Gingrich under fire
December 14th, 2011
08:41 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich under fire

Iowa City, Iowa (CNN) - Newt Gingrich is getting a nasty taste of what’s to come.

As the former House speaker stood in a classroom at the University of Iowa and began to detail his vision for a federal brain-science project dedicated to curing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, Occupy Iowa City protesters started shouting.

The rowdy disruption lasted for several minutes. One Republican in the room ripped a written speech from the hands of one demonstrator.

But Gingrich eventually seized control of the event as the protesters were led out of the room.

That wasn’t the worst of it. At the end of a question and answer session following Gingrich’s remarks, one man in the crowd attacked the GOP front-runner’s personal life.

“Seems like you have a Ph.D. in cheating on your wife,” the unidentified man said.

It was a bitter end to a day that began with a barrage of attacks from Mitt Romney and his supporters, who are out to blunt Gingrich’s momentum heading into the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

The Romney offensive sought to enflame tensions at the top of the Republican field little more than a day after Gingrich issued a plea to his fellow contenders to wage a positive campaign.

But Gingrich would have none of it.

“They should run their campaign the way they want to and I'm going to run my campaign the way I want to,” Gingrich told reporters at a news conference after the University of Iowa event.

Gingrich conceded he was drawn into a war of words with Romney earlier in the week. This time, he said he was not going to take the bait.

“My campaign is going to be focused on positive ideas and positive solutions and I'm frankly taking the gamble that the American people care about solving our country's problems - not just watch politicians beat each other up,” Gingrich added.

Earlier in the day, Romney seemed to question the former speaker’s seriousness as a presidential candidate in an interview with the New York Times.

“Zany is not what we need in a president. It may work on talk radio… But in terms of a president, we need a leader,” Romney told the Times.

The pro-Romney political action committee Restore Our Future was also on the attack. It aired a new negative ad that portrays a Gingrich candidacy as a dream-come-true for Democrats.

“Barack Obama’s plan is working. Destroy Mitt Romney. Run against Newt Gingrich,” the ad states.

Adding to the video onslaught, the Romney campaign released a new web ad that features Gingrich and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in their now infamous plea to combat climate change.

When pressed by reporters to respond to Romney’s attacks, even Gingrich's spokesman declined.

“We’re going to stay positive in this campaign,” R.C. Hammond said.

Gingrich, who has ridiculed Occupy Wall Street protesters in the past, offered an olive branch to the protesters who interrupted his speech.

“I’d be glad to talk to them about how to create jobs,” Gingrich said.

It was clearly a different Gingrich on display. The former speaker exhibited restraint, holding back his trademark acid-tongued comebacks.

But the Gingrich confidence could not be contained.

Asked about recent polls that show he poses less of a challenge to President Obama than Romney, Gingrich made a less-than-modest comparison.

“I’m at about where Reagan was with Carter at this stage,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich told reporters he’s looking forward to taking a new bus across Iowa in the next two weeks to make his case to caucus-goers face to face.

As he walked out of the news conference, he told reporters he is still having fun.

Also see:

Romney video ties Gingrich to left

Reid labels Gingrich 'presumptive' nominee

Sen. Rubio for vice president?

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (291 Responses)
  1. elizabeth75

    Rudy NYC, just because Osama Bin Laden was killed doesn't mean that the country is now safe. Islam is the second most popular religion in THE WORLD, and many come from countries that aren't as "evolved" as the US when it comes to religious freedom. They are just waiting for the right time to strike back, and if you people like yourself are under the impression we are safe, that will just make it easier for them. Also, maybe you should check out an Ayn Rand book. She's a bit extreme in her love for Capitalism, but she also came from a communist country. If you don't care about the wealthy americans leaving our country, who are you going to tax when they are all gone?

    December 15, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. elizabeth75

    What happened to my other comment? Anyway, all of you holier than thou people criticizing Gingrich for adultery, Bill Clinton and JFK also cheated on their wives, so it's not something that only happens with Republicans. Bill Clinton did an incredible job and still had a 68% approval rating after the whole Lewinsky garbage. Why weren't you so harsh with him? Not to mention, Obama was smoking pot and snorting lines in college. Drug use is ok(great message for kids), but adultery is not?

