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. Alex

    A seriously good debater doesn't blame his own weaknesses on the other side telling lies. That's a cop-out. One has to counter the lies, refute them and establish one's own truths. He can't do that.

    January 28, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. The Middle

    Newt, you lied to the entire nation about your affair to steal South Carolina. Got caught and can't own up to it, but can blame somebody else for lying. You truely are perfect (in your eyes) as you can always cast the first stone.

    January 28, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. chuckly

    I think all the republican's are a disaster, and gingrich is the worst. I can't stand romney, but I must say, he cleaned gingrich's clock during the debates, and now somehow he's blaming romney for his poor performance?LOL

    January 28, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Larry in Houston

    @Sandy & Jules – You both are Spot On !! I laughed so hard after reading your posts, I guess I don't have to post anything now !
    Larry in Houston

    January 28, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. Larry in Houston

    I guess IF I was a republican – I'd "have to" vote for romney – IF it was just between those two. Don't much care for obama, but at least I know what I'm getting w/ obama. So, democrat it is -whomever it may be. come nov 2012
    Larry in Houston

    January 28, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. Old Artillery Man

    Newt Gingrich said he was “appalled” by the first question from CNN’s John King during the debate in South Carolina.
    The Republican Party has long claimed to be the party of morality and family values. What I find appalling is that on stage is an ethically challenged person, a hypocrite who was removed from power by his own party and is a self-confessed serial adulterer, answering questions as a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for the highest office in this nation.

    January 28, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. Bill

    Mr. Speaker,

    If what you are saying of Romney is true, what exactly is Gov. Romney being dishonest about? You can't make claims without facts to back it up. In addition, you had numerous debates where you have won, against Gov. Romney, but now you're saying you can't debate him because he's dishonest? Give me a break. Man up and admits that Gov. Romney finally called you out at your own game. You didn't even know of your own investments before you tried to discredit Gov. Romney for his own investments. Plus, you also tried to blame the GOP establishment for packing the debate with Romney's people? The audience cheered for Romney because he pointed you out on facts. Man up and be a real candidate and stop complaining every time thing didn't go you way. Do it or get out of the race.

    January 28, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. works4me

    Yea...blame someone else. You're just a mass debater Newt.
    On the other hand (pun intended) you have Romney... another mass debater.

    January 28, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  9. mcjon22

    “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.”

    And you think you can beat Barack Obama???

    January 28, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  10. michaelam

    As a proud member of the Democratic Party--Go Newters! I remember your bigoted, lying, culo back in the 90's, not much has changed in you, has it? I remember when you shut down the government and wasted a ton of taxpayer dollars investigating President Clinton AND I remember when you left the House in utter disgrace. But, I actually hope that you win the GOP/Teahadist nomination because I soooooo look forward to President Obama mopping the floor with your lying culo! Karma bites, Newt and your number may come up!

    January 28, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. Glen

    POOR NEWT!! Does he think OBAMA will be truthful??? I guess he can't debate OBAMA- no audience at these debates.
    What a cry baby.. boo hoo! NEWT is a 'ANGRY OLD MAN' who cheats and lies. VOTE MITT!

    January 28, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  12. Glen

    Newt now has the other Georgia wife cheater HERMAN CAIN endorsing him. What jerks!!!!

    January 28, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  13. Layne P

    Come on Newt, plenty of people have fact checked the last debate and Romney had only one maybe and everything else was dead on. (Personaly I think that maybe was also pretty accurate.)

    This while Gingrich is making up facts left and right. On Monday he claimed that he balance the budget all 4 years he served in office when he really only balance the budget for 2, and that was just one of his whoppers. Who can't even remember their own record, really?

    This is classic Gingrich, when people point out your negatives you either attack the fact that they would even dare ask the question and if that doesn't work just call them a liar. Newt thinks he is so smart he can say anything and we will all believe him. Newt, we the American people are not as dumb as you think we are and you are deffinatly not as smart as you think you are.

    January 28, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  14. zimbot

    Newt messed up by assuming he's the leader and everyone has to play catch-up. He wasn't prepared, and he knows it but won't admit it.

    January 28, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  15. CAWinMD

    I'm sure that if for some odd reason Newt gets the nod, he can use the same lame excuse when Obama wipes the floor with him as well.

    January 28, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, Gingrich believes he is a good debator... Who has he debated against is a good question because if he had easy victories, then he would never know how good or bad he really is. As to Romney being honest or not, I don't think he is dishonest. I just believe that those that help him prep don't give him the unvarnished truth.

    January 28, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. Mark

    This coming from Newt is hilarious. Mitt is no peach either, but this guy is so blatantly dishonest I really do not understand what people see in him. He is just snowing people and their eating it up. And yes, that applies to Mittens too.

    January 28, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  18. Penobscot

    Nice excuse for Romney whipping your trash on Thursday.

    January 28, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  19. migeli

    Newt should have been thrown off T.V. for attacking the media as he always does.The only place we get truth is from the media except from Fox.Cain said today that poor Newt is going through a"sausage grinder".That's because he'sdead meat.

    January 28, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  20. Donaldbain

    Newt's real problem with the debate is that he can't handle the truth and he had nothing to come back with. He looked stunned that Romney was kicking his ass and if the shoe were on the other foot, he would be praising himself to the rooftops. I liked the fact he mentioned Callista would be a good first lady because she plays the french horn, my wife would be mad if i said that in public.....

    January 28, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  21. chuck weidemann

    So sad to be a republican these days. Yet ignorance is bliss so the insanity will not stop. The party will be left in a shambles with no one left to pick up the pieces. The only hope is a nomination drafted from the convention floor. Gov. Christe night in shining armor to save the day. Romney and the Newt left to wonder what went wrong!! Don't laugh ....just watch!

    January 29, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  22. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Gingrich justifies debate performances◄
    I couldn't fight back because I was lacking arrogance
    “You cannot debate somebody who is dishonest. You just can’t"
    When you have TWO people lying it's difficult to convince and/or recant

    Obama 2012 – He will not have to “justify” his debates – he’ll get it right in the first place!

    January 29, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  23. The Unsub

    so is Noot honest?

    January 29, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  24. Name

    I am not a fan of mittens but I must agree with him regarding newt and the debates. I also think he is acting like goldilocks.

    January 29, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  25. john d.

    You see Mr. Gingrich you are a fool! the establishment calls for truce then you fall for it and what do they do! pull the carpet under your feet mr. nice guy!!. Mitts is cunning or cannier than a fox! he is hash hush stash the swiss volt guy! how can you trust his words or the establishment?

    January 29, 2012 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
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