(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."
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
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."
– Rubio tweets his airline woes
– Ryan 'very comfortable' as Romney's V.P. candidate
– Litigating Capitol Hill recess in weekly addresses
– Gingrich to Romney: Do to Obama what you did to me
– Biden: Romney tape, demeanor shows he 'does not understand' middle class
Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.
In GOP primary debate points were awarded based on anti Obama , anti immigration anti food stamp and anti mainstream media
Presidential debate we want substance
Obama is an overrated debater. He has a terrible mumbling problem. Romney is a great debater & it will be funny to watch cnn msdnc & the rest of the liberal media spin Romney destroying Obama in the debates.
I switched to Mitt, I voted Obama 08 now it's time for someone else's turn. Romney 2012!
Yeah – run those expensive negative lies -- after most of us have already voted for Obama/Biden 2012 this week and next in early voting.
ha ha ha ha ha
Sorry newterman, the twit doesn't have the cojones to fight fair. The President is gong to sweep the floor with him. This guy has so much against him at present that I can't believe he still has the guts to be seen in public.
Like Ann Romney, I have to say: stop, stop it Gingrich! you are playing with how people think. It is so bad as no one likes to be fooled twice. That time when Romney pushed you to the side, no one understood who is Romney and what he intends to do to the country. He has so far shown, he has nothing to help the country to move forward. If Romney was not able to convince people that he is here to help those days, he can't do it in a matter of 90min. By the way, no one is going to take his words. He has been changing like a chameleon all the time. What he says today does not stay the same tomorrow.
Hilarious. Disgraced former Speaker and perpetual victim Gingrich did it to himself.
Gingrich in other word's : Mitt you are desperate now , lie though your teeth as much and as hard as you can ! Romney Newt is setting you up to look even more foolish ! This is what Gingrich said about Romney during the GOP primary :
Interviewer to Newt Gingrich :"You're calling Mitt Romney a liar ?"
Newt: "Yes, you seem shocked by it, yes Mitt Romney is a liar ."“I think it’s the most blatantly dishonest performance by a presidential candidate I have ever seen,” Newt Gingrich commenting on Mitt Romney, January 27, 2012.
I betcha Gingrich is offering classes (for a price, of course) to teach these Repubs how to be a jerk like he is. I remember his behavior during Pres. Clinton's administration. Among other things, during Clinton's impeachment process, I recall what a sadistic pleasure he was getting from putting out all the gory details of the Lewinsky/Clinton relationship. Come to find out at the very same time he was into an affair of his own. Then come to find out, his partner in crime, Henry Hyde, had had an affair with a married woman which busted up the family. His response, "well, that was when I was a young man," as though that should excuse him. How stupid! A real sleezy twosome!
Romney is already doing what Newt said he did to him, which is lie.
Romney will be wetting his Armani pants when he faces Obama; it's going to be precious... can't wait! Romney has flipped so many times he won't know up from down.
Who wants to know what a shameless former speaker of the house thinks? Even the far right wingnutts don't. Let this egomaniac drift into a distant memory....please!!!!!
Simply put, in my opinion Gingrich really was not that much of a challenge anyway.
There is only one big difference though. Gingrich is an egomaniac and an idiot and president Obama is an intellectual and smart to be otdone in a debate. It is not going work.
Sorry Newt, honestly Obama is not even close to as vulnerable to attack as you are. We all realize that Newt is a legend in his OWN mind, but the reality is that he is a buffoon in character which makes him a very easy target. And as easy of a target as Newt is, look how many debates it took for Romney and his team to catch up. I'm not saying that Romney won't outperform Obama in the debates, but surely wisdom will tell the Romney campaign that Newt's advice isn't worth the paper it is written on.
But, the problem is that Obama is not Gingtrich !!!!!
Romney did not defeat Gingrich in the debates. Romney was not that good. He bought the nomination. Gingrich defeated himself everytime he opened his mouth.
This idiot keeps talking, as if he has a voice. Romney didn't beat Gingrich. Gingrich opened his mouth too many times and knocked himself out of the race. And, to take a swipe at Biden for saying goofy things. Who thought putting colonies on the moon was going to gain him votes? Who let America know how he really felt about Romney, only to come out and kiss his a** a few months later. Talk about goofy!
Any of the canidates would of beat gingrich. When mitts gets to debate, he'll step all over his tounge like he is now.
You mean pay you off to support him!
What Romney needs is to pray for wisdom....
Remember every time Romney opens his mouth, Obama scores a point....
Airhead, Romney is!
One thing he for gotten Mr. O gene go back over five million years from his father side,so he have history on his side. Bless.
Gingrich is NOT Obama.
Does Gingrich think that we all have short memories??? You were killed because of money and not the debates. You were very good in debating BUT with an empty pocket, thus not able to proceed.
Thank you folks! All of your bashing has finally made me decide who to votethis election, sorry people...it is not obama that is for sure! I want real change and my choice is republican 2012...:-)
I thought he was.
Mitts is lying, and using big bucks to spread the lies.
What' else does he have??