    December 15, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    sunpacific wrote:

    What have you republicans done in contrast other than whine? Obama is to be praised: it will take more than one term to turn around 8 years of republican "leadership." George Dubya Bush was the one who saddled us with two-billions-of-dollars costing wars and a shattered economy. Who do you think approved TARP? You know, the billions-of-dollars costing bail-out for the ultra-rich & uber conservative banksters?
    Seeing how the markets enjoyed 6 years of shark feeding before the Great Recession hit, I would estimate that it would take 12 years for the economic wounds to heal. That has been the trend for the past 30 years. It takes twice as long to heal the economy folloiwing the feeding frenzy that always occurs in the markets following a round of "trickle down" tax cuts.

    TARP was engineered and delivered under the Bush administration. New reports as surfacing that it appears that much more than $700 billion was given away without a trace. Much more. Facts are showing that they gave away ten times that amount or more. The figure is standing at $7.7 trillion was actually given away without a trace under TARP. $7.7 trillion.

    December 15, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Handofdoom

    Being unethical, immoral, corrupt so what new about DC or OBAMA ,Oh yes lets not forget Newt Gingrich !

    December 15, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. elizabeth75

    And to the people crying about taxes, the top ten percent of earners in the country pay 68% of the taxes. So stop your whining and do some research. 37% of the taxes are paid by the top 1%. You really need to quit listening to the mantra of others and start learning for yourself.

    December 15, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. tim

    higher monkey, higher

    December 15, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. NoGr8rH8r

    Look what the G.O.P has become. Sad .

    December 15, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. elizabeth75

    tim- go read a book and enjoy your computer, home, heat/air, and all of the things that you take for granted on a daily basis.

    December 15, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. JIMFAY200

    Newt is lying Bigot....Go, Obama!!!

    December 15, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. JIMFAY200

    Newt is a liar and a cheat.....I'll take Obama for another 4 years...

    December 15, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Joe

    2 points: 1) The polling among the GOP candidates asking which one the people prefer isn't saying much of anything. If you had to choose between the least objectionable piece of garbage – you are probably still not satisfied with the offerings and are fully aware that the entire group of choices was just that – garbage. These polls do not measure actual motivation to vote. 2) Newt can't out run his past. And we are talking a very CONSISTENT past over the years until now. He is not only ethically challenged, he is against the middle class, the youth, women, students/teachers/re-education for our workforce to compete globally, minorities, gays, the military/vets, the unemployed, and too many others to list here.

    In short – If you are a conservative falling in any of these demographics, and waste your vote on Newt, you are voting against your own best interests in a big way.

    December 15, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. JohnChen

    For the fifth straight survey, the GOP field has a new frontrunner in Iowa.

    On Thursday, December 15, 2011,Rasmussen reports that in the Iowa caucus, Mitt Romney​ leads former Speaker Newt Gingrich 23 percent to 20 percent, with Ron Paul​ close by at 18 percent

    December 15, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Joe

    Newt = Greed and corruption

    Way to go on that loser, far right baggers.

    December 15, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. American Citizen

    A different reporter here at CNN remarked that the best we can hope for from a presidential campaign is that it is entertaining – what a shortsighted opinion. The best I can hope for is a person that will meet the standard of a solid, moral leader that will bring this nation back to its feet and right it.

    I don't see any candidate that qualifies. America, we are really in very serious trouble so far as morality is concerned, but again – this must start within the know the rest of that story.

    December 15, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. CanadaOne

    On Saturday Jan 14 Occupy interntaional will protest at all GOP offices in USA – 3 millions Canadians will be coming down to help

    GOP is a disgrace to the poor and middlle class and they are funded by the "1% group" – time to protest – pass it on

    GOP = "Government Opposed to the People"

    December 15, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. FreeLove

    Flipper is looking desperate. Newt is the perfect fit for today's GOP.

    December 15, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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