Gingrich justifies debate performances
January 28th, 2012
03:51 PM ET
6 years ago

Gingrich justifies debate performances

Port St. Lucie, Florida (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich blamed rival Mitt Romney Saturday for his two lackluster debate performances this week.

“You cannot debate somebody who is dishonest. You just can’t,” Gingrich said. “People say I’m a good debater. I can’t debate somebody who won’t tell the truth.”

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Gingrich did not like the last two debates, which took place in Florida on Monday and Thursday. He said there were moments during Thursday’s CNN/Republican Party of Florida debate when he was “staring in amazement” at Romney because “I know what he is saying is untrue."

Instead of confronting Romney on stage, a tactic he’s used successfully during previous debates, Gingrich hit back the following day with a television advertisement.

The ad, “What kind of man?”, paints the former Massachusetts governor as an untrustworthy, flip-flopping politician. The spot features clips from the debate when Romney attempted to explain why he voted in a Democratic primary and denied that he knew about a misleading ad against Gingrich put out by his campaign.

The former House speaker also conceded on Friday the debate audience was another reason why he didn’t challenge Romney.

“[T]hat particular audience, it would have not worked to take him head on, so I backed down,” Gingrich said.

Pouncing on the statement later in the day, Romney quickly compared Gingrich to the indecisive character Goldilocks, saying the former House speaker couldn't decide whether he wanted debates to have silent audiences or rowdy crowds.

Gingrich said the two-time presidential candidate’s consultants need to come up with better material. After making the argument that he can’t debate Romney because he’s so "dishonest" he said, “I’d be glad to debate him any time. I would request that he tell the truth the next time we debate. That’s all I’d ask of him.”

- Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN.

Also see:

Romney: Gingrich debates complaints like 'Goldilocks'

Palin decries GOP 'cannibalism,' defends Gingrich

Romney surrogates shadow Gingrich campaign

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. John

    Poor Newt can't debate if he is not allowed to bake the cake and eat it too!

    Does Newt think Barack Obama is going to be an easier debate with all the Democrats false data?!

    I'm voting with Romney, because he has the facts behind him, and doesn't have to complain that the "debates aren't fair".

    Mitt 2012!

    January 28, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Don't look for truth from Romney. He doesn't believe in truth.

    January 28, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Sandy

    LOL. Ginrich is right though, Romney is a liar. Problem is, so is Ginrich.

    January 28, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Lovetheusaorleave

    Wow, Newt calling anyone a liar has to be one the funniest things ever written. I guess those who are, knows best.

    January 28, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. alkarrk

    Yeah right–he can handle anything in debates except a lying politician. We are supposed to believe this? He has built his career dealing with lying politicians–and is a master at him himself.

    January 28, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. logicnLA

    Personally i don't trust either of them but, after every debate i read Fact check, and consistantly Mitt has the most listed as false or misleading- what does that say about Newt's comment?

    January 28, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Maximus

    Pathetic excuses. Finally someone engaged Newt and pointed out his crazy populist ideas. Way to go for Romney. Shame on Newt.

    January 28, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Larry L

    Gingrich's best sales pitch in the "red states" is simple and concise: "I may be dishonest but I'm not Black and I'm not a Mormon!". Isn't that addressing the core issues?

    January 28, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Jules

    Really – somebody else didn't tell the truth in the debate so Newt was taken off his game? Knock me over with a feather! Newt, the one who solved all the problems of mankind with Reagan thought somebody else was being dishonest? No – say it isn't so. Of course someone else must be to blame, because nothing is ever Newt's falut. Can you imagine him as president and a foreign dignitary or head of state was dishonest with him? He would crumble like a cookie. In the words of your advocate, Sarah Palin, – Man up, Newt!

    January 28, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Katie

    OBAMA 2012!

    January 28, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. rmws

    It is to bad that Newt turned to populist anti-capitalist rhetoric in order to try and appeal to social conservatives that may be wary of "walls street types". Newt and the super PACs that support him have confused the issue over what is good and bad capitalism. They have made some normal market operations always bad capitalism, even if they are a product of free market activities.

