will stay quiet. This will give the impression that the most outrageous statements are somehow in tune with the crowd. Ever sit next to a loudmouth at a ballgame? I'm sure this would be no less annoying.
Mittens is reaching...big time.
The Elephant In The Room - Newt is a faux intellectual. He isn"t really as smart as President Obama.
How do you know Obama is smart? Have you seen his college transscripts? Oh yeah, he won't release them. Because he gives great speeches? It called 'talking a good game". Truth is he is so full of himself that he refuses to see he is failing and change direction. I think he believes all the media hype about being The Messiah. The reality is he's giving Harvard graduates a bad name. I know I wouldn't hire one after seeing Obama's performance.
i think its a great choice to not have audience applause. It makes us actually think about what the candidate just said instead of some emotional response. I think Newts problem is if we actually take a second to contemplate what just came out of his mouth, he loses.
Soon the audience reactions will be more important than the candidates answers. Poor Newtie. My heart bleeds for you you fool.
Mittens claims to have big shoulders, but like most rich wimps, he cannot take criticism.
Newt just could not get his mojo working during this last debate. Let people eat red meat and cheer when he is on the campaign trail. No more cheering, it seems childish. This is the only reason why he won South Carolina. I personally do not want a President who wins on one liners.
Romney is such a pathetic person.........he can't get the voter supports he needs, so he attakcs other candidates to try and keep them from moving ahead of him.
That is the mark of a loser........plain and simple.
There you go again, Newt! You just can't keep your HUGE EGO intact! Then skip the debates, who cares, you won't be missed too much.
I can't believe Gingrich has done this well with all his baggage. That being said, he would definitely be a better president than the current occupier of the white house. None of the choices we have left are optimum, but Santorum or Romney would be better than Gingrich.
What a sorry human being, Gingrich. He needs those applause moments to keep that ego propped up. Never mind that the applause takes up precious time for the questions we want answered. We just need to stroke Gingrich's ego. What a piece of work.
CNN...please do the same so that we can focus on the content and not the side show!!! What is your postion for the next debate???
"where the President lays out simple point counter-point explainations that high-school educated voters in West VA can follow"
Obama's target audience – what do you expect?
Newt looks presidential yesterday. Mitt “self deportation” comments proved he doesn’t no any thing
South Carolina seen the red flag first thanks South Carolina
What's the matter Newt? Can't win a debate without your lackeys cheering after everything you say? This explains why everyone seems to think your ridiculous dancing around every question = good debate performance.
Does Newt want to be Comedian-In-Chief instead of Commander-In-Chief? If Newt wants to go on SNL where there is a live audience, he may go and follow in Palin's footsteps. If Newt wants to be POTUS, then he needs suck in the gut, and stand tall.