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. GOP answer to everything~"the middle class can pay for it, then blame the poor or a minority"

    Sure at this time of year we all want to watch the Gingeritch on the tube.
    Love those beady eyes, big round pot belly, pointy head..... er....square head – pointy shoes, tight fitting costume, and the side kick with big blank open eyes with the simpleton but adoring and appeasing glare................

    December 15, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. PJ

    After spending 20 years and millions of dollars seeking the Presidency it is no wonder Romney is panicking. Along comes Newt and spoils it all. Newt would still be a better President than flipflop. Check out YouTube for an 8 minute segment on how liberal Romney was in the 90s when seeking the Senate then again when running for Governor.

    December 15, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Me

    There is not a Republican that I know personally that would vote for Gingrich. They, just like me, will end up writing in a vote if Gingrich gets the nomination.

    December 15, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. shugee

    The GOP had a pretty good field last time and McCain was a good choice in the end. Unfortunately, he picked a nut-case to run with and brought out the more dickish elements in their base. Unfortunately they seem to have taken over the GOP conversation. Now you can't be a serious candidate unless you are some kind of freak.

    December 15, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. Florida Joe

    I never thought I'd ever say this, but I hope that Sarah Palin endorses Newt Gingrich, during the Iowa Caucuses. That should make him toxic to anyone with two brain cells to rub together. Come on Sarah! Stir the toxic brew in the GOP pot some more! You did a Wonderful job of it in 2008!

    December 15, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Larry L

    @ Keith in Austin
    "All GOP candidates are being savaged by the DNC and among themselves."

    Really? GOP candidates are being savaged? Wah, wah, wah... Ever hear of the "swift Boat" Keith? How about the "Birthers"? Death squads coming to get granny? Obama is a Muslim? You people invented dirty, lying politics.

    Would you expect a slimy weasel like Newt to be spared questions about his perpetual dishonesty? You support the party that spend 91 million dollars on the Star Commission investigating Bill Clinton – while old Newt was leading the charge and poking a staffer himself. He was a lobbyist – selling 1.6 million in influence for an organization he "didn't believe in". He was discraced by the House for unethical behavior. Would Republicans go after these character flaws in a Democratic candidate? They don't really need facts – like every campaign the Republicans will simply make stuff up and flood the airways.

    December 15, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. Lost in Texas FOREVER and EVER

    @ Keith in Austin.....

    that "total failure" you keep reffering to was there to welcome our troops back home from Iraq something thus far NONE of your Republican hopefuls have chosen to do. To think that the GOP would even CONSIDER running someone like Newt for POTUS just shows how pitiful your party has become. It would be like the Dems running Blago or John Edwards.

    December 15, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. Patriot

    "One Republican in the room ripped a written speech from the hands of one demonstrator."

    Freedom of speech is great until its someone else saying something you don't like.

    December 15, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. bks

    If former speaker has any morality he should quit the race. Hypocrisy does not work.
    Cheating on the wife , Taking money from Feddie and then rebuking Frank-Dodd. Now to appeal conservatives Mr Gingrich will go to any extent. What vision he has for the country. Telling students if you do not have job then go and sweep the school. To occupy wall street people : get shower, clean yourself and find a job.

    I do not think I would like such a person to be my President. So insensitive to the need of poor.

    December 15, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. Dennis

    Keith in Austin, may I remind you that the reason your wallet seems empty is because Wall Street and Bankers stole it from you, together with trillion dollars wars and tax-cuts to the rich. Remember that the bulk of today's deficits are a DIRECT result of REPUBLICANS starting with Ronald Regan who increase the deficit by 4 times while he was in office. Do some research and look it up instead of blindly following those who have a direct hose from your wallet to theirs.

    December 15, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. Thor

    Republicans have a front of .... I don't know how best to describe them.... they are either not right or.... not right. And on the Democratic side.... well.... there is Obama.... Hmmm. Who are the Independants? Should we change all this crap in the middle of a "bunch" of wars? Do we need a President?

    December 15, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. Seattle Sue

    Gringrich under fire. Maybe some of that fat on him will melt.

    December 15, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. tom

    Newt handled himself with class. The ows are disorganized, anti americans. They are in no way comparable to any positive protest movement. They are protesting Capitalism? Corporate America? Republican Candidates? Shipyards? whats next Occupy Nativity Scenes?

    December 15, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Ben

    Our colossal waste of time in Iraq is over. Osama bin Laden is dead. Gaddafi is gone with very little cost on our part.

    Obama is a foreign policy genius.

    And before we get to disappointed domestically, I'll just point out that there's an article on CNN today saying that 2.5 million American's now have health insurance who didn't previously. That's right. The awful results of the "end of the world" socialized healthcare law catastrophe is that more Americans can go to the doctor. For shame!

    And there's another article talking about falling unemployment.

    Obama is best case scenario for a President. He's just smarter than everyone else and makes the right decision more often then they would.

    December 15, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. FedUpWithLife

    I thought they meant literally 🙁

    December 15, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Independent Voters

    They going to look like a fool when Trump or Ron Paul run as 3rd party candidate and split the republican party votes.
    Obama/Biden 2012

    December 15, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. Lynne

    Why do they keep using that picture? He is all tilted to the makes him look like there is something wrong with him like he can't stand up straight or he is drunk or something. Very strange!!!!

    I have a hard time trusting anyone that is on wife number 3 because he was cheating...while in Office mind you!!!, and was fined $300,000 for ethics violations while speaker of the house!!! And the GOP is considering him for president??? Really now?

    December 15, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. DaveSEMass

    This just in:

    Des Moine, IA (AP) Romney Pledges Infidelity To Improve Poll Numbers

    Mitt Romney today promised to increase his personal level of infidelity in an order to attract would-be Gingrich supporters. Mr. Romney was quoted as saying "I personally am not interested in other women ... or even ... women, but my staff has been insisting that we must close the gap with Gingrich in Iowa". Romney continued by saying "I've never been known to be a flip-flopper, but our campaign feels that I must show interest in women other than my wife and as soon as possible."

    December 15, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. Keeping It Real

    The "Occupy" so called movement is showing their true colors. Lawless, destructive, and liberal.

    December 15, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. Joshua Ludd

    And remember what they were encouraging during the health care debate and town hall meetings. We (the folks who don't want to see any of these terrible Republican candidates in the white house) didn't start this sort of thing, and we have a far better reason to do it.

    December 15, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. hillcrester

    Gingrich is a Jack Kemp sort of guy, and that's not all bad. He's an innovative idea person. But like Kemp he is unsuited to be President–perhaps Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to someone who is better suited for the CEO position.

    December 15, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. snowdogg

    Newt isn't any better or worse than the other Republicant candidates... they all lack "The Right Stuff" to be president.

    December 15, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. jb1963

    I know most people figured out the reason Newt wanted a pledge to run a positive campaign was because he has to much bad history that will destroy him when it all comes out. Newt all by himself proves the right has no religious or moral beliefs. They just hide behind them to get the votes.

    December 15, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. steve

    im going to laugh when one of these republicans, most likely Newt, wipes the floor with Obama. It's over democrats. Obama needs to start making progress to even have a chance in this race no matter who it's against. Since he's just out campaigning already instead of doing what he needs to do, i doubt anything will get done. bye bye obama. Thank the Lord!

    December 15, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. CoJo

    what I want to know is what are the republicans going to do to keep a 2nd financial meltdown from happening again? What are they going to do to keep tax payers from doing another TARP (which was produced by the republicans).

    December 15, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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