September 26th, 2012
05:13 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich hits Romney in frank assessment

(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?"


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (424 Responses)
  1. Ann

    Romney is more honest than Gingrich and he acknowledges the good points about Obama. The problem is that Mr. Obama is from Chicago.. He is the person who allowed 4 years ago his campaign to say that Bill Clinton was racist. When someone does something like that once, you learn a lot about his character and don't give him a chance ever.. you just keep punching, otherwise he will punch you. Gingrich is right.

    September 26, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  2. Yosemite Sam

    Priceless. Newt attributes the GOP's failures to technical missteps. Maybe it's much simpler- maybe, just maybe, the voters known who has their best interests at heart.

    September 26, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. Name

    Iam happy and glad that somebody on the republican side can finally be honest and tell the truth about mitt romney like newt gingrich he never bites his tongue go newt four more years for president obama

    September 26, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  4. Guest

    Newt Gingrich, who ran one of the most disorganized and dysfunctional campaigns in recent history, is giving campaign advice? What's next-Donald Trump bringing us hair care tips???

    September 26, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  5. KC Yankee

    There's blood in the water, and all the sharks can taste it. Read Hunter S. Thompson. Mittens is done.

    September 26, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  6. Eciam

    Newt He's an expert now!
    Mitts taxes, Swiss accts, Shell company, Cayman IL, Letters are not tax forms, 47%,
    MittCare, Ryan lies, auto bail out, taking bailout money, running lie it all adds up!

    September 26, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. Steven Colo

    Geez, Mitt, see what happens when ya don't double-tap?

    September 26, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  8. Newt Botwin

    I'm sure Romney is worried what a former disgraced Speaker of the House thinks.

    September 26, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  9. Harrry Baxter

    Newt is irrelevent, but it doesn't stop him from running his mouth. He's competing with Sarah Palin to be the most despised, biggest joke in the Republican Party.

    September 26, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  10. Fact

    It's clear. This is not the party of Reagan!

    September 26, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  11. Mandor

    And of course, Mr. Gingrinch is the very soul of impartiality on this matter, and has no axes to grind whatsoever.

    September 26, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  12. Deb in MT

    Failure of what message? Mittens has tried them all, I think.

    Look at his statements today where he embraces Romneycare. Is this the same Romneycare that Mittens ran from–like a terrified bunny rabbit–during his CBS interview..yesterday? Is his 'let them have emergency rooms' attitude no longer operative? Will he still agree with himself tomorrow?

    I'm getting whiplash from trying to keep up with Mittens' changing positions: it's like watching a championship pingpong match.

    Sigh....at this rate, President Obama doen't need to show up for the debates: Mittens can just debate himself. How does finessing a 'message' fix this kind of mess?

    September 26, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  13. The Unsub

    Oh Newt, you had your turn now just go away!

    September 26, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  14. Fact

    It is not the messaging.

    September 26, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  15. Dave

    Seriously, Newt? What a cynical, manipulative statement at the end there. He knows very well there's precious little a US president can do to influence the price of gasoline–but he's counting on people to be too dim to know that. What a dbag.

    September 26, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  16. AgrippaMT

    Well, we all agree that the Romney campaign is bizarre and he is likely to lose. Just imagine for a moment how much more bizarre it would be if Newtie was the candidate. America is fortunate that he is not, and even more fortunate that Romney is going to lose.

    September 26, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  17. Olaf Big

    Newt is a demagogue." If Obama cares for middle class, why is the price of gasoline at all time high?" Maybe because of economic realities that have little to do with who is in the Oval office? Maybe because true to republican principles, the government will not foster dependency by subsidizing gasoline?

    September 26, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  18. oldwhiteguy

    Okay, dismissing the comment about the price of gas since the President has little if anything to do with that, I still find Gingrich's comments puzzling. He asks for a "flexible" campaign. Romney has been so flexible he makes a circus rubber man look like he has a stick up his backside. The latest is Romney trying to be "compassionate" about healthcare when he has announced that he intends to repeal Obamacare....the very plan that he instituted in Massachusetts! Face it, Mitt is a salesman. He's Willy Loman. He says whatever it takes to make the sale. He has no vision and nothing to stand on. He and his crowd feel entitled to have this job. I don't even think he buys into half of the right wing nonsense that he's been forced to espouse in order to be the GOP nominee. But hey, that's the difference between telling us what you believe and what you think you want us to hear.

    September 26, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  19. msg

    ....I'm sorry, but I have to ask: we are listening to Newt becausssssse....?
    He only pulled two states when he ran!!

    September 26, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  20. fernace

    We got Romney & his GOTP crew's message several month's ago, nothing he does or says can change what he has already said & done! He & Ryan stand for the 1%, as was so "non-eloquently" exposed in that "47%" video, but before that we saw it in their budget plan! It's much too late now for Romney to declare his "love" for the middleclass & that he's running "for them"! A few months ago it was "2 years of tax returns! That's all You People get"! Hypocracy thy name is Romney!! Obama Nov.6!

    September 26, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  21. Clint, Wa.

    41 days until Romney’s conceding speech!

    September 26, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  22. nmkerns

    What the CNN article doesn't tell us is that there's a very good reason why Romney hasn’t outlined the differences between the two campaigns. It's not because they can't; any conservative policy wonk worth his salt could easily write a position paper outlining the rather stark differences between the two platforms. It's because they can't afford to, because virtually none of the positions Romney holds on the major issues appeal to moderate, independent voters – i.e., the 6-7% of remaining undecided voters – the very block to which he needs desperately to pander, should he have any outside chance of winning this election at all.

    Amazingly, just as in 2008 with McCain/Palin, this is a problem entirely of the Republican Party's own making. When forced with the challenge to adopt more moderate, populist policy positions that would appeal to a wider cross-section of the electorate, the GOP instead decided to do just the opposite, doubling down on their most conservative positions in an apparent attempt to rally their ultraconservative base. The problem this created is that the delta between the espoused party platform and the values of the moderate voters they need to sway is so great that it can't be bridged in any sort of credible way.

    This conundrum has left them no choice but to speak and campaign in doublespeak, half-truths, and non-specifics, because to come out and flatly state the Republican platform’s policies would be tantamount to electoral suicide. Most moderates actually LIKE ObamaCare, they understand that, at least right now, the wealthiest among us need to chip in a little more, they feel that a woman's body is her own business, and that anyone should have the right to marry anyone else, regardless of gender.

    It's a terribly untenable position for any political candidate to be forced to pander to 60 to 70% of the electorate with policy positions that are near the extreme end of the political spectrum, but that's the challenge Romney & Ryan's face when they have to try and win over moderate liberals and conservatives, while simultaneously keeping their base energized to get out and vote.

    At this point, it's beginning to feel like Romney's best chance would be to pivot back to his base, energized the hell out of them, and hope that the preponderance of polls showing Obama with a growing lead fosters democratic apathy on Election Day. That, combined with the GOP’s attempts at voter disenfranchisement may be all he has left now.

    September 26, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  23. Ragin' Cajun

    Romney may not get on board as a "Newt recruit", but that's not what will keep him out of the White House. He's already aced that with his "7 wonders of the world plan for self wealth" and his better than thou attitude.

    September 26, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  24. frank

    Gingrich, do the electrote a favor; Go Away!

    September 26, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  25. John

    Romney cares for the poor? That's new. But he will soon forget about the poor once the election is over, regardless whether he wins or not.

    September 26, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
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