Romney defends negative ads
December 21st, 2011
09:17 AM ET
11 years ago

Romney defends negative ads

Keene, New Hampshire (CNN) - Mitt Romney defended the use of negative TV advertisements in the GOP primary campaign, saying they would prepare Republicans to face President Obama in the fall.

"If you can't stand the relatively modest heat in the kitchen right now, wait until Obama's Hell's Kitchen shows up," Romney said Wednesday at a campaign stop in Keene, New Hampshire. "Obama's putting together a billion dollars. He's going to be attacking us day and night."

Romney has come under a steady drum beat of criticism from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich over negative advertising run of behalf of Romney's campaign. A political action committee supportive of Romney's candidacy unleashed a blitz of advertising attacking Gingrich in Iowa, where Gingrich has recently fallen in state polls.

On Tuesday, Gingrich called on Romney to send a message to his super PAC, Restore Our Future, by publicly renouncing attack ads. (Link:

Super PACs cannot coordinate strategy with campaigns.

Romney pointed to that campaign finance rule in the interview Wednesday, then went a step further in refusing to renounce negative advertising.

He said it was better for Republican primary voters to learn about a candidate's weaknesses before they chose a nominee to face off against Obama.

"It's probably a good time for people to see these things to make up their minds," he said.

His campaign took another swat at Gingrich that morning by releasing the names of seven former Iowa and New Hampshire state House speakers who had endorsed Romney.

Gingrich will campaign Wednesday in Manchester accompanied by the current Iowa and New Hampshire state House speakers.

- CNN Political Producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Also see:

Iowa faith leader asked Bachmann to consider dropping out, campaign says

Poll: Paul in top spot in Iowa GOP battle

Gingrich: Super PAC hypocrisy

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Phil in KC

    Yeah, because Obama is such a negative guy. Guess the Republicans will blame him for everything – including their own actions. If they can't even take responsibility for their own campaign leading up to the primaries, how would they act in the White House? I think that tells you a lot.

    December 21, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    If it happens that someone turns up the heat on YOU Mitt, we can be sure that you'll change your tune on the subject, and you'll be the first one whining about it....

    December 21, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Negative ads are not truly defensible. They are simply dirty politics.

    December 21, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It has to make limp wristed Mittens feel good to see the Kochs and Rove use all that money on negative ads against his fellow republicans, since he is their chosen one. Mittens has always been the outsider, rejected by his own party, and he has defended the use of lies against the president and negative ads against republicans, in order to appease the haters that make up the base of the GOP. Mittens is just another republican disaster, waiting to attack the 99%.

    December 21, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. NH Grandma

    That's exactly right, Mittens, Obama will take you to lunch and we are all looking forward to that. Enough of you "do nothing" GOPer's! And, you can take Boehner with you, hel'll need a stiff drink after big loss.

    December 21, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |

    Great anology Willard. The President is Gordon Ramsay and the rest of you clowns are a bunch of sous chefs.

    December 21, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Every day, Mittens shows he is not presidential. While swift boating and other negative Rove tactics helped Bush, it will only hurt spineless Mittens. People are looking for someone to unite the country, and Mittens cannot even unite his own party. I would suggest that Rove and the Kochs save their money until 2016.

    December 21, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Gov. Romney is showing weakness and bad judgement by defending the ads. But, hey. What do I know about what goes on inside of the minds of conservatives? Romney has been outmanuevered from attacking to defending by distinguishing Mr. Gingrich's remarks with a reply. I would have pointed out that Mr. Gingrich while s squirming, he isn't denying the facts that the ads bring out. Newt has outplayed Mitt for a sucker.

    December 21, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Mikey

    "Hell's Kitchen"???? Really??? Is that because our President is the devil? The anti-Christ? Is there any end to the dog whistle innuendo to the ultra-right wing tin foil helmet crowd?

    He is right about one thing. Any of these greatly flawed excuses for Presidential candidates are going to be absolutely torn to pieces in the general election. More and more, it's looking like two terms for our President and America and the world will be better off because of it.

