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. AlaskaPalin

    At the rate they are going they'll soon run out of metaphorical ammunition to used against the elephant newt. His hide is thick; it all bounces off. Myth romneys carefully crafted facade has fallen showing all and sundry the dirt beneath. Washington is dirty and newt just seems fit for the job. One will hope that his opponents will continue to heap more dirt on him for he needs the practice in defeating obama and the chicago 'tug style' politics.

    December 15, 2011 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  2. Zwei Stein

    I guess once you leave congress in disgrace, your next step is to the White House. Just a normal progression.

    December 15, 2011 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  3. it is sad

    I am going to enjoy watching this train wreck. Ron Paul will be the front runner next week and Newt will be back to lashing out and lying about his past. Remember, Newt really doesn't want you to look at his past, he wants you to see his vision of the future. But since history seems to repeat itself, it is safe to say he will soon be looking at ethics violatios.

    December 15, 2011 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  4. John

    Give em hell Newt! I want to see you destroy Obama in the presidential debates.

    December 15, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  5. John

    I'm baffled. How can Bishop Romney call Newt "zany" when he, Mittens, believes Jesus lives on the planet Kolob, that Native American Indians are, in fact, Israelites, that underwears can be Magical (and bulletproof), and that Satan (Jesus' brother) buried all the dinasaur bones in the late 17th Century just to fool "scientists" a hundred years later?

    Lay off calling others "zany," Bishop Romney... you, sir, are a walking nutcase!

    December 15, 2011 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  6. m

    Yep, he's having fun at the expense of everyday people. gingRICH is nothing but a fraud. Someone will eventually push him hard enough and he will explode exposing his true self. America has seen enough of this overstuffed gas bag for far too long.

    December 15, 2011 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  7. Richard

    And just think if he is elected, we will have, a hypocrite womanizer as the president , and "the first jezebel" as a first lady. What a stain on the White House.

    December 15, 2011 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  8. Name king

    Gingrich's policies be more extreme than Romney's, lesson we cannot go back to the depression time frame of the filthy rich and the dirt poor, which the repubs deregulations and tax cuts for the rich is taking us. We've seen for 10 years now that the trickle down repubs policies is an abomination. The money is getting sucked out of our economy by the rich, and they are not pumping it back in the economy so folks can get a job. Obama took over an economy with a financial Calimidy. He turned it around, because he thought if the rich wasn't making money they wouldn't rehire the folks they have just let go. The rich has regained their stride and now are making more money than anytime in history, yet they haven't rehire the folks they've let go. Obama has done his job which is required of a president, and that is set businesses up for success and get out of the way and allow the free market to flow, according to the repubs ideology, but it haven't worked. Obama need to get the federal government involve and start modernizing our country, and the only way to do that is to vote out all the obstructionist who are allowing our infrastructure be a third world country.

    December 15, 2011 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  9. MadInCT

    Yeah, right! This "new" Newt will evaporate like a fart in the wind once he is challenged and forced to resort to his so-called "intellect". Nuclear Newt implosion coming soon to a site near you. Wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...

    December 15, 2011 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  10. Dave A

    A classic case of ILLUSIONS OF GRANDER

    December 15, 2011 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  11. Anne

    Funny, i almost long for the early days of the "mudsling period." Not the truly brutal mudsling. But a time when candidates weren't interested in re-creating Pleseantville with silliness on the side. This, while stating their goals and taking an occasional jab at the opponent.

    December 15, 2011 04:16 am at 4:16 am |

    I am still waiting for his take on "family values!" But, then again, just maybe he would rather not take on THAT subject!

    December 15, 2011 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  13. OrangeW3dge

    I like what he says. I mean it sounds good when you hear it. But whether he can deliver is an entirely different question. The political environment in America is more like a horse race. And voting is like the $2 bet. Even if you win, it doesn't "pay" very much. That is probably why voters stay home.

    December 15, 2011 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  14. Thinker

    Arrogant, immodest, obese. Typical American politician. Vote Ron Paul 2012 for real change.

    December 15, 2011 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  15. RushL

    Newt, I knew the gipper...and you're no Gipper.

    December 15, 2011 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  16. Flo6

    Why would I vote for a man who does not believe that having Ethics is an important quality to have. Remember he was convicted of Ethics Violations.

    December 15, 2011 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  17. MAngeline

    It will indeed be surprising if The Newt stays positive. He is known for his sharp tongue and his explosions of temper. The man is morally and temperamentally unfit to be President. His massive ego will not allow him to stay quiet because the truth about him as we all know it is not HIS truth. His background as a serial cheeater wives and K Street lobbying will sink him.

    December 15, 2011 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  18. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Hey, Newt, welcome to the "official front runner" status. How does it feel to walk around with a dart board on your back? Everyone attacked Mitt for being an aloof, elitist when he was on top. Everyone attacked Bachmann as a brainless twit when she was in the lead. Everyone attacked Perry as a clueless mook when he was in the lead. Everyone attacked Cain because he was a Black man that had the audacity to be in the lead in the campaign, and Karl Rove could not allow that. Now everyone is after you.
    At least you are doing better than Huntsman and Santorum, whom everyone ignores, and that other guy who hasn't been in a debate yet. Then there are Ron Paul and THE DONALD, both of whom could throw monkey wrenches in Republican aspirations by constantly hinting that a third party candidacy is not out of consideration.

    December 15, 2011 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  19. Joe

    John Huntsman is the guy Obama truly fears, but the GOP is too stupid to see that, and too radicalized to nominate him.

    December 15, 2011 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  20. Deep North

    Newt's personal choices are fair game. Obama's choice of a church when he lived in Chicago was fair game. As Presidential candidate, and you want to be the leader of this country, all bets are off as far as "out of bounds" subjects!

    December 15, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  21. John

    There are none of the Republican Candidates worth being President. They are all just CLOWNS waiting on a Circus to come by.

    December 15, 2011 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  22. Me 3

    He should be under fire. He is a disgusting human being. He is anti-common man just like the rest of the GOP. I cannot understand how the uneducated middle or lower class can support this guy. He will screw you. The thought of this guy being president makes me sick.

    December 15, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  23. max

    Don't believe a word this lying sack has to say ... he's only being nice to garner votes ... he has a historic temper and ego that is not gone, just in check for the campaign ... this guy is a load

    December 15, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  24. TJeff1776

    Newt's baggage is going to be impossible for him to overcome. Strange stuff THAT Preachers want to substitute him for Romney because of their hatred of Mormonism. Religion has entered into it bigtime. Mormons steal their sheep- which translates into stealing their money- unforgiveable.

    December 15, 2011 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  25. Terry

    But...But, Newt gave us the Contract with America in 1994.

    December 15, 2011 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
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