Gingrich's negative positive 'discipline'
December 27th, 2011
06:08 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich's negative positive 'discipline'

Dyersville, Iowa (CNN) - As he vows on the stump not to counter negative attacks against him, Newt Gingrich blasted his opponents with some intense criticism of his own Tuesday.

On CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" Gingrich lambasted both Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney. He said he would not vote for Paul if he were the GOP nominee and called the candidate outside the mainstream. On Romney, Gingrich said the candidate should be "man enough to own" the negative advertising being run in Iowa by a third party group that supports him.

But less than an hour after his CNN interview Gingrich was touting his positive messaging, declaring in Dyersville, "I'm not going to go negative, period."

But speaking earlier Tuesday at a stop on his bus tour in Dubuque the former House speaker said it's taken "great discipline" not to respond negative attacks with negative ads of his own. He said he will continue to release positive ads in the eight days leading up to the Iowa caucuses.

Gingrich, whose record has been skewered in advertisements by his opponents and third party groups, dismissed the notion that he is not engaging his opponents and third party groups with television advertisements due to a lack of campaign funds, telling reporters in Dubuque, "We could run ads, we have money."

Gingrich is releasing a new television spot in Iowa that will begin airing Wednesday. While the script of "Winning the Argument" is in line with their positive message of focusing on jobs, the images may tell a different story.

In an email announcing the "major buy," his campaign said the ad uses sound bites of Gingrich from debates and "includes shots of several opponents nodding in agreement with Newt, and Mitt the Massachusetts Moderate listening closely to him."

Gingrich concedes calling Romney a "Massachusetts Moderate" is as negative as he's willing to go but reserves the right to respond "if I'm asked to explain the differences."

"One of the major differences I have with Governor Romney who is a fine person – I've said publicly he is a good manager, he is a competent person, he did very, very well with the winter Olympics – but there's a huge difference between the philosophy of a supply-side conservative in the Kemp-Reagan tradition and the philosophy of a Massachusetts moderate," he said.

The former speaker fielded questions at a Rotary luncheon meeting with approximately 200 people, including one question about his record on cap and trade, which has become fodder for his presidential opponents thanks to the infamous climate change ad with Gingrich and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, which he openly admits was "the dumbest thing I've done" in years.

"If somebody wants to run an ad and say there are moments when Newt Gingrich shows a total lack of judgment and this was one of them, I'll laugh with the rest of them okay," said Gingrich. "They now come up with this grotesque statement that says … since he sat on the couch he must be for cap and trade, even though he testified against cap and trade and helped defeat it," he said.

"I don't mind shots taken at me for things I've done that weren't smart. But for somebody to then go out and grotesquely distort my experience. I don't know quite how to answer. It's taken great discipline to not run ads that countered them," Gingrich added.

Gingrich is hoping Iowans will be "sickened by the level of negativity" and reward him for staying positive when they caucus on Jan. 3.

"In the age of instant television we have lots of time. I have trust in the ability of the people of Iowa to look at something that's clearly baloney and know that it's baloney," said Gingrich.

On his the first stop of his eight-day bus tour through Iowa, Gingrich again challenged Romney to a one-on-one debate before the caucuses.

–Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Lisa

    Too bad he was unable to use that same discipline when he cheated on his wives.

    December 27, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It has to be hard for Newt to survive the 'swift boat attacks' from the Kochs and Rove.

    December 27, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Ronald Reagan pulled this sucker punch on his conservative opponents to a tee. They couldn't compete with Reagan for name recognition, but there was plenty to attack him for politically. Reagan defanged his opponents and cake walked to the nomination because his opponents had been duped into not criticizing his record.

    That was then. This is now. Anyone who allows themselves to be duped into this game isn't worthy to be POTUS.

    December 27, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Thomas

    This is what happens when you hire G. Gordon Liddy as your personal trainer !

    "great discipline"

    December 27, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. enough of the wicked "O"

    Newt is out of touch with the conservatives.

    December 27, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. Shannon

    Sorry Newt, you can try this phony ploy, but most Americans know what a disgusting person you are.

    December 27, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. Ricardo

    Newt better stay positive, every body know he's a cheater

    December 27, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. Candace Clough

    wow, Gingrich has great discipline? You mean the thing it takes to remain faithful in a life long committed marriage? To actually live your vows after your spouse has aged? Did he buy discipline somewhere? or just read about it?

    December 27, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. Larry L

    His comments about Ron Paul sounded pretty negative to me. No "decent Ameriican" would vote for Ron Paul? That's not negative? What a weasel.

    December 27, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. T'sah from Virginia

    Wah, wah, wah – please stop the crying!!!

    Obama 2012!

    December 27, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    He and Dick Cheney have to be the two most despicable people ever to be in Washington, D.c. They should probably both be in jail.

    December 27, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    Nuke the Newt.

    He's despicable. He needs to take his barbie doll and go back to VA.

    December 27, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |