(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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CEO's don't debate.....they just order people around!
From his comment, it sounds like Gingrich is appealing to the sado-masochist voters.
A movie uproar the otherside of world has everyone forgotten what they knew allready , obama spent billions on these People that want to turn around and go against us they shouldnt bite the hand that feeds them ( money etc...) i seen their threats on the internet . I take it they knew they had to it was 9 11 all over they wont stop that i could bet on and where did obama go david letterman is that responsible? Nope
gingrich is mistaken : the people just don't like obama, they prefer obama mainly because they are rightly convinced that obama has done and could do a better job for the middle class in terms of the recovery of the economy from deep hole than rodblock republicans who are laboring for the super rich.
You got clobbered in the debates Newt because Mitt told the truth about what a reprobate you are. He can't do the same with Obama so he'll just lie and insist it's the truth just like he's been doing with the Welfare ads and the Medicare ads. But there's ample evidence that Mitt is a liar, so it won't work.
@Ann.....nobody apologized!!! Get your head out of the Fox-hole and watch 'regular news'!!!
When you newtie offering you advise, you had better know that you are in SERIOUS trouble.
Why would Willard go after Obama the way he went after Gingrich? Willard told the TRUTH about Gingrich. He has yet to tell anything resembling the truth about the President. And if he does, the President gets re-elected.
Many of us have noticed that congress not Obama is responsible for most of the current political stagnation.
" That's also a kind of self-tax to keep civilized society moving." lmao, yes newt, the poor could not do it without the charitable donations of the wealthy, especially when you consider the many government programs you desire to hack into oblivion. Another argument for some trickle down economics from the job creators?
It gets better all the time! Newt keeps trying to act like he is a viable political force. Mitt, coming from a position of high management, is used to people believing his BS (or, at least saying they do).
Welcome to the real world, guys!
You can fool SOME of the people SOME of the time ....
I'm thinking that Chris Mathews will need to do something dramatic during the debates to distract the viewers from the beating Romney's going to give Obama. Maybe he'll jump in front of the camera for an impromptu soft shoe.
Sorry for the extra post (assuming both get there). I was placed iinto "moderation purgatory", and I thought I was editing.
I wonder when Obama wins and still can't fix the economy. What will the democrats excuse be then? I feel sorry for the Democrat presidential candidate in 2016. You still gonna blame Bush then. What has Obama done the last 4 years? Nothing. He can't even talk about what he has done. But, either way when people are giving 50% of there paycheck to the government and the interest rates are in the 20%+ range to buy a car and a house then people will realize there mistake and why Obama was the wrong choice.
You know the Obama song birds are DESPERATE when the ONLY foul they can scream against an OPPONENT is "I want to see your tax returns" and the opponent can scream "where's the TAX MONEY from Solyndra ?...."Why are you campaigning in Las Vegas ( a city YOU put down as BAD as few months ago) the day after OUR Ambassador was killed ?" "Why are you on Letterman, dancing with Beyonce, singing with Jay-z while we have be attacked by Islamic terrorist AGAIN ?
Obama is not good with spontaneous talks. Without his script he I in trouble.
Romney did nothing to Newt. Newt did it to himself.
The difference Newt is that intellectually and morally you are a microwaved marshmellow where as President Obama is more like a well tempered ball of case hardend high grade steel.
Debating Obama is a different ball game compared to debating a slime ball (Newt)
Newt Gingrich, you can dress him up with a home wrecker second wife and you can send him to tiffinys, but the man is a pig and that pork still smells through his clothing. Like all pigs, his opinion is really does not matter. Oh by the way Newt, can you do something with you wifes helmet head bleached blond hairdo?
Getting advice from losers – a great strategy.
"Obama is bowing to Islam after they tortured and killed our Ambassador. How sickening of Hillary and Oblama to apologize when they maimed an innocent man"
Epic wrong. Did you get fed this morning by fox news? the Ambassodor wasn't tortured. Also there's no bowing to islam. Unless you mean that another war wasn't started. That's what you'd want, right? more war, more american lives lost?
Unfortunately for Romney, our President is very different from Gingrich. Pres. Obama is a loyal husband and family man; Gingrich is a serial adulterer. The former represents middle-class Americans in all their diversity; the latter represents only overstuffed greed. The former has a background of public service; the latter, of sacrificing the public interest for a cut of the spoils. The list goes on and on, and none of it favors Newt, or Romney either for that matter, although Mitt at least has treated Ann better than Newt has his wives.
LOL They are so desperate!
Hey Newt, you need to see a proctologist to fix your problem.