    January 28, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. MaryM5

    Newt is ethiclly and morally bankkrupt and he is corrupt. Dont let newt or his mistress wife anywhere near the White House.

    January 28, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. Mike from Calgary


    That's why Massachusetts said enough after the REVELATION OF CHARACTER when it saw Romney up close for three years and told him to get out and foreget about getting re-elected in Massachusetts.
    Massachusetts tried Romney and decided "WE WON"T GET FOOLED AGAIN!" Independents similarly come down against Romney.

    January 28, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Dawn Tarr

    SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Newt is going to tell us about honesty???? Really???? I just want to say to all normal republicans: I am so sorry. I am so sorry that your party has let you down to the point that it is telling you that you have to vote for one of these 4 men. I am so sorry that many(but not all of you) have been brain washed into thinking that you should vote against your best interest.....higher taxes for the middle class, but lower for the upper class; health reform that makes insurance executives richer than ever before; less regulations that make you unsafe, but make corporations richer; no unions to protect your rights, and without them within 5 years you will be making less than you did in the 1980's. I really hope that this will help many of you

    January 28, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    "'I'm voting with Romney, because he has the facts behind him, and doesn't have to complain that the "debates aren't fair"."

    The facts? Rmoney has been lying up a storm, right along with Newt. Don't kid yourself. And I'm pretty sure it was his side complaining about audience applause being unfair.

    January 28, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. gimmesometruth

    The debate lost.

    January 28, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. voxtrot

    I feel bad for the people of South Carlolina. They sold out the distinction of being the th eone state that had previously gotten the republican nomination all for the promise of improving the Port of Charleston....Only to find out in the next state over Newt was literally promising the moon...OUCH...they got NEWTED!

    January 28, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. gimmesometruth

    Newt may have a point. It seems when the debate is good, Newt wins. When the debate is bad or boring, the media says Romney does well. Time will tell which wins out.

    January 28, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. rr

    I notice that none of the republicans have once mentioned Bush. Could be that they understand the true failure that he was. No redeeming successes in eight years They are quick to mention Reagan in their speeches and yet I have trouble understanding the success of trickle down economics,as it is the cause of many of the financial problems of today in the united states. The last budget surplus was from Clinton, no? Liars they all seem to be. What is in front of me now is the option to vote for a man that not perfect has been integral in all aspects of the duties of president and has been vetted for almost five years. Nothing sticks to him and the republican base can only complain that he has spent too much money trying to fix what Bush broke. If people can't see these obvious failures and the efforts by our current sitting President then they are not looking at the facts. I think that honesty and integrity go a long way. Neither Newt or Mitt have that. The other two more so, but policies that are not to my liking.

    January 28, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. Kevin

    Gingrich's broken moral compass and narcicism is finally catching up with him. He sounds like a whiny 6 year old who didn't get the candy he wanted, while Romney sounds intelligent and reasonable and...yeah – presidential. Sometimes, the bully (Newt's traditional role) gets punched back in the mouth, and they don't like it one bit. Eat your dose of crow, Newty, you lying pompous windbag.

    January 28, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. cali girl

    I only hear, "I know you are but what am I"

    January 28, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. LAguy

    When you come armed with facts, a liar is actually the easiest person to beat in a debate. Gingrich is really grasping at straws to explain why he got his a$$ kicked.

    January 28, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    Those repubs sure are a whiney, blaming bunch of losers, aren't they?

    January 28, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. DENNA

    Yeah, right. It's Mitt's fault you sucked. The problem was that you could not engage the audience to help you bully Mitt and Wolf Blitzer cleaned your freakin' clock! Why don't you give up? You will NEVER, EVER be president of this country. Maybe you can buy a small island and become president for life of it. America needs a president with vision, not someone trying to drag us back to a into the past.

    January 28, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. Ericka

    Does Newt think Obama will be telling the truth in the general election debates? I guess there goes his theory that he can out debate President Obama. Newt is yet again doing what he does best, blame someone else rather than accept responsibility. I also check after the debates for truthfulness ( and by far Newt has been the bigger liar throughout the debates/campaign. Does he really even want to go there Mr. "we had several witnesses that went to ABC to discredit these accusations and they were not interested". Give me a break!

    January 28, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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