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. Critical Thinker

    Of course Newt wants to stay positive...he loses the most if the contest goes negative. As Newt the "GARGANTUAN HEAD" would say, it is a "NO BRAINER!"

    December 15, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. FactCheck

    All GOP candidates are being savaged by the DNC and among themselves. The GOOD NEWS is that the ultimate Nominee will be STRONGER for it!

    Keep dreaming that dream... the best that any of the GOP candidates can hope for is an hourly on Fox News (except for Romney.. even Fox can't stand that guy).

    December 15, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. USA

    He is refraining from being negative and has no response because he has none.

    Any guy whose arms are screwed in wrong, walks with the palms of his hands facing backwards, seems to have a difficult time turning his fat head from side to side, walks like an Ewok and has the facial expression that the Grinch would be jealous of, can't be trusted (and those are just the physical reasons). I couldn't stand looking at this beast for four years.

    December 15, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. FactCheck

    Remember back when Newt shut down Congress because he didn't like the fact that he wasn't seated close to Pres. Clinton in Air Force One? Yeah, good times.

    December 15, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    He may have shown restraint in not 'going negative', but he couldnt resist comparing himself to the great, 'Saint Reagan'.

    What color is the sky in your world, Newt?

    December 15, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. MIke

    Yeah right, Gingrich wants to preach to the occupiers the long established republican doctrine of trickledown economics, that giving more money to rich people is good for the economy (that’s what his statement about “job creators” referred too). In reality however, the theory of trickledown economics is fundamentally flawed in that it doesn’t take into account the spending habits of those with a bloated personal budget versus those households with emaciated budgets, nor does it take into account the inherent destabilizing effect of increasing stock values based on pure speculation rather than real economic activity.
    Of course no one ever says that publicly, but that’s because the rich own the media outlets, as well as the schools of economics, the centers of economic theory (think tanks if you will) and so forth. What the rich want is more money put directly in their pockets, and so no dissenting theories or opinions can be heard. I am of course not under the misunderstanding that many, if anyone, will read what I’m writing here.

    December 15, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Observer

    Gingrich is the poster child for "family values" church-going Republican HYPOCRISY.

    December 15, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. nhop

    Gingrich "zany?" Maybe. What's certain is that Romney is heartless. He made his fortune in large part by acquiring American companies, closing them down, and sending their jobs overseas - primarily to China and India.

    December 15, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. SoulTrain1946

    The Grinich needs to be shown the door.

    December 15, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. ShawnDH

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

    You're joking, right? There isn't a single issue on which Americans agree with Newt over Obama. Not one. I've watched the Republican "debates" and Newt is waaaayyy out of his league vs. Obama. You're in a fantasy land with no basis in reality. It's fantastic...for Obama.

    December 15, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Stacey

    "I was at the Gingrich talk today in Iowa City. The protesters embarrassed themselves and did nothing to further the liberal cause. If anything, their behavior made me lean a bit more to the right. Gingrich has many faults but he handled the situation with class."

    LOL! "lean a bit more to the right?" Gingrich has no class. He's a fake, a liar, a hypocrite, a fraud, a baffoon, a cheat; did I mention he was a liar? Gingrich is bad for America. Too bad the GOP is so desparate that they'd actually consider voting for this blowhard. The protestors did a darned good job heckling Mr. Gutwrench. Stay tuned. More to come!

    December 15, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Ed Peters

    Don't let them get you down Newt. You stick to your guns, and don't worry about the multiple wives, taking money for lobbying, etc.. Everybody deserves a third/forth/fifth chance!

    December 15, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. anagram_kid

    Super D wrote – ‘…Obama has nothing to run on, NOTHING, everyone is broke, nobody has a job…’
    Hyperbole does not win arguments. If you are broke and have no job, Herman Cain says it is your own fault. I sincerely hope things improve for you under President Obama’s second term.

    December 15, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Stacey

    "OWS has turned into a lawless mob, out of control leftists and anarchists. Nice that the Democrats have embraced them."

    Yeah, kinda like how the republicans embraced the gun-toting, racist tea party!

