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. Pat in IL

    Gringrich acting like he is sombody that he is not, nor has never been, will last about 20 seconds. His acid tongue and off-the-wall pugnacious comments will return pretty soon.

    December 15, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  2. ahah

    The man who led the way on how to earmark bill and the biggest expansion of goverment, least untill Bush jr. This guy is about as conservitive as a lady with a 500k gift at tiffineys.

    December 15, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  3. Anonymous

    As he walked out of the news conference, he told reporters he is still having fun. There's no fun in playing politics. Gingrich gotta be more serious If he wanna compete with the incumbent president in next year's elections

    December 15, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  4. John B

    The only thing better than "Gingrich under fire" would be "Gingrich ON fire". I'm betting I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    December 15, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  5. namenamename

    There's a difference between defending yourself from legitimate attacks and going on a dirty-campaign style offense Newt. I suspect Gingrich doesn't defend his flips, bad record, and immoral history because he can't, not because he won't.

    December 15, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  6. Tobyspeeks

    Imagine going through life without ever being embarrassed. How liberating it must be to say whatever you want and no matter how idiotic you still walk away feeling good about yourself.

    December 15, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  7. Marco

    Be a republican supporter all you want. Be totally one sided in your backing of your political party and be willing to consider voting for whatever candidate the party puts forth for the Presidency. But Please realize that if it is Newt Gingrich, you should not vote for him. He is not trustworthy. You can hate democrats. You can be an absolute racist redneck who hates President Obama because he is black or you can just be one of those people who has talked yourself into hating him just because he is a democrat. But whatever your reasoning, you have to know in your heart that Newt Gingrich is 100% NOT the person America needs as it's President.

    December 15, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  8. truecolor

    If Newt's colleagues (who have worked with him a long time and know him well) don't like him, that tells you a lot about his character. His head is bigger than his other head! If it's Gingrich vs Obama, then I'll have to deal with another 4 yrs of Obama!

    December 15, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  9. Donkey Party

    Newt doesn't want to engage in mudslinging because of all the mud there is to sling back at Newt. And Romney blaming Democrats and the President for showing clips of Romney's flip-flops, aren't attacks, it's simply pointing out Romney's shifting stances. And unlike Romney, who tried to lie about the President when he played a clip of President Obama talking about John McCain, the Dems have been using all honest, all unedited clips of Romney. There has never been a more lying, cheating, sub-human crop of GOP (or any party) candidates as the ones the GOP is running now. Shame on them for wanting to imperil this great country, and shame on those who so blindly support them.

    December 15, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  10. Manie

    this guys is a ticking time bomb...... mark my words.... lol if this guy becomes the president he will be ten times worst that the current president and the past 3 put together.

    December 15, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  11. diridi

    Both are good for nothing...o.k, They do not have any idea.

    December 15, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. NSHSDad

    Gotta love the comparison to Reagan – say the magic word....

    Gingrich is definitely on cue – last week he did only modestly veiled racial attacks to get the rural white vote, said that Palestinians weren't people to get the jewish vote. He's cranking like there's no tomorrow.

    December 15, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  13. MM

    In my opinion, if Mitt Romney wants to get elected, he should spend more of his time saying how he'll benifit us...NOT spend it bashing another candidate.

    December 15, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  14. Mitt Romney

    This was just opening of his carry on luggage. Just wait till his checked in luggage is opened. With his baggage, he will make Bill Clinton look like a saint!

    December 15, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  15. GOP's answer to everything: More money to the rich

    Occupy protestors are doing it wrong. They should let Mr. Newt Gangrabe win the primaries. We don't want Romney to win.

    December 15, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  16. Zebulon Pi

    The fact that THIS GUY is front-runner for the GOP just warms my liberal heart.

    It's like Republicans are just looking for THE worst candidate to run, not just crazy-wise, but baggage-wise as well.

    If Dick Cheney were to jump in the race, he'd shoot to the top of the polls, I swear.

    December 15, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. Hank

    Gingrich is a man of low morals and unfit to be President.

    December 15, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  18. Inrealityhere

    Why is CNN trying to make one of the most important "hot topics" of the year seem insignificant by not headlining it?
    Obama and congress just passed legislation that will allow American citizens to be arrested and held in prison indefinitely without trial.

    December 15, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  19. Avi Shlomo

    Is this fat buffoon still barking here? I thought he had moved to Israel as he would plan to visit what is left of Palestine to meet with the invented people of Palestine.

    December 15, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  20. WiredweirdinSF

    He has been under fire and scrutiny by the mainstream media (toadys for the demcrat liberals) since the 1980's. If Obozo had had the same scrutiny, he would still be nailing posters on telephone poles for the SEIU instead of destroying the morale of the hard working, taxpaying citizens of this country.

    December 15, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  21. susan

    Newt, You are so full of it!

    December 15, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  22. Rob1961

    It truly is a pity that the Republican Party cannot find a candidate that does have to "sell out" to the radical wings of the party. As long as they persist in letting a minority (even if well-organized) of their party dictate the choice, they will not win with in the general election.

    December 15, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  23. ShawnDH

    Gingrich is a seriously disgusting person. I sincerely hope he is the GOP nominee. His corruption, pathological hypocrisy, serial dishonesty and blind allegiance to the 1% that has destroyed the US middle class may suit our deranged and confused Republican friends, but he would get destroyed in a general election vs. Obama. Landslide.

    December 15, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  24. Roger

    Newt would make a good president. Even with people yelling at him he is calm and continued on with his message and offered to meet with the protestors to discuss job creation. From what I can see America is lining up behind him as they listen to his vision of the future. His party doesn't seem to have warmed up to him and go on the air to gripe about old squabbles in the past. If by spring Newt does well and his party gets behind him I think he will be president.

    December 15, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  25. Rosslaw

    I am still waiting for someone else other than Newt Gingrich to talk about how smart Newt is. People who knew him like Joe Scarlborough seem to have very strong opinions about what a disaster they saw close up and personal when they served in the House with Newt as a speaker.

    December 15, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
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