(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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Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.
"Do to Obama what you did to me."
You mean, Romney should shut up and wait for Obama to open his mouth?
In other words Romney needs to make an ass of himself to win elections.
Is Obama going to have his teleprompter in the debate? Obama, is the liar with the record to prove it. "Change you can believe in". Wow people believed it, still waiting for it. A Democrat will promise you everything and do little to nothing on that promise.
HA!! There's a laugh.
Newt, we know Barack Obama. We've worked with Barack Obama. Newt, you're no Barack Obama.
how blind people can be when they have wool over their eyes cant they see what dumb things obama did please wake up vote for someone who wont play around when there is a crisis . obama should have been front and center till crisis over
Figures that this would be censored ,considering that this is the fourth branch of a liberal government..
What's tougher than telling the American people that you don't care about half of them?
"We can't beat Barack Obama with a guy who has Swiss bank accounts..."
– From a Newt speech in January 2012
Anyone who makes the comment that “My job is not to worry about those people [in reference to the 47% of Americans who have too little income to pay federal taxes]. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives” will never be elected president of the United States.
that 47 percent is what has this liberal bunch all out of kiilter.
Newt wasn't any problem. He did himself in. GO TO THE MOON Newt. You will be happy there.
Martin O'Malley: "The wrecking of our economy was the result of policies that were inflicted upon us during the Bush years."
Wrong! The economy was wrecked because of Democrats. Republicans are the ones who have been doing everything thing they possibly can to help the economy in spite of Democrat attempts to stop them. Chairman and CEO of FNMA, Democrat Franklin Raines, directly caused the subprime mortgage mess by forcing banks to make loans to people who had no way of paying back those loans. Senate Majority Leader Democrate Harry Reid has repeatedly blocked Republican attempts to pass a jobs creation bill simply because it contained spending cuts that Democrats refused to accept.
Ann, aren't there a few more items irrelevant to this story you can try to throw into your post? And Newt couldn't even keep track of when he was actually Speaker during the debates, with his line that when he was Speaker the budget was balanced for four years....two of which he was NOT Speaker. So facts at his finger tips – yeah, and a few he just makes up.
tough with you gingrich you dont have no money
That's kind of like Cheech saying to Chong, "do to Obama what you did to me."
Get a room!!!
Republicans and Independents are not 60% of electorate, in that number should be a lot of Democrats because they do not like media either. Already we know that almost 30% of democrats will not vote for Obama because they see a failed president. They may not vote for Romney but chose to stay home and will be enough for Romney to win. Today Gallup and Rasmussen have Romney and Obama tied at 47%. See Obama never gets over 46-47%. It must be that number (47) everybody is talking about. Also they have 5-8% undecided. If you are undecided by now must likely you will not vote for Obama. With at least 4% from undecided and 5 points how much these two polling organizations are busted Obama I predict Romney will win by 10 points spread. Should be 15-20 points considering the damage Obama inflicted to American economy and misery inflicted to American people but Obama campaign will steal about 2 million votes by fraud and that is why Romney will win by 10 points.
Yes, I am not sure why anyone would listen to Piers either. According to Nielsen, few people do.
Why on earth would anyone listen to this idiot?
September 22, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |"
I'd rather Romney do what Gingrich did to his wives when they got sick and leave.
Well? Where's the 2 term Bush to speak for the party? You can't hide 'em in the closet forever.
Gingrich, you lost for the same reason Santorum, Cain, Bachman, Perry and the rest lost. You guys were so far to the right you almost fel off of the east coast. Americans may not be happy with the state of the economy, but they don't want a radical leading us. And Mitt's problem is he's trying to be a Gingrich, and leading himself right out of contention.
Vote Romney/Ryan. White is right.
Romney is supposed to take advice from an admitted 2 time adulterer? This guy could not even keep his marriage vows and a Bishop who is running for POTUS is supposed to trust him and take his advice?
Yes, Newt is smart. But he has been proven to be a liar and a cheat. Only a fool would trust Newt.
i have seen all the proof i need they cant pull wool over my eyes they spend billions yet medicare going broke where do u think money went teaching and supplying terrorist
I don't think that Obama is as tough as they lead him out to be. We will see for sure during the debates. Still think there are more fishy things about Obamas past than Romneys.