Gingrich goes after Santorum in the South
March 9th, 2012
03:10 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich goes after Santorum in the South

Meridian, Mississippi (CNN) – Newt Gingrich ramped up criticism of Rick Santorum Friday as he stakes his White House hopes on southern primary victories in Alabama and Mississippi next week.

Ripping a page from Mitt Romney's campaign playbook, Gingrich aides are working aggressively behind the scenes to tear apart Santorum's record, while on the stump Gingrich directs his criticism at President Barack Obama.

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During a Friday morning conference call with Gingrich surrogates, his Alabama State Chair Jabo Waggoner called the former Pennsylvania senator a "big union Republican against right-to-work" states.

That call came on the heels of a web video released by the campaign Thursday hitting Santorum's "big spending ways" and explaining how "his leadership in the Senate helped contribute to the abandonment by the Republican core of conservative principles."

Gingrich rarely mentions his opponents during speeches, focusing instead on Obama and reiterating his pledge to bring down gasoline prices to $2.50 per gallon.

The former House speaker is more likely to talk negatively about his opponents off the stump during media interviews, like he did Friday morning when he called into the Dale Jackson Show.

Santorum was campaigning in Alabama when the interview aired in the state on WVNN Radio.

"Santorum was a pro-Union Pennsylvania senator who was one of the leadership who was defeated in 2006 that set the record in Pennsylvania for the size of his defeat. No one has ever lost a Senate seat by as big a margin as Rick did," Gingrich said.

Fresh off a primary win in Georgia, a new poll showed Friday the former House speaker edging out his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination in Mississippi, where he's been campaigning the last two days. He will spend Friday evening and Saturday in Alabama.

Despite calls for him to bow out of the race, Gingrich has said he will remain in the contest until the convention.

"I'm going to be all the way to Tampa, there's no question in my mind," he said in the radio interview Friday.

Gingrich's campaign has made no secret of the importance of winning Mississippi and Alabama's contests. Earlier this week his spokesman answered 'yes' when a reporter asked if Gingrich needed to win both primaries Tuesday to remain a credible candidate.

Gingrich alluded to the danger of electing Romney or Santorum, saying doing so would send the GOP in the wrong direction and could lead to another Democratic majority like in 2006, when Santorum lost his Senate seat.

"If all we get is somebody to preside over the decay, then frankly two years from now the Republican brand will be shattered," Gingrich said Thursday in Southaven, Mississippi. "And we'll be back where we were in 2006. By 2006, the folks who had been in charge in such a way people figured they might as well have Democrats."

Also see:

Romney in Mississippi: 'I like grits'

GOP quick to criticize president over jobs report

DNC hits Romney on individual mandate

Game Change' actors dish on Palin, portrayals and politics


Filed under: 2012 • Alabama • Mississippi • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Gingrich, drop out!

    March 9, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. CoJo

    if Gingrich really wants to hit Romney, he ought to try using his international knowledge vs Romney's. Romney gets pulled into playing Santorum's and Grinch's game too easily. Can you image what would happen to Romney on a world stage? He'd be playing the other country's game vs his own. Talk about always being on the defense

    March 9, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. GEF from PA

    The South doesn't trust those damn Yankees, better be careful in the bayous Ricky. A southern man don't need you around

    March 9, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Core republican Values

    Newt is the new "General Sherman." He's marching to Atlanta, on the back of a huge victory in Georgia!! Don't give up Newt. Your legacy is on the line. When things go south, that's when you raise to the occasion. On to the Convention! (P.S.: Personally, I have no problem with Calista's hair.)

    March 9, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Newt is just a Pawn for Sheldon Adelson . The Newt Gingrich Superpac is a front to help elect Mitt Romney. Keeping Rick Santorum out of the ring.
    Newt Gingrich can be bought. Mitt Romney is predictable and pro AIPAC business as usual. Rick Satorum is pro AIPAC yet unpredictable and stubborn.

    $$$ Business is Business $$$ !

    March 9, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Bill

    All the way to Tampa!

    March 9, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. The-Least-Unelectable

    The Republican field of candidates have done about all they can do to alienate most of the general electorate, except the racists and the very old evangelical whites.

    March 9, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. babs

    Pathetic. Snewt is a caricature of a professor at a small backwater college who tries to get into the pants of of some of his bimbo delta delta delta students by trying to impress them with his intellect. A poor little fat man who is not going gracefully into his golden years.

    March 9, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Jules

    So why don't Newt and Rick just hand the nomination over to Romney and be done with it. They are each trying to get the other one to quit. Here's to Newt – Santorum has more delegates than you do, man up and get the heck out. Obama 2012!

    March 9, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    Little Ricky and old Newty, what a pair. You can't believe a word out of either of their mouths. Newty knows very well that the President, any President can not control the price of oil and as for the Newty plan it's an absolute lie. He knows as everyone should know that every gallon of oil that comes out of the ground goes directly into the world market, it doesn't stay here, the oil companies are in the world market, not an American market. The only, and I mean only way American oil would stay here and at cheap prices is if the oil wells and refineries were taken over by the government, that's the only way a president could control the price of oil. BUT, no one wants that for sure, does Newty? Think about that folks, any politician who says they can control the price of gas is a flat out liar.

    March 9, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Ideas, Ideals, not Ideologies

    the reality is Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum are yankees.

    March 9, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. lovetravel

    I don't know them at all but something bother me about Rick. I am not sure if he really understood but I do know all he want is more dollar sign in his account that all he care. Rommey is just about the same but surprise all the Rep are greedy over money. The only thing they need to do is "shut up ad help those people get them a nice job and stop talk about what you think you will do because once you become Presdient all you going to do is change your voice around. All I ever want is to stop judge other people with less and stop brag about you got what you got to help us

    March 9, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    So Newter, why aren't you going after Rmoney? Could it be because your billionaire backer wants Rmoney to win and bomb Iran?

    March 9, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    Gingrich...Santorum...Romney...Paul; Paul...Gingrich...Santorum...Romney; Romney...Paul...Gingrich...Santorum

    No matter how you mix 'em up, it doesn't matter. Individually none of them will ever become President of the United States. It's been fun watching them run in circles chasing their own (and each others) tails, though. What with that and their nonstop barking, I haven't laughed so much in years!

    March 9, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Stacey

    Little Ricky and old Newty, what a pair. You can't believe a word out of either of their mouths. Newty knows very well that the President, any President can not control the price of oil and as for the Newty plan it's an absolute lie. He knows as everyone should know that every gallon of oil that comes out of the ground goes directly into the world market, it doesn't stay here, the oil companies are in the world market, not an American market. The only, and I mean only way American oil would stay here and at cheap prices is if the oil wells and refineries were taken over by the government, that's the only way a president could control the price of oil. BUT, no one wants that for sure, does Newty? Think about that folks, any politician who says they can control the price of gas is a flat out liar.

    Yes, they are idiots and liars, but Romney is the biggest liar and idiot! What a clown circus this is! I never thought it would be this bad, yet so entertaining at the same time. Gotta go re-up on that popcorn again!

    March 9, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Larry L

    @Core republican Values
    -------------------------------------------------------
    How could Newt possibly represent "Core republican Values" unless those values include adultry, lying, unethical financial practices, bigotry, and religious dishonesty? Well... now that I think about it he may actually be the perfect fit for modern Republicans.

    March 9, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |