Romney fires back, works to appeal to everyday Americans
December 12th, 2011
03:33 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney fires back, works to appeal to everyday Americans

Madison, New Hampshire (CNN) - Mitt Romney swatted back at Newt Gingrich Monday in an escalating back-and-forth playing out across the key primary state of New Hampshire.

The former Massachusetts governor told members of the press at Madison Lumber Mill "there's no whining in politics" and seemed to accuse Gingrich of saying "outrageous or incendiary" things in a short-sighted attempt to build support.

Gingrich, who has maintained he will run a persistently positive campaign, took a swing at Romney at an earlier appearance in Londonderry, betting $10 the former governor would not return the money he'd made at his venture capital firm.

The jibe hit Romney as he tries to combat an impression he is out-of-touch with ordinary Americans, after acknowledging in a Saturday debate he had grown up wealthy and then offering his opponent a $10,000 bet.

At his afternoon event Romney repeated his call from earlier that day for Gingrich to return the seven-figure compensation the former speaker received for his work with mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

"If he was working as a spokesman for Freddie Mac, if he was there because of his political connections, and then if Freddie Mac fails, I think a fair question is asked why did he profit if Freddie Mac fails?" Romney asked.

A reporter asked Romney if voters might see Gingrich as better-suited to take on President Obama because of his perceived reputation for throwing sharp elbows.

The former governor suggested he himself would be more likely to unite voters in a general election.

"I know among some folks just saying outrageous or incendiary things will get you a lot of kudos and drive your numbers up," Romney answered. "But it's not going to win us the White House. And it's not going to win us the respect of people on the other side of the aisle that we have to bring together in order to overcome the extraordinary challenges we have."

He would not rule out the possibility of running negative advertisements in the future, despite an insistence by the Gingrich campaign that the former speaker will avoid doing so.

"This is, after all, politics. There's no whining in politics," he said. "You get in a political process and you fight hard and describe the differences between yourself and other candidates."

During his Madison town hall, Romney was asked by a voter if he was out-of-touch with the lives of many Americans.

Romney pointed to the ten years he served as a pastor at his church, where he counseled people and aided those in financial need.

"What impressed me was that we're all the same in the things we aspire for, the things we love - our families, our faith, our country," he said. "When people are out of work, when people don't have a job and they don't feel they're contributing to the betterment of their family and their future, they get pretty depressed."

He continued: "Being out of work for a long period of time is pretty tough. And it's not the fault of the person who is out of work. Overwhelmingly, it's the fault of our economy."

CNN Political Producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Also see:

With 3 weeks until caucuses, Gingrich remains on top in Iowa polls

Huntsman defector faults candidate's N.H. strategy

Gingrich challenges Romney to a bet

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Beverly - NYC

    You know things are bad when this Democrat feels bad for a Republican. Poor Mitt, he's been a good boy, waited his turn, schilled for his party, met the Donald's the Donald and they still don't like him. Really, Republicans a serial groom is your best candidate?

    December 12, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. SaintM

    No matter who wins the Republican Senior Superlative Contest, (ya know, the cutest, class clown, best dressed, best dancer, best smile, prettiest hair, etc, etc.) most people will make the right choice when it comes to choosing thier leader in the general election. None of them will have had the experience our current president has, and any one of the repub candidates would run like a chicken with its head cut off when a major natural disaster or an international incident occurs.

    December 12, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Actually, they had to be temporary for procedural reasons since the GOP used Reconciliation to "jam them down our throats"...TWICE.
    Are you referring to the Democrat controlled Senate and House that passed the Obama tax cuts for all working Americans that actually pay federal income taxes???? Or as I refer to them, the Obama Tax Cuts for the Rich, that he says aren't paying their fair share, but that he gave tax reductions to? He signed it into law, he owes it...."

    When you need to rationalize so hard that you twist yourself in knots, then you probably aren't making a good spin of it. No. I wasn't referring to Obama compromising with teh GOP in 2010 to extend the Bush tax cuts so that DADT could be repealed, unemployment would be extended and START could get passed. I was referring to the GOP using Reconciliation, the procedure they throw a temper tantrum over whenever Dems try to use it, in 2001 and 2003 to pass the original Bush tax cuts that they promised and were required to be temporary and that they now claim were supposed to be and should be made permanent. Nice try tho, junior.

    December 12, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. annie s

    The minute Romney said "corporations are people too" it was apparent he'd never understand the working class. This man is the epitome of the 1%.

    December 12, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    The Real Tom Paine
    Four and The Door, ever been one of those people laid off that you just described?
    ..and you would rather see 10 unemployed than 6? Obama loves people like you. He counts on your support!

    December 12, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Ever wonder how cutting a bunch of jobs can keep the unemployment rate from going up? Impossible, right? Not so. If you have 10 people in a failing organization working to do the job 6 people could do in a better-run organization,then if you reorganize and keep only 6 people, you have saved 6 jobs."

    And, even better, if you can fire all 10 of the Amurikan bast-rds for demanding faireasonable middle-class Amurikan salaries with benefits, ship the operation over to China or India, and then hire 5 outsourced foreigners to do the work of 10 people for pennies on the dollar and without any labor organization or crazy demands like health insurance or weekends or limits on work hours per day or age of employee, then yuo can save yourself millions and start breaking down the fabric of Amurikan life so that Amurika's middle-class can eventually be broken and turned into similar third-world labor.

    December 12, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. CoJo

    how come CNN is unaware that
    Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) - The economic plan proposed by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich would add $1.3 trillion to the U.S. budget deficit in 2015 alone, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
    This reported in the SFGate (associated to the San Fransico Chronicle

    December 12, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. FedUp

    "Everyday Americans?" Tell you what Mitt. You give me the $10,000 you were going to bet your good buddy Perry, and then we will talk about everyday Americans. That way, I can pay my bills while I am unemployed. I was hoping we would actually be able to vote for someone we liked this year. Looks like I will have to vote for the lesser of all the evils. Not sure I can find one.

    December 12, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    BREAKING: Mitt Romney Apologizes For Being Rich

    Sorry if I offended any of you peasants who will never know what it's like to rich. It's my money and I'll bet if I want to.
    Mitt Romney.

    December 12, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    The Real Tom Paine

    Four and The Door, ever been one of those people laid off that you just described? Your explanation would not provide food for someone's table.

    Been there, done that. Also tried talking those issues with Four. It's like beating your head against a brick wall. He just comes back with more nonsense. Guys got as much empathy as Mittens (... or Newt ... or Perry). Keep trying, though. Maybe you can get through to him. God knows, I've tried.

    December 12, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. AlaskaPalin

    Some say that its because myth romney belongs to the LSD religion that's why he is not polling as well as he should be. But just listening to romney speak about the unemployed seems surreal; a man who cannot empathize even out of touch. There seems to be nothing of the roll up the sleeve; chop some wood; sweat a little american pioneering spirit in romney. He needs a bit of rock pop, jazz or soul he is too classical. He seems red coat rather than minuteman. He is not a charismatic leader. He portrayed himself as so tightly reined that when he loosens himself a bit he seems completely out of sorts and others don't get it. Newt on the other hand is the winner for 2012.

    December 12, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Milton K. Wiah

    Mitt should know that many of us study economy in school. His job at Bain Capital was to buy struggling companies.
    And when someone takes over struggling companies, they restructure or reorganize. And that comes with
    redundancy. Redundancy puts people out of work. So how he, Mitt will be a job creator. His is a job killer.
    Mind you I am not an American, I am Dutch-Liberian

    December 12, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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