Gingrich: Paul plays by different set of rules
January 2nd, 2012
10:02 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich: Paul plays by different set of rules

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CNN) – White House hopeful Newt Gingrich had stinging criticism Monday for presidential candidate Ron Paul, who is holding onto second place on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.

The former House speaker has been the target of negative advertisements from Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. But in an interview with the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Gingrich all but dismissed the Texas congressman's attacks, saying he doesn't think Paul is electable.

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"Ron Paul represents a very ideological movement that, you know, thinks an Iranian nuclear weapon doesn't matter and legalizing drugs is fine. I mean I think he plays by a totally different set of rules than anybody else," Gingrich said.

Gingrich didn't back down from his comments after the Cedar Rapids Gazette followed-up with this question: "Did you just dismiss Ron Paul as a serious candidate?"

"I don't think the Republican Party is going to nominate – or the country's going to elect – a president who believes that an Iranian nuclear weapon's irrelevant, or a president who believes that Israel's survival doesn't matter, or a president who's for legalizing drugs. Forgetting all the stuff that was written in the newsletters that he claims he didn't know about," Gingrich said.

"I do think he's a serious protest candidate and I think as long as he's a protest candidate on things like the Federal Reserve, he actually serves a useful purpose in building an issue that really matters," Gingrich said. "But I think if you really stop and say to yourself, can you imagine him as president given his beliefs and his system, I think the answer is no. You couldn't imagine the American people doing that."

In the editorial board interview, Gingrich said he holds Paul and Romney to different standards.

"Mitt Romney is a serious person and as a serious person he has some responsibility to set a decent standard, and he couldn't show the ads he's running to his grandchildren with any sense of pride," said Gingrich, referring to the negative ads targeting Gingrich and produced by Restore Our Future super PAC, which operates independently from the Romney campaign but is run by former staff members.

In a CNN interview that will air Monday on "Piers Morgan Tonight," Gingrich pressed Romney to repudiate the super PAC ads.

"My only request of Mitt is that he be honest with the country. This attack ad, which is already running in Florida, already running in South Carolina, already running in New Hampshire," Gingrich said to Morgan. "If he can't level with the American people about these ads, why should we expect him to level about anything if he's president?"

– Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN.

Also see:

Gingrich mulls strategy shift after Iowa

Leading Perry backers head to Iowa for final push

Bachmann: Polls not a good measure of support

Romney goes on offense

Filed under: Iowa • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Ron Paul
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. kat

    Paul is an idiot and would make America a disaster, I thought Rand Paul was a good choice, but now I see that I was wrong, Anyone who would support Ron Paul must go. I will not support Rand in the future.His beliefs are not what I expected. I support the tea party but not in the extreme that Ron Paul supports. His foriegn policy is waaaay off base.

    January 3, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  2. Jon

    I`m sure Romney`s grand children do watch the commercials and laugh at you newt. Romney`s like 65? His grandchildren at least have to be in their teens. Boooohoooooo. Cmon Newt? Your right, ever president does win SC. But they win IA or NH first. Your pick up a win late in the game 2008 Giuliana plan aint gonna fly. Enjoy the same fate as Giuliani.

    January 3, 2012 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  3. Voltara

    in 1996 Gingrich failed to install a malleable Democrat turncoat in Ron Paul's congressional seat.

    Paul 2, Gingrich 0

    January 3, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  4. marty

    I think Gingrich knows that in the event of a Ron Paul win the status quo will never be the same agains. That's the status quo that helped him ear so much money as a Washington Insider. I don't think he really cares about the state of the country because for people like him, things are great. For most people, like me, things have not been great the last 5 years and I think that I matter. It's time for a change and not just any change. It's time for a serious change. I pray that Ron Paul wins, and if he doesn't, then his run will change the way politicians do business. We need more concern for Main St. and less concern for Wall St.

    January 3, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  5. Thomas

    Bachmann seeks miracle in presidential race ?

    January 3, 2012 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  6. Independent Thought

    Gingrich has zero credibility.

    January 3, 2012 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  7. Brian Dodge

    If it is convenient to a Republican President for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, they will; it won't matter if it's a (real) Weapon of Mass Destruction – or a Weapon of Mythical Deception, like with Bush and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

    The Republican Party problem is anyone far/wacky enough right to get nominated can't get elected, and vice versa. Romney, (or as John Stewart says, "the great white nope") and Huntsman are too moderate/intelligent to win the nomination. Bachmann, Santorum, Palin, & Ron Paul are too crazy to win the election. Gingrich is smart enough to behave like a far right wack job and might win the nomination, even though he isn't actually a social conservative; but if he moves far enough right to get nominated, it will kill his chances at the general election. If he stays right to "solidify the base", he'll lose moderate/independent voters. If he moves back to the center, social(gay marriage, abortion, prayer in school) conservatives will say home

    January 3, 2012 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  8. Colin

    I'm an American, and I happen to feel Ron Paul's finger is right on the pulse. "Mainstream" is delusional, or the ones holding their purse strings are just afraid of Paul. Ever notice, when CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, any of them; report poll positions, they'll list off every candidate, but Paul? Gotta be something to that. These other Republican candidates could be clones of one another, just a bunch of stooges. I'm a Democrat, but I'd readily vote for Dr. Paul if given the chance. Republican, Democrat, they're just a two headed snake these days. Paul is a breath of fresh air in an overly stagnant field of phony politicians.

    January 3, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  9. jim

    Newt Romney is a joke.

    January 3, 2012 04:35 am at 4:35 am |

    Lizard needs cheese for that whine. GOBP wingnuts will ram Romney down teabaggers' throats. The GOBP wingnut/teabagger trainwreck implosion continues full speed ahead.

    January 3, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  11. Marie MD

    Goodness they both look old, don't they? Do we really need an old president? The job is too big and stressful.

    January 3, 2012 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  12. Anonymous

    It's amazing how many politicians in both parties paint Paul's moderate positions on the war on drugs or Iran as "radical" when in fact it's the "normal" politicians who are acting like radicals. Attacking Iran preemptively, as GWB did with Iraq, was and remains an extremely radical and unjustified act of a nation whose leaders have lost touch with reality. Keeping marijuana illegal while alcohol and tobacco products are legal is completely backwards in terms of social and medical harms. Yet our "normal" politicians refuse to even discuss these glaring inconsistencies. Go Ron Paul!

    January 3, 2012 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Gingrich raises a serious concern about Ron Paul's foreign policy. I think the question is for Paul; what do you do to help our allies? Or is he of the mindset that they can take care of themselves? That is a serious issue. If people want to help, does that mean a Paul administration would not have a foreign policy?

    January 3, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  14. Steve

    Way to skew his views, Gingrich, you unprincipled liar.

    January 3, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  15. Mark Fettig

    I'm serious about Ron Paul, and I believe the same way he does, I'm one of the Americans Newt hates.

    January 3, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  16. mgginva

    Newt now can not vote in Virginia, his home state, because you have to sign a pledge there saying if you vote in the GOP primary you'll support whoever wins. Since he claims he will not vote for Paul if he wins, essentially Newt either has to break his pledge or not vote.

    hahahahahahahahaha chump!

    There is no prosperity without Peace.

    Ron Paul 2012
    Edit Reply

    January 3, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. Susiejoe

    The different set of rules for Ron Paul is one of honesty and integrity. Whether you like Newt or not, he has none. His own truth took him done, thank God.

    January 3, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Norm

    The world is run by young, strong, intelligent leaders now.
    We don't want these dinosaurs in the White House anymore.
    Didn't they get the hint when McCain was put out to pasture in 2008?

    January 3, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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