(CNN) - Mitt Romney's former rival Newt Gingrich issued a harsh assessment of the GOP nominee's campaign strategy Wednesday, saying Romney's presidential bid was struggling in key battlegrounds against President Barack Obama because of a messaging failure.
"The Romney campaign has yet to find a thematic way of explaining itself and laying out in a clear, crisp way the difference between Romney and Obama. And I think that frankly is a problem," Gingrich said on CNN's "The Situation Room."
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The former House speaker's remarks came after a question about why polls show Romney struggling in key electoral battlegrounds like Florida and Ohio. The latest CNN Poll of Polls in Florida shows Romney trailing Obama, 50%-45%, while in Ohio the president is up by seven, 51%-44%.
Gingrich also attributed the president's lead in some states to a massive spending push on the part of the Obama campaign, which he said allowed Democrats to define Romney at an early stage in the campaign.
Not embracing the records of Republican governors like John Kasich in Ohio and Rick Scott in Florida is also a mistake, Gingrich said, since those states have economies that appear to be rebounding. In publically hailing the two states' economies, however, Romney runs the risk of appearing to praise Obama for his own policies, like bailing out to auto industry, that have played a part in stemming job losses in each state.
The conundrum, Gingrich said, was not being met with the proper flexibility by Romney's campaign.
"The campaign doesn't seem to be able to pivot and say, you know, John Kasich's doing the right stuff here in Ohio and I want to take John Kasich's model to Washington because Kasich is for a smaller government, less regulation, more American energy, pro-jobs."
"They seem to have this overly methodical model where they go out and keep saying the same thing, and the world's too fluid," Gingrich said. "The world's too sophisticated for that."
"There's plenty of ammunition," he concluded, adding he thought "a campaign which made that case clearly enough would carry Ohio and Florida by big margins."
Gingrich, who at one point was Romney's top rival for the GOP presidential nomination, also took issue with the latest ad from Romney's campaign, in which the candidate looks directly into the camera to deliver an assessment of the economy.
In the ad, Romney acknowledges that "President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families," but goes on to suggest the president's policies have made it harder for Americans to find work and rely less on the federal government for assistance.
Gingrich said he was "frankly startled" by Romney's acknowledgment of Obama's compassion for the middle class.
"I don't know why he's saying that," he said. If President Obama cared about the middle class, why did the price of gasoline go to an all-time high?"
Newt, to be quite honest with you, you don't need to be giving anybody any advice about anything. You barely held your on in the Republician race, where Mitt the Twit had beaten you by a landslide and he is just horrible. Also, soon after your little company bankrupt, and you want give the country your financial advice. TRASH!!! Go live on your imaginary moon colony!
The price of gas is not at an all time high. It reached higher under Bush.
Clearly the lizard knows that Obama has ZERO control of gas prices. We only wish he could turn a dial and lower the price.
I disagree; I think Rmoney's campaign is floundering because he's explained himself so well.
Republicans have been blaming everyone else for their bull that they forgot that it is all their fault.
Newt – you lost. Now stop trying to destroy your former opponents.
Can I ask why the GOP puts such incompetent candidates forward? I mean, look at the primaries last spring. Newt is just one of the losers.
And Romney is the best of the lot? No wonder the GOP is a laughing stock.
....Obama is BEATING Romney for ONE SIMPLE REASON. The gop message .............STINKS................and educated people now see this as FACT...............
Hey Newt have you seen what Scott has done down here in FL? No one wants to sidle up to him now, not even the people who voted for him.
I just love CNNs bias... Obama "misspeaks" when talking about exporting jobs, but Newt is "ripping" Romney. It's sickening. Liberals just love a bunch of YES men and no challenge. That's sounds about right with the way Obama is running the country. Discourse, which would more accurately discribe Newt, is necessary. Nothing gets done without it.
I'm confused – whose polls are these anyway? This says "CNN poll of polls"? I don't see any other news agency showing such a big Obama lead in either of these states.
This shows that Newt is even more out of touch than Romney . Yes and the rising cost of bacon can be laid at Obama's feet as well .
Gingrich is so smart, yet he can't conceive of the idea that Americans just might not be lining up to follow the Republican mantra of "lower taxes, less government, less regulation = a better America." Kasich can brag about the OH economy in no small part because of the Auto bailout.
Gingrich loves shock and awe rhetoric, but most Americans see it for what it is – grandstanding.
Remember, for over a year, we've been hearing about Rmney's qualifications as a businessman who can lead us back to prosperity. Now, Republicans are saying that his "message" is not clear? How's that?
Newty, the serial adulterer, is a piece of work....
But as a democrat, you have to Love him!!!!
OK time for Obama haters to say the lamestream media is after their guy – despite the recent criticism coming from conservatives like the bastion of marriage himself Newter
Crooks for Romney________The latest GOP super pac.
What a racist remark mama....oh wait....only white men can be racist! Unemployment over 8% with fewer working age people employed than ever before. More people on government support than ever before. Government debt up more than 1/3 since Obama took office and the rate of increase up vs under Bush. Yup Obama is doing a GREAT job! Don't let facts get in the way of your vote!
So the guy who lost his own campaign is now telling Romney about campaigning. Newt is morbidly obese. He can't control what goes into his mouth or what comes out of it. He reminds me of J Wellington Wimpy, Popeye's friend who is round as a ball, always eating hamburgers, and mumbling.
The only problem with the Romney campaign is Romney, Ryan, and the Republican party.
This is proof that Gingrich is clueless. The man still hasn't figured out that no U.S president controls the price of oil. This is been out there as we all know, except Gingrich. He puts his idiological blinders on and just goes.
Too easy to suggest that the reason why Ohio and Florida are doing well is due to their republican governors. Has that man really sat down and accessed how well the other republican governors are doing? Goes to show that with Gingrich, all you have to do is give him a long rope then stand back and watch him hang himself. Same goes for the other right-wingers as well. Idiologically driven politics is blind politics.
I am surprised at you CNN.
Why are you even talking to this loser. Newt is a serial philanderer, never made it past the GOP primaries, and has no respect for the presidency or the office.
The guy is like Palin, always wants to be in the limelight. Both Newt and Palin have never contributed anything substantial to the country, other than bagfuls of hate.
This arrogant jerk couldn't be elected dog-catcher, yet he seems to think he's in a postion to hand out advice. Give me a break. The only reason he seems smart is because the rest of the GOP is so dumb.
Mann everybody know OBAMA is trying to help us, just vote for OBAMA and we'll have the best outcome there possibly is, point blank period.
Newt, you old gallon of milk, it is not a messaging problem, it is a candidate problem and a PARTY PROBLEM INSIDE OUT!
Newt has frank, honest assessments of everyone but himself.
@Dominican Mama-you stated it EXACTLY in your first post.
That is precisely what is going on. They despise him, and it's
not for his policies. It is simply for who he is, and his
heritage. And you also nailed it with your last point.
People do love him. Not everyone, and I accept and understand
that. But still, a hell of alot of them.