Romney to take on Gingrich at debate
December 10th, 2011
06:54 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney to take on Gingrich at debate

(CNN) - Mitt Romney, who's watched opponent Newt Gingrich speed ahead to frontrunner status in the GOP presidential horserace, said he'll use Saturday night's presidential debate in Iowa to highlight his differences with the former House speaker.

"I'll be doing that tonight," Romney said during a surprise stop at his Iowa campaign headquarters in Des Moines on Saturday. "I'm sure we'll get plenty of opportunities to talk about our similarities and our differences."

The debate, hosted by ABC News and the Des Moines Register, will be the first showdown since Gingrich surged to the top of the polls and since former Godfather's Pizza executive Herman Cain suspended his campaign.

The last few days have seen a mounting tension between Romney and Gingrich, whose surrogates have openly gone after each other through conference calls and ads.

While the candidates themselves have largely avoided direct attacks this week, Romney on Friday gave a taste of some particular positions he takes issue with in regards to Gingrich's campaign.

In an interview with the Des Moines Register's editorial board, Romney said he disagreed with Gingrich on climate change, immigration and child labor laws.

The brewing rivalry first made waves last month, when in a radio interview, Gingrich boasted being "a lot more conservative" than Romney and criticized him as a flip-flopper.

The former Massachusetts governor quickly hit back, describing Gingrich in a TV interview as a "lifelong politician." It was a label that Gingrich quickly embraced.

Eyes will be on both candidates as they face off in a public setting Saturday night in Iowa, a state that holds the nation's first nominating contest. According to the latest CNN/Time/ORC International Poll, Gingrich leads the GOP pack in the state with 33% of support among likely Republican caucus goers, with Romney at 20%.

- CNN's Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

Also see:

Romney jabs Gingrich over space ideas

Santorum predicts last-minute surge

Gingrich, Romney joust via surrogates

Gingrich: Palestinians are an 'invented people'

Filed under: Iowa • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. cgs

    If the tea party is supporting the extremely corrupt Newt they have lost all credibility. Evangelicals may trust a repentant sinner (the more sin the better) but they are the only ones. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Newt is a wild card who cannot win independents. Wise up republicans or we are going to give Obama another 4 years.

    December 10, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. winnie the pooh

    King Kong vs. Godzilla

    December 10, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. bilk7

    Voters do know the differences between Romney and Gingrich. That's why Gingrich is up in the polls!

    December 10, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. topaz99

    The circus continues.

    December 10, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  5. Larry L

    What an easy target! Romney is a flip-flopper, clueless regarding macro-economics and foreign policy, and totally unethical in his business and political practices. Yet he is a vastly better choice than Newt Gingrich. Those who support the disgraced Speaker have lost all hope for ethics, honor, and compassion in a leader. They have allowed the hatred driven by countless hours tuned-in to the lies of hate-radio and Fox News to make them forsake their own values. Newt makes people take their eyes off the hands of the flim-flam man... "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...".

    December 10, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. enough of the wicked "O"

    why not target obama instead of infighting, want to lose more votes, just keep it up.

    December 10, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...


    December 10, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  8. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Mr. Gingrich can stand in front of the American voters and promote himself as their savior.....the one person who can bring this great country back to the really working one that it used to be.......he can pontificate about his talents,varied experiences and background accomplishments and practically hypnotize the uninitiated......BUT.........he can never live down the unsavory background that he and he alone is responsible for. Any voter that takes the time to read and think will not find him worthy of leadling this great nation. We are suffering now.....we will rise will however take a man of great character to lead us......and that man can never be .......Newt Gingrich!!!

    December 10, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  9. Me

    You mentioned Cain more than you mentioned Mr.Paul............Shame!

    December 10, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    Yes, $250M flip flopper you should have plenty of ammunition (one of the favorite teapublikan words to live by) to shoot (no pun intended) the newter man down.
    The only problem is that the party of those christian family values and bible thumpers would rather have a candidate who is on his third wife than a Mormon who has only been married once. That's a shame.

    December 10, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  11. Tylenol666

    Ginger give it a rest man,, 1.6 million from Fannie May,, infedelities and 3 Marriages, now that the Palestinian People have been "Invented" I wonder who Invented you? you are NOT presidental material!! go home man write another book

    GO RON PAUL!!!

    December 10, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  12. Sameer

    Mitt Romney just bet $10k with Rick Perry. Hmm something sad about that picture. Not a very populist measure Mitt!

    December 10, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Gingrich is correct that there was no Arab Palestinian people prior to 1948 at the earliest. Prior to that date, Palestinians were the Jews living in the land. I understand that these Arabs are just that. The problem is that we need to be diplomatic. The president needs to be tactful and know when the truth will be too painful to say.

    December 10, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  14. T'sah from Virginia

    Listening to the debate now, I cannot MITTens and Perry took a $10,000 bet on an issue!!! Then almost the next question asked had to do with when was the last time they had to MAKE ENDS MEET like normal people and NONE of them answered anything CURRENT – Perry went back to 1978 – NOT 2011!!!!

    Obama 2012

    December 10, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  15. skarphace

    First, it was the Romney vs Perry show. Then, it was the Romney vs Cain show. Now it is the Romney vs Gingrich show.

    As long as they keep downplaying Paul, who won the debate poll by a large margin, the media can sleep well knowing that they have ensured the status quo for 4 more years.

    December 11, 2011 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Newt reminds me of one of them sleezy car salesmen.

    December 11, 2011 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  17. jeri123

    Newt reminds me of a sleezy xcar sales man, hes such a Rino!

    December 11, 2011 03:09 am at 3:09 am |

    Wingnuts continue to cram Romney down the teabaggers' throats. The GOBP wingnut/teabagger trainwreck implosion moves full speed ahead.

    December 11, 2011 06:26 am at 6:26 am |