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. Reddog9500

    Certainly I care about the problems facing America that an obstructionist Congress obviously doesn't care about. But, on the other hand, I love to see Republican politicians "beat each other up" (especially if Gingrich is on the receiving end).

    December 15, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  2. alimonyjones

    I already mentioned that he's a hypocritical, shape-shifting liar. Are you still going to moderate me out of the discussion?

    December 15, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  3. Jeff

    After you lose the nomination for president, why not pick up a mop, make a tour of inner-city schools, spend a month showing the students how to mop floors, and teach at least another month in these schools. If you can't hack the classroom, stick to mopping floors.

    December 15, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  4. jon

    Gingrich is nothing more than a distraction, he is a left over like Romney. Conservatism will continue to take back the GOP as it began in 2010. Of the remaining candidates, only Ron Paul can point to a continuous record without flip flops and policy changes. He also has none of the baggage of the other cnadidates. I don't like his foreign policy views, but now is the time to focus entirely on the US and he will be good for that

    December 15, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  5. nathan hale

    This is one of the guys who doesn't want to pay for school books, or hot lunches but now he wants to start a brain center - coincidentally in the very state where the next primary is to occur!!! LOL! I just don't think the American people are so stupid as to believe a word out of the mouth of this man who has pledged to God that he would be faithful twice in the past.

    December 15, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  6. Mollybee

    All Romney has to do is run an ad featuring Newt's plan to fire "rich, union" school janitors and replace them with poor children who can "earn money" by cleaning up after their more affluent class mates. This little side-bar of Gingrich's and his continued insistence that it's a good idea shows exactly how far removed he is from mainstream America and what a dispicable character he is and alwasy has been. It's a cryin' shame he's even being considered for President but a good example of where the GOP stands when it comes to anything but protecting Wall Street and the wealthy. Can you imagine how much further along in economic recovery we'd be if they weren't consentrating on tax cuts for the wealthy?

    December 15, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  7. Bruce

    Newt's a hoot! Livens up a boring campaign.
    But seriously, who thinks he's fit to run the country? A bunch of evangelicals?
    That about sums it up. America has seen the anti-Christ and his name is Newt or Cain or Bachmann or Santorum or Perry- take your pick! Bible-thumping self-obsessed people should not be running a nation. Period.

    December 15, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  8. Marie MD

    Ooops, how could I forget!!!
    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY newterman. While speaker of the house you shut down the federal government for 21 days during the Christman holidays. Remember? 1995-1996.
    Do we really want him back with even more power? Look what his rethug cronies are doing now. Tax the middle class but not the rich. I guess things haven't really changed much have they???

    December 15, 2011 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  9. Bob

    He's still too old and too fat and can't be trusted with the White House silver. Democrats would love to see him get the nomination. I've even heard a rumor that the Republican party put up the money Savage offered him not to run. This is much better entertainment than reality TV. It would be better still if each episode began with an interview and a subtitle that read, "This candidate will self destruct in......" and viewers could call in their answers and win a prize if they were right.

    December 15, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  10. sickofit

    Newt is exactly the kind of politician that makes DC what it is today

    December 15, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  11. Marto

    Forget his infidelity, look up the video of what this man said about the poor and how kids (poor black) should have jobs cleaning the bathrooms for example in their schools! This clown is what the GOP is about? LOL

    December 15, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  12. TomInRochNY

    I think the GOP favors of the week are falling faster as the campaigning contiues. Ron Paul should be rising and falling within a week at this rate.

    December 15, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  13. Mike

    He is going to borrow palin's bus!!

    December 15, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  14. Jim in Georgia

    Maybe he will look less of a Bozo!

    December 15, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  15. Cfrench

    Romney's right, we democrats and independants don't want Romney to get the nomination. We're hoping the teatards and bible bangers will take complete control of the republican party and put forth Gingrich, who would not stand a chance in hell of becoming president.

    December 15, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  16. Common Sense

    Did he really just compare himself to Ronald Reagan? LMAO!

    December 15, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  17. rude

    .... the GOP nearly forced America to the verge of default just to score a point
    in a budget debate. In the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, Republican
    politicians demand massive budget cuts and shrug off the concerns of the unemployed.

    Excerpt from George W Bush former economic advisor and speechwriter David Frum, A Conservative telling the truth.

    December 15, 2011 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  18. Margieb

    I am almost as upset with your reporter for chastising the Iowa man who interrupted Gingrich as I am with the Newt. It does not say WE THE PEOPLE cannot be heard because we are rude....Or we the people cannot speak until the newscaste ror politician says we may speak., Fact is, the newscaster needs to do a little fact finding. NEWT was being unfaithful to his wife who had cancer at the same time he was criticizing Bill Clinton for his indiscretion. NOW may we talk? Would he have been "repentant?" if he had not been found out? Too pompous for that. I live in Cobb County where Newt lived with one of his ladies. Do a little research, gal. It's not about a story it is about We the People. Listen more less.

    December 15, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  19. mary

    That 'Mr. Nice guy approach won't last long! He can't hold that tongue! He's like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Don't let him fool you. He is one mean, nasty old man!

    December 15, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  20. Jim R

    Gingrich is a snake. And it's amazing to me that Republicans who feel Romney is slimy, a flip-flopper, and not conservative enough seem to be deciding that Gingrich (who is all of those things and worse) is the best alternative.

    December 15, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  21. GI Joe

    Blame yo' self, you swollen headed egotistical child. WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR $$$$$$$

    December 15, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  22. jamarsu

    Good for the protestors. Gingrich is an evil unethical man.

    December 15, 2011 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  23. Hangar13

    Is there any chance that the Left will ever engage in a thoughtful conversation, rahter than shouting down anyone who doesn't share their socialist world view?

    December 15, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  24. Canuck

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

    This is maddening. The Republicans have no intention of creating jobs – after years of tax-cuts for the 'job creators' – where are the jobs?

    December 15, 2011 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  25. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Politics 101, when you are leading in the polls, said, "I will run a positive campaign.".....when you are behind, they run negative campaigns....Politics 101......Please remember that Newt has a record....Also, the Devil has been around for a long, long time, do you believe that the Devil has changed?

    December 15, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
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