    December 21, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Keith in Austin

    Most Conservatives are put off by infighting within the GOP and wish the Candidates would ascribe to Reagan's beliefs that Republicans should not attack one another. Campaign dollars SHOULD be spent in exposing the REAL CULPRIT that is harming our Nation, namely, Obama and his tax-and-spend pack of Liberal politicians!

    December 21, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People

    Regardless of party, if it is the truth, it is NOT negative campaigning.

    December 21, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. Deep in the heart of TX

    "On Tuesday, Gingrich called on Romney to send a message to his super PAC, Restore Our Future, by publicly renouncing attack ads"

    But let me guess, should the newt win the primary, super PAC;s and campaign lies against President Obama will just be "getting the truth out to the voters"?.

    December 21, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. T'sah from Virginia

    So be it... After awhile, people get TIRED of it and they would then NOT defend you!!!

    Obama 2012

    December 21, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This is yet another arguement for all money to be pulled from elections. We can't have any money involved because it will and does cause problems.

    December 21, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. Anthony

    Unfortunately for Romney, should he win the Republican nomination, most of negative ads against him will focus on his flip-flopping and his taking both sides on almost every big issues. What will be worse for him is that these ads are true. Republicans will focus on the "runaway spending" under the Obama Administration, and they will target the health care bill in particular. According to Romney, repealing Obama's health care bill will save 95 billion in 2016. Romney ignored the revenue that the bill will raise. According to the CBO, the bill will raise 78 billion in 2016, so the net saving of a repeal would be 17 billion in 2016. OK, Republicans, where in the budget is the "runaway spending"? Republicans control the House, so they write the actual budget. The president only submits a budget proposal. Why don't Republicans just cut the "runaway spending"?

    December 21, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. billy

    Hey, he's running for office for pete's sake. What do you expect him to do, win on ideas?

    December 21, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. Russ

    Take a hike Romney. The American people are sick and tired of the negative ad campaigns. We want to hear what you can do for the country, not what you think the other candidate can't do. Or, what dirt you can dig up about his personal life. Take the positive road or hit the highway you scum bag.

    December 21, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. da

    Not that I would vote for him, but he finally got smart and stop being a sucker!! Newt was playing each one of these guys like a fiddle. During the debates Newt ensured his political staying power by asking them not to fight among each other thereby getting him a chance to stay in the race longer. Everyone knows Newt should have been out this race, but because he tricked them all into playing nice he lasted a while longer. Now Mitt is having to attack and we all know that the GOP don't want to attack each other because it gives the Democrats ammunition in the National election. LOL...

    December 21, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Thomas

    What choice does the GOP have other than negative ads? It is not like they have much positive to offer.

    December 21, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. TYpicalman

    Did romney just said this is politics? Ofcourse Romney it is poliitics and yet you deny you are a POLITICIAN.

    December 21, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  21. vatoloke

    Desperate times require desperate measures. Or in Mitten's case, desperate men resort to desperate measures.

    December 21, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. realitybites

    It.s soo fun to watch Republicans treat each other they way they do Democrats. Wait until the nasty machine really gets cranking after the Clown show primaries are over. Anyone remember the last election? Got a little old didn't it.

    December 21, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. Andrew Beatty

    I talk to about 175 a day and tell them if he's elected corperation's will be alot more powerfull becuase he believes in what destroying our country . businesses are not people and should not have right to throw millions of dollars to the government for special favors.The vote this time around is easy im telling people its about good or evil and romney 's pure evil.

    December 21, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Myth Romney is All Fluff and No Subtance, an ENTITLED OUT-of-TOUCH Boy with NO SPINE acting Like GW Bush Mini Me

    Myth Romney is taking the whole page out of the Karl Rove playbook of dirty politics!

    SuperPACs are funded by Wall Street FAT CATs, Lobbyist and BIG Corporations....and yep, Romney is proud of the dirt & kictchen sinks they are throwing at Newt Gingrinch because he believes, "Corporations are People Too, ny friend!"

    Myth Romney is Hell's Kitchen!!!

    December 21, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. GI Joe

    Wait 'til HE starts getting hit hard. ha ha ha ha ha

    December 21, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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