(CNN) - Newt Gingrich on Friday urged Mitt Romney to go after President Barack Obama in next month's debates with a gusto the former House speaker knows well.
"When he walks in to debate Obama, he's got to be as tough with Obama as he was with me in Florida," Gingrich said in an interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."
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After all, Gingrich said, Romney "is not in a competition to be likeable."
At two debates in Florida last January amidst their bitter struggle for the GOP presidential nomination, Romney lit into Gingrich.
The two entered the Florida primary locked up in the polls. But after some heavy stumping - and arguably some debate thumping - Romney emerged on top in the vote count, beating Gingrich by 14 points and claiming the state's delegate haul.
With Romney trailing Obama in favorability, Gingrich encouraged Romney to play aggressively on the debate stage. The most recent CNN/ORC International Poll of likely voters, conducted earlier this month after the conclusion of both conventions, showed Obama with a 9 point advantage over Romney in their respective favorability ratings.
"He's in a competition to be capable," Gingrich said. "We need somebody who can turn America around. We need him to convince us that a Romney recovery is better than an Obama stagnation. Unless he can do that, I don't care how much effort they spend trying to make him likeable - it won't work.
Appearing separately on the program, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley argued that Obama has produced more than stagnation.
"I think the polls show overwhelmingly that most of us understand that the wrecking of our economy was the result of policies that were inflicted upon us during the Bush years," he said. "We've now had 30 months in a row of positive private sector job growth. Foreclosures are now lower than they were before President Obama took office. And while we still have a lot of work to do, we are headed in a much better direction than we were the day he took that oath."
In the interview, Gingrich also responded an apparent contrast between Romney's comments that he had not - and would be disqualified from the presidency if - he paid more in his taxes than he owed, and his campaign's acknowledgement that he could have paid less had he reported all of his charitable giving.
"I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president," Romney said in a July interview. "I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires."
But documents released Friday showed the Republican presidential nominee reported on his 2011 tax return that approximately 16% of his income went to charity, while his campaign said the actual amount was 30%.
Gingrich initially laughed and took a swipe at Vice President Joe Biden, charging that the vice president ought to then "resign this evening because he has said enough different goofy things over time that you couldn't possibly remain vice president."
Then, Gingrich described Romney's charitable giving as a credit to the GOP candidate.
"I think it is a good thing for Romney," Gingrich said. "Apparently he's done this his whole life, to have a very substantial donation process for charities, for his church, and for things he wants to do voluntarily as a citizen. That's also a kind of self-tax to keep civilized society moving."
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As if it will be as easy to attack Obama as it was the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
If he walks on that stage, and tries to attack the President instead of actually debating him, he's toast.
ANN: Stop listening to Fox news! Flash! The ambassador wasn't tortured, and NO-ONE apologized for his death. And Newt being smart and savvy? Shrewd, yes. Smart? When I look at his life, all I see is a great deal of stupidity and willful ignorance.
Well, that would be far easier if Obama were a philandering hypocrite who had already shut down the government, been tossed due to his ethics.. or rather lack of ethics, and was talking about moon bases with a terrible economy, huge debt, and the longest war in our nation's history still going on.
The Republicans stopped being funny long ago. This is just getting sad.
Question? Where is the sub 3hr marathoner lyin Ryan? Did Flipflopney exile him to the same island, that the pubs hid Bushwacker and Chichingney? Just asking.
These "articles" are coming out now because the Republicans are setting up the Me-Too Media to report Romney's debate tactics the way THEY want it reported, not the way it will appear to everyone else. By planting the seed in the Me-Too Media's minds, they guarantee the Me-Too Media will just do it rather than thinking.
He can't Newt. The political Writer has been missing in action.
Its amazing to me how Republicans like Gingrich, Palin, Hannity and his his Fox News cronies blame the mainstream media for everthing that is wrong with the GOP and their impending failure to win this election. They obviously cannot run on THEIR track record, so they run on the premise that its the manistream media's fault. Unbelievable!!
@Something Wrong Here – Then the answer is CLEARLY Fox News. After all, if the mainstream media = liberal democrats, then the logical alternative would be Fox News, which pushes the conservative agenda. That's new bias we can all trust! Hurray for b.s. logic!
How about just saying that the media is misleading (regardless of partisan politics), and leave it at that?
He can't Newt – the "Political Writer" has been missing in action.
I fell sorry Piers...is Newt the best he could get?
Romney has to play dirty tricks on Obama just like obama and his team are doing...be just as dishonest, petty, greedy, lying...that's the only way to make obama understand anything anyway!
Gingrich to Romney: Do to Obama what you did to me
The thing is Newt...it worked against you because people don't like YOU....people DO like Obama...
Tell me again how obama is helping the "middle class"?? He's growing the government instead of the private sector, how is this good for anyone?? He needs to keep his word and make himself a one-term president. Period.
And the reason why ANYONE would take advice from Newt would be what?
Romney knows newt as cheater, immoral with no personality. Mitt didn't do to u, moron u did to urself.
Kindly pull your inflated head from your colon.
The rest of the world.
To Ann: Please don't be so simple minded. The torture and kill of the U.S Ambassador were the acts of a few bad apples in a bunch. We should not judge or blame these people as a whole on the accounts of the few people who committed those murders. Case and point: A U.S Army Sgt. goes on a rampage and kill 20 people (Women/Children)form a christian background, would it be right to say that all Christian act in this manor. I will take it a step further, If you google the U.S. Army kill squad in Afghanistan. Are group of U.S. Army personnel decided to kill innocent men, women and children. They planted weapons and false evidence to make the people look like they were hostiles to justify there murders. Now they were American would be fair to say we all act that way? Yea that's what i thought.... Please think before speaking, that is something you should of learned by now :-)....
Romney really is getting desperate if he is taking advice from Newt.
I am not voting for "a person". History has proven that "idols" fall; Stalin, Hitler,.etc. Obama has not done better than Bush, on the contrary, worse. What else can he offer? Is Romney a good candidate? I don't know but I want to try. Four years of Obama have not solved anything. How can it be that in Nevada, where unemployment is the highest, Obama leads in the polls? Is it that those people on unemployement don't want to get a job and prefer to cash "the government check"? Or is it that they incapable of seeing that Obama has not done anything and will not do anything else? Or are they waiting for the redistribution of wealth? For me it is just common sense.......
Do what he did to you? hahaha ...NOOOO ..you were a stupid politician I have ever seen. Did you think you were campaining to be a pastor. Obama is smart and he gonna win all the debates. OBAMA 2012
Sorry Newt, but Obama's gonna do to Romney what he did to ALL of your buddies in the last election – BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Oh Ann....what are we to do with people like you who can actually vote. Where or where are you getting your facts? Gingrich as Sec. of State? LOL. Just an FYI, Hillary Clinton has like a 68% approval rating among ALL voters. And Monica? She already wrote her book years ago....get over it and get a life. You're glad she's doing it? Why? What does a book about Monica have anything to do with 2012? Last, there was no apology for the millionth time, from the President or Sec. of State Clinton.
yes Mitt , by all means take Newt's advice , and Sarah Palins' , and any other loser repub you can find , there are plenty to chose from.