    December 15, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Hangar13

    Reading these posts was a good education of what the Left believes. Okay, show of hands – how many of you think the first amendment gives everyone the right to interrupt a public gathering and shout down the legitimate speaker with ignorant nonsense? One, two, threee....lets's see, I think it's all of you! Thank you, public school system.

    December 15, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. anagram_kid

    Jason wrote – “The protesters embarrassed themselves and did nothing to further the liberal cause. If anything, their behavior made me lean a bit more to the right.”
    So you make your political decisions based on the behavior of other voters? Sounds to me like you lack conviction and the ability to think for yourself.

    December 15, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Dani

    What you Liberals don't seem to grasp is this. President Obama is VERY unpopular now. I believe any Republican could win against this sham of a man – Manchurian candidate. Obama has nothing to run on, NOTHING, everyone is broke, nobody has a job, and you think average Americans are going to keep that guy? Are you NUTS?

    LOL! Yet all the major polls show President Obama shellacking Gingrich and beating Romney in a head-to-head matchup. The American people will show you and the GOP just how popular President Obama is when we go vote for him in droves on November 2012. The GOP really believes it will take the Presidency by doing nothing to govern and lead and hoping the American people aren't paying attention and will blame everything on President Obama. The GOP is counting on bigory and hatred of Obama in their objective. Hee-hee. We shall see. The GOP is morally wrong for America and we the people will prove this fact.

    December 15, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Yeah, kinda like how the republicans embraced the gun-toting, racist tea party!
    Didn't see any guns at the rally I attended, but who cares. The 2nd amendment gives people the right and if they have the proper license then they are a law abiding citizen, like millions of others. I'll bet all those Syrians being slaughtered in their streets wish their country had a 2nd amendment.

    As for racist, many of them were Herman Cain supporters. Just more baseless slander on the part of the left. Just like all conservatives are dumb, gun toting racists that want to force you to go to church, then kill their grandma by denying her healthcare and starve the kids, and pollute all the air and water.... Is there any end to the insanity coming from Obama and his supporters??? All this does is insult a LOT of Americans and drive them away from your hate filled rhetoric. Nice going.

    December 15, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    So you make your political decisions based on the behavior of other voters?============================================================
    Parties need to be very careful of who they associate with. The Democrats embraced a movement filled with anarchists, communists, etc. Once you do that, then you also get tainted with their misdeeds, lawlessness, etc. Democrats have also encouraged them quite a bit. Like I said, gotta be very careful who you cozy up to. People are judged by the company they keep.

    December 15, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. LacrosseMom(real one)


    (excuse the yelling) Newt just makes me angry! Can't believe that the GOP are actually going to push this man who was fined by his own party for ETHICS violations........ has been married THREE TIMES! Yuck!

    GOP is this really all you've got??????????

    December 15, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Republicans..... just want to ask you ONE questian..........would you be best friends with someone who cheated you ...a number of times and then lied to you. This is the man you want for president?????????

    December 15, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. jorge washinsen

    Why are we not surprised at this startling revelation that the Newt is under fire? Rise in the polls brings back memories,Seems to be the norm.Startling how one charge of something brings out hundreds of lawsuits and restores memory.

    December 15, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. anagram_kid

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth,
    Any time you get a group of people together that share a single or few ideals in common there will be extremists. This is true for political parties, schools of thought, religions…etc. Do you want the entire Republican party or conservatism to be judged by Timothy McVeigh?

    December 15, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. joe

    What amazes me most, as an Independant voter, about this whole process is the extent to which it exposes the real heart and core of the Republican party: nasty, mean-spirited, hypocrital, hostile, opportunistic, elitist, self righteous, smug, and clueless. Very scary.

    December 15, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. CEW

    So the fact that he cheated on two wives doesn't matter? Ok. What about the fact that he was discliplined by congress and fined $300K for ethics and tax violations. No? Ok. What about the fact that just before the housing bubble burst, he took more than $1M from Freddie Mac, an org commonly believed to have caused most of our economic woes? No? Okaaaaayyyyy. Seems like the party of family values ought to find a candidate that actually HAS some values, family or otherwise.

    December 15, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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