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. Grog Says

    *** Newt Says ***

    I cheated on all my wives, but if you elect me
    i promise i wont do it again.
    What was that thing Jr Bush said,,,,fool me once.....

    December 15, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Ted

    He considers this "fun." Flippancy we don't need in our leaders. Did he consider it "fun" to shut down the government when he was Speaker of the House too?

    December 15, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. jorge washinsen

    It is really bad when you make a story of our military being kicked out of Iraq. A deal was struck between us and the Iraqis so we could pullout of Iraq without being completely embarrased. We made the deal,,our president, to help in the coming election.The miightyest military in the world leaving because Iraq would not grant us soverenty over our troops if caught in a position they considered breaking Iraqi law.Horse feathers you should be ashamed of your self for being part of this scheme.

    December 15, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. obandon

    Only in America would a desperate bunch of people think someone with the past history of ethics problems that Newt has had would be an OK candidate for President. Sad

    December 15, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. GOP = Greed Over People

    The mere fact that a serial adulterer and a public servant that resigned from Congress in disgrace and paid a 300K ethics fine, is the latest GOP "rising star" proves their rampant hypocrisy when discussing "family values"!

    December 15, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. "NOPE" 2012

    For all of you that believed "HOPE" would help in the past 4 years, please don't vote again!!! The only thing that was left out of "HOPE" was the ending "LESS" – "HOPELESS". And for all of you angels out there that have a perfect personal history welcome to being perfect! Suppose we should create a new 1% in America and consider all of you angels/hypocrits. And for all of you against the 1% remember that the country's wealthiest people have a 100% right to leave the country. Keep Obama in office and more and more wealthy people will take their money, lives, companies and jobs elsewhere. The 1% have a right to income equality also considering they shoulder the burden of over 60% of the governments tax revenue. 1% of people paying 60% of the tax revenue – no wonder more and more business are leaving the US or never starting here in the first place...

    December 15, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. ted

    The GOP has no platform, no resolutions to our problems, no ideas, just baloney. Their only position is to make Obama a one term president so that we can go back to the muck and mire similar to the GW Bush administration. The GOP can fold its tent now and go away. There will be only one choice in 2012 – Obama/Biden

    December 15, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. Grace Of The Witch

    Mortgage rates are up.
    Unempolyment is down.
    Jobs are up.
    Troops are coming home.
    Bin laden gone.
    DADT repealed.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    December 15, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. rocky

    This gang of GOP candidates are like chickens right after their heads are chopped off; during their debates. What a sight.

    December 15, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. SPQR

    We the People should get a restraining order against Newt Gingrich on behalf of our White House.

    December 15, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. FLIndpendent

    The Repub party is a total mess and they all know it. President Obama will be relected because he is the only sane choice and is doing a remarkable job considering all of the obstacles thrown in his way. I believe the majority of Americans do not want to go back to the Bush years and will give President Obama another four years to turn the ship around. There IS progress being made in spite of what all the naysayers, GOP candidates, Faux News, and pundits are telling us. Anyone who claims this president hasn't accomplished anything is just willfully blind or so racist they can't see beyond the hate!

    December 15, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. sf

    Time shut down the GOP and the Tea Party..remember their idiotic rants at the Healthcare townhall meetings? which were all staged and ridiculous...WE THIS TIME ARE SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THOSE STANDING FOR A REAL CAUSE! THE 99%!!!

    I could care less who the GOP candidate is...they wouldn't get my vote even if they put fire to my feet!

    OBAMA 2012!

    December 15, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I'm not likely to vote for any Republican, but if I absolutely had to, Newt would be my choice because he's clearly the only one with any kind of vision at all – and he's go the intellect to back it up. He's a bit of a loose cannon, but I figure the other branches of government can keep him in check if he's elected. God save us from generic Ken doll candidates – let's at least have a choice between interesting people with interesting and daring ideas. Newt certainly fits that description.

    December 15, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. sf

    I believe our PRESIDENT said it best on a recent interview..."Doesn't matter who the GOP candidate is, they all have the same taxes for the rich, and the poor/middle class pay for it..and screw everyone else"...that's the GOP playbook!


    Obama 2012!

    December 15, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. ART

    Well it definately is looking like 4 more years for our outstanding President in spite of our do nothing Rethuglican congress, GOP youre thru.

    December 15, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Punisher2000

    The silliness of the American voter will be proven when Newt becomes the GOP candidate. He obviously disagrees that being president is all about character, which he does not have.

    December 15, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Riley

    Newt has some fine ideas, BUT he is not the man to beat Obama. Mitt Romney will easily defeat the failed presidency of Obama.

    December 15, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. JobCreation

    The 'new' Newt: humble, creative, innovative.
    Job Creation: hire poor middle school kids. That will get them off the streets and lower unemployment statistics.
    Wait, that's like creationism, a hot air bubble, a blurb with no proof in sight. Awwwww

    December 15, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. Lynne

    @SuperD -" President Obama is VERY unpopular now. I believe any Republican could win" Not any Republican that is in congress...their approval rating is still in the toilet! Not sure where you are getting your news but Obama got left with 2 wars, a country on the verge of a cannot throw a country into recession when you've only been in office for single digit months, he also got Bush cooked budget book..."lets just not add in the cost of the war so the budget will look better!!!!"

    SupperD, you need to stop watching FOX news and start using some critical thinking skills of your own. do some research. Did you know that Newt has the exact same background as the President???

    He comes from a non-traditional family, lived outside the USA for most of his formative years, presents himself in a professorial way, his religion is in question (was one religion, now something else - what does he really believe???).

    The big difference is that President Obama has only been married once. he has never been charged with ethics violations and fined $300,000 by his own party and then run out of office in shame! Any you think "any" republican including NEWT can win? Really????????????????

    December 15, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    :NOPE" 2012 wrote:
    And for all of you against the 1% remember that the country's wealthiest people have a 100% right to leave the country. Keep Obama in office and more and more wealthy people will take their money, lives, companies and jobs elsewhere. The 1% have a right to income equality also considering they shoulder the burden of over 60% of the governments tax revenue. 1% of people paying 60% of the tax revenue.
    Good riddance. Let them go. They already can go if they so choose. The only thing stopping them right now is the sweet tax structure that they enjoy in this country. The 99% have a right to income equality, too. No one is against the 1% as you try to characterize it.

    You claim that 1% paying 60% [I will not dispute your numbers] is unfair. Your math is so fuzzy it is chocked with holes. First of all, you are comparing population to dollars. If the 1% earn 60% of the income, then they should pay 60% of the taxes. If the middle class effectively pays 40% of their income in taxes, then the wealthy should pay a similar amount. Why should a billionaire pay a lower rate than a bus driver?

    December 15, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Susan

    As a Democrat, I recongnize that only Gringich represents a challege to our President. The rest of the GOPers do not hold a candle by any figment of the imagination.

    December 15, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    SuperD wrote:

    You better start listening to Newt and what he is saying. I could care less about his baggage, for goodness sakes, if Obama had been properly vetted, he would never president in the first place! Obama is forty times the radical Newt is, and you know deep in your progressive, sick hearts that Newt is going to clobber a stuttering Obama in the debates.
    Obama was vetted by the Bush administration. Your words strongly suggest that Republican administrations are incompetent. Judging by the state of the economy on the day Obama was sworn in I am forced to agree with that opinion.

    December 15, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    "And for all of you against the 1% remember that the country's wealthiest people have a 100% right to leave the country."

    Nice strawman, Mr. Fakes News nutjob. No one hates the 1% or wants them to leave (though you are correct they are free to do so). What OWS and many other Americans want is for the PARASITES in the 1% to leave, or at least be removed from influence over our economy and government. If you do not understand how this is occurring, that speaks more to your blindness or wilful ignorance than it does to anything else.

    December 15, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. carlos

    repugnants and their below plant level is no wonder...........

    December 15, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Kimo

    I have to laugh when I hear Newt say he wants to run a positive campaign. Is this the same Newt who sent a list of names that his fellow Republican congressmen should use to demonize Democrats and make them appear unAmerican? Is this the same Newt who uses sarcasm and cutting remarks at every turn to make fun of anyone he disagrees with? Newt's actions while he was speaker has led to what we have now: a congress that cannot get along well enough to pass the legislation that the country so sorely needs.

    December 15, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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