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. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Hey Newt, how's that Contract With America coming or the plan to run Bill Clinton out of town on a rail? Oh, that's right, the former didn't "take" and Bill served out his term while you left Congress in disgrace. Never mind..........

    December 14, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  2. Tony

    Newt would rather being writing those paperweights he calls books. He's a "historian" if you beleive that malarky.
    He's a sad person, selfish, overweight, and usually wrong in his personal beliefs.

    December 14, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  3. Woman In California

    “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.

    We also care about morals – something you don't seem to share with most of us.

    December 14, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that Gingrich doesn't understand the issues that the protesters are talking about. Many of these protester are concerned about the jobs that some of these companies move jobs oversee and still call themselves American companies. There is also the growing disparity between the rich and the poor. When the Supreme Court calls money speech, that means that some people have more speech than other which isn't what the country is based on. The founding fathers would be disappointed.

    December 14, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  5. Former Republican, now an Independent

    These people must not know that 1st amendment rights are invalid when questioning republicans.

    December 14, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  6. Squigman

    How can this be? He is (if nothing else), the perfect example of what a leader is, and should be. He's your answer to all the problems faced by the nation. He's a paragon of clean living and sportmanship. He's a perfect example of republican hypocracy and contradictions. He's just one of the reasons why we do not need a republican in the White House.

    December 14, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  7. ibwon

    Har de har har.. This should be fun. Almost as fun as watching the GOP's collective head explode when Obama is re-elected.

    December 14, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  8. Linda

    How could anyone vote for this guy? No less, those who say they want new blood- this old guy is like a snake oil salesman – what he offers is nothing that will help our nation. He has no morals, not even human kindness as he left his first wife for another woman when she was in the hospital fighting cancer! Come on Americans, how could you even vote for any Republican unless you are independently wealthy! Or have no children to worry about the environment for? Or care nothing for American values and workers ....How can anyone even think of voting for this guy, or Romney for that matter – all he did was put Americans out of work. Vote for your own best interests!

    December 14, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  9. Showmeyerpapers

    What about all the areas of our country where the standard of living is govt aid, where the american society has been utterly destroyed and unrecognizable. We once had the greatest nation on earth, now in so many places all we have is "the streets" depressed mehican varios or barrios as they are so proud to say. My once quiet street is now a mexexpressway . The clovis were here long before any mehicans or indians ever existed and they were WHITE. I say deport them all every single one of them, if theyve married americans send them along. Its time to go home and fix their rathole country and stop sucking us dry and preying on innocent americans!

    December 14, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  10. JoAnn Parker

    And when have you been able to believe Obama?( “Barack Obama’s plan is working. Destroy Mitt Romney. Run against Newt Gingrich,” the ad states).Believe just apposite of what he say. He is scared of Newt

    December 14, 2011 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  11. Gemini Girl

    FOLKS, if we let this character anywhere near the White House, then we Americans have indeed sunk to an all-time low.

    December 14, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  12. Lenny Pincus

    Gingrich has employed the politics of destruction–as have most Republicans–for his entire life. To him and his followers, there is no principled opposition; there are only demons. This country is founded on a blend of liberalism and conservatism, but Newton pulls out every red meat, hot button, horse manured invective to stump for his own personal glory. A crude, amoral charlatan, he believes he lives far above any code of ethics, yet he demands the little people comply with his narrow view of the world. People should get in his face and scream, and he should be reminded every moment of the day that he is a two-faced coward who respects neither the law nor moral commitment.

    December 15, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  13. TB

    Newt Gingrich is NOT "Ronald Reagan"...and President Obama is NOT "Jimmy Carter"...

    December 15, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  14. Mass Exodus

    "This time, he said he was not going to take the bait."

    It seems like Gingrinch has a history of "yes, but THIS time is different." lol

    December 15, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  15. rob

    He summed it all up "as he walked out of the news conference, he told reporters he is still having fun" this is all just a game to him. How can anyone believe a word he says?

    December 15, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  16. jo an

    Newt...needs to get as good as he gives....

    December 15, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  17. Cynthia C.

    I'm hoping that Gingrich gets in!

    December 15, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  18. Relictus

    He would woo the nation, but we know what he does once he's put a ring on it.

    December 15, 2011 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  19. normajean @ verizon ,com

    It's a little late for Gingrich to start cleaning up the messy life he has led and preach to others what they should do. I can't believe that there are actually people out there that buy his baloney and would vote for this disgusting man for president.Can't you people read/ Don't you have enough pride to realize that this man has neither the integrity nor honesty to be our president. Don't you think that YOU deserve something better????I DO!!!!!

    December 15, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  20. Independent_me

    The Grand Old Party is now overrun by extremists who compete with each other in expressing hate and viciousness to anyone who is different from them. Now they are turning on each other. What is that snake called that eats itself???

    December 15, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  21. Marcus Kellar

    why is this guy obsessed with being Reagan, he is killing Regans weak legacy thanks to Gingrich's on staff Reagan historian Kiron skinner. she appears to roll over and sit on command

    December 15, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  22. Denny O,Brien

    i think and know from the bottom of my heart that michele bachmann would be no doubt about it the best president of the usa.

    December 15, 2011 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  23. demogal

    Fire away at him; he deserves it.

    December 15, 2011 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  24. pmn

    It couldn't happen to a more deserving person.

    December 15, 2011 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  25. Just Me

    Of course he is under fire. But he has not begun to feel the heat as yet. Wait until the Republican elite & their followers mentally digest that he could really be the nominee, be up agaist Obama, and get beaten like a ragged doll come November next year, then we will see some serious fire works.

    They know that Robney is their best hope of beating Oboma, so expect the pro-Romey camp to come out soon with matches and gasoline cans to light up Gingrich like an unwanted Christmas tree soon. If Gingrich does get the nomination, Republicans will be dropping dead en masse like birds falling from the skies. And of course, they don't want to die like that. So expect Gingrich to come under serious fire very very soon. When the fireworks really starts, 4th of July celebrations will pale in comparison. Should be interesting to watch him roast from the sideline.

    Make sure you are burning Gingrich, you at least smell appetizing. Oh..God..nevermind. The thought of that just turned my stomach.

    December 15, 2011 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
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