Gingrich having it both ways?
December 28th, 2011
07:57 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich having it both ways?

Spencer, Iowa (CNN) - Newt Gingrich is walking a fine line in Iowa.

The former House speaker insists he is still running a positive campaign while he is stepping up his attacks on his main GOP rivals in Iowa.

"You're going to see ads from us in the next six days and they're going to be positive and you're going to be seeing ads from super PACs that favor me and they are going to be positive," Gingrich said at an event in Mason City Wednesday.

Not so fast.

Yes, the Gingrich campaign is running a new ad touting his plan for the economy. And it's positive.

"We can create millions of jobs right now," Gingrich says in the ad titled "Main Street."

And it's true that the chief Gingrich super PAC, Winning our Future, is also running an ad that steers clear of any attacks on the other candidates in the field.

But then there's the negative mailer distributed by a pro-Gingrich super PAC called Strong America Now. As reported by NBC News, the blog Iowa Republican, and, the mailer attacks Mitt Romney as the "second most dangerous man in America" after President Obama.

Records with the Federal Elections Commission show Strong America Now, previously a conservative organization based in Texas, has since launched a political action committee. The mailer makes it clear the PAC is squarely behind Gingrich.

Asked about the mailer at a brief news conference with reporters, Gingrich declined to condemn the super PAC.

"I would discourage them from sending any negative information. I think that's wrong," Gingrich said.

But in the last two weeks, Gingrich has called on the former Massachusetts governor to condemn a pro-Romney super PAC that has savaged the former speaker with a barrage of attack ads.

At an event in Mason City, Gingrich asked Iowans if they want to "reward" a candidate who runs negative ads.

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Romney blew off the complaint. The former Massachusetts governor chalked the ad wars up to the heat that comes with modern presidential campaigns.

"I don't know why he's so angry," Romney said to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Gingrich is willing to set aside his own pledge to stay positive when it comes to the other front-runner in Iowa, Ron Paul. The former speaker is part of a growing chorus of Republican contenders who are questioning Paul's hands-off approach to Iran's nuclear program.

"Do you feel comfortable in terms of my two grandchildren and everybody in this city with someone who believes that Iranian nuclear weapons are irrelevant?" Gingrich asked.

Arguing his criticism of Paul has only come in response to questions about the Texas congressman, the former speaker disputed the notion that he is trying to have it both ways.

"I know this is hard for some of you to cover. You can fight in a positive way – you can be very strong in a positive way," Gingrich told reporters following his campaign.

It's a message tailor made for Arlene Roberts, an undecided voter who came to Mason City to try to meet Gingrich in person.

"We hate it. We hate it. You learn nothing," Roberts said about negative campaigning.

She said Gingrich's pledge to stay positive just might win her support. "It could. That's why I'm here," Roberts said.

David Yepsen, a former Des Moines Register political editor, has his doubts about Gingrich's strategy.

"It's great for the speaker to try to voice a positive message and focus on solutions. But when you rise in the polls, you can expect opponents to push back," Yepsen said.

Gingrich, a master of the political attack for decades in Washington, is now caught in a box of his own making. Go negative and you break your word to keep it clean.

"Iowans say they don't like negative ads but in every campaign they sure react to them. If they didn't work, campaigns wouldn't use them," Yepsen said.

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. W.G.

    The republicans ran 2 years ago on promises of jobs creation and so far as I know not even congress
    seems to be working . So it means gingrich is running on lies , the republicans are running on lies . The
    tea party even went so far as to order all smal businesses on one of their blogs not to hire new people
    until after the election . The republicans are crooks and terroists bent on trying a N.Korean tactic of
    starving out those who are not with them .

    December 28, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    "Gingrich having it both ways?" Here, let me shorten that for you:

    "Gingrich is a hypocrite"

    See, I saved you 5 characters! đŸ™‚

    December 28, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. AK_steve

    This guy is two face folks. He is the typical GOP politician. He sells out to the highest bidder while condemning them at the same time. I think he should be the GOP nominee because he is the purest representative of their party – deceitful, arrogant and self-serving.

    December 28, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  4. otermbachmann

    One more week, bye bye salamander?

    December 28, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    Nothing new here. Wife #1/mistress, wife #2/mistress, wife#3/???. He did convert to catholicism but that has never stopped anyone from cheating.
    To yepsen, he is NOT the speaker and he left congress in disgrace!!!

    December 28, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. Reefer Power

    Mitt is the most dangerous man in Newt's personal ambitions.

    Thank you for the compliment Mr. Gingrich.

    December 28, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. Max

    Gingrich cant be trusted

    Gingrich can't be trusted. The GRINCH can't be trusted. The SCROOGE can't be trusted. The ADULTERER can't be trusted. The FORNICATOR can't be trusted. The THIEF can't be trusted. The WOMANIZER can't be trusted. The EMBEZZLER can't be trusted. The only house speaker that has ever been fired in American history can't be trusted.

    Gingrich can't be trusted

    QUESTION: What more do we need from Gingrich?
    Answer: Silence

    December 28, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. Mark

    What a hypocrite! I think that everyone is getting sick of this guy. He thinks that he's smarter than everyone else and acts like it, when in actuality the majority of Americans see right through his lies and see him for the hypocrite that he is. When someone calls him out, he has some lame explanation as to why he is above it. LOSER!

    December 28, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  9. Squigman

    Damned shame. The country needs a lot of help, and what do we get. A blimp that can't pass a mirror without kissing it.

    December 28, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. Mark

    Newt is such a hypocrite and this is just another example of that. What's funny is that whenever someone calls him out on his hypocrisy he comes up with some lame explanation as to why what he is doing is supposedly different than what others are doing. Give it up Newt. People are getting sick of tired of you if they weren't already. LOSER!

    December 28, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  11. CAW in MD

    Gingrich is trying to be on both sides of an issue? Wow, how weird is that? I mean, he has nothing but nice things to say about Obama, right? But I keep forgetting that Obama isn't a "real American", whatever code word that is in Republican circles, and is therefore not included in Gingrich's rather recent conversion to nice politics...

    December 28, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess that we can call Gingrich a flip-flopper as well.

    December 28, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  13. anagram_kid

    Like I said a couple of weeks ago, Newt cannot help himself and will eventually revert to the malicious sophist he is. He has no discipline.
    Obama 2012

    December 28, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. enuff

    With the super PACS, candidates no longer have to worry about keeping their words. Let the pacs do the dirty work and they get to keep their hands clean. Like hiring a hit man while sitting at the resturant. what a bunch of hypocrites.

    December 28, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Newt wants candidates to stay away from his record of dishonest and unethical behavior. I'll bet he does...

    December 28, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  16. tcaros

    Where's Newt's paperwieghts that he calls books? He usually has one of those with a flag on it and some catchy phrase. Usually dumb republican supporters buy them and set them on their shelf at home.

    December 29, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  17. Hannibalee

    I am but one voice saying, "If Newt speaks positively of course Romney should do the same." That way Newt doesn't have to deal with his jacked up past and we can focus on all the fabricated information they're already feeding us.

    December 29, 2011 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  18. T'sah from Virginia

    â–ºGingrich having it both ways?â—„
    But that will all end in a couple of days!
    He soared to the TOP and then suddenly DROPPED
    He has nothing to blame but his own flip-flops!!

    ginGRINCH has a lot of nerve calling MITTens a flip-flopper when he invented it!!

    Obama 2012 – Keeping it REAL!!

    December 29, 2011 03:18 am at 3:18 am |