Gingrich in friendly attack-mode ahead of debate
January 7th, 2012
05:21 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich in friendly attack-mode ahead of debate

Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (CNN) – With a World War II-era military tank behind him and two critical debates ahead of him, Newt Gingrich gave his most muscular performance in weeks at a town hall Saturday.

Speaking at a WWII museum in Wolfeboro, the historian and Republican presidential candidate made reference to another former governor of Massachusetts who ran for president.

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"From a political standpoint I look at this tank lovingly because I remember Michael Dukakis," said Gingrich of the Democratic presidential nominee who lost to President George H.W. Bush in 1988. "And it's just a reminder that governors of Massachusetts don't always make good presidential candidates."

The well-choreographed event set up the perfect punch line for Gingrich, who is struggling in the polls and trying to draw stark contrast between his record and that of frontrunner Mitt Romney.

The presidential candidates face off in a debate Saturday night for the first time since last week's Iowa caucuses that dealt Romney a first place win. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum came in a close second followed by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas in third and Gingrich in fourth.

The former House speaker dismissed questions from reporters about whether he will "attack" Romney at Saturday's debate, or whether he planned to go after Santorum in an effort to define himself as the Romney alternative.

"It's not a me versus, I'm the Reagan conservative alternative," Gingrich said.

Gingrich was seemingly in his element speaking to a friendly audience of veterans and military families at the Wright Museum of WWII History. He told reporters after the event that he does not plan to go for the jugular during Saturday's debate.

"I'm not going to go after Mitt Romney. I may define the reality of a Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate. I may describe the difference between cutting taxes and raising taxes, or being right-to-life and putting Planned Parenthood into 'Romneycare.' That's the most I have to do," Gingrich said. "If your case is good you can be relaxed and happy."

Despite Gingrich's proclamations that he will draw contrasts with his opponents yet remain positive, he's not pulling punches through ads and most recently launched a website discrediting Romney.

Also see:

Poll: Romney in South Carolina surge

Paul disavows anti-Huntsman ad

Gingrich defends food stamp comment

Romney: I'm independent of Wall Street

Gingrich targets Romney in 'Don't Mass Up' rally .

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. DG O'Brien

    Hey Shawna! I realize geography can be tricky especially what with the smaller states, but please change the bold-typed "Wolfeboro, Massachusetts" to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Even New England expats pick up on these things! Cheers!

    January 7, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    ........ friendly attack mode .........
    As he stands in from of a military tank. OOPS

    January 7, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Somebody Else

    Mitt Romney is DROWNING in a rising tide of Spreading Santorum. Or is that BROWNING?

    January 7, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    When our conservative media personalities backed the moderate H Bush who was beat by W Clinton, those same conservative media personalities blamed a conservative, R Perot.
    When our conservative media personalities backed another moderate B Dole who was beat by W Clinton, the conservative media personalities again blamed a conservative, R Perot.
    When our conservative media personality again backed a moderate McCain, who was beat badly by B Obama, those same conservative media personalities again blamed a conservative, M Huckabee.

    Well, the conservative media personalities are again backing a moderate, M Romney, who will be beaten badly by B Obama, whereby those same conservative media personalities will again blame a conservative, this time Newt Gingrich.

    Please remember, conservative media personalities are merely self gratifying entertainers and social elites, not objective political conservative observers.

    January 7, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Former Republican, now an Independent

    With a faithfullness record worse than Herman Cain and a platform that isn't even close to feasible, attack is the only weapon Gingrich posseses.

    January 7, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  6. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    Newt, Reagan was a showman. He was an actor at a time when America needed a ringmaster AND a president. Unfortunately, all we got was a ringmaster. Sure, he could stand toe-to-toe with other political/religious/celebrity rock-n-rollers like Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, Dalai Lama, Gorbachev, but he sent the national debt skyrocketing and turned the government into a hulking behemoth. The GOP wants smaller government? HA! Since when? Ever since Reagan, the GOP has only made it a monstrous size.

    January 7, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. Drogo, who bit the dust

    gingRICH is losing traction. How and why he ever gained any is the real question. The absurdity of Newt.

    January 7, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  8. smintheus

    Newt Gingrich, the draft dodger, using military hardware as a photo op while he talks tough. You couldn't make this stuff up.

    January 7, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. Squigman

    Standing in front of something he never rode in, and today probably couldn't get in.

    January 7, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  10. Rev. Raymond Brown

    I have predicted that 2012 will be a year of protest and racism. Rick santorum and Newt has confirmed my prediction. Both men are using the race card to win white vote. Rev. Brown.

    January 7, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  11. DENNA

    When I look at Gingrich, I am just saddened that our nation has been reduced to even considering this buffoon for the office of president. Come on America, we are better than this. Or are we?

    January 7, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. BeverlyNC

    Gingrich is a wimp. Thought he was going to take Romney out – and then kissed his ring at the debate. What a bunch of losers.

    January 8, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  13. Shelby

    Must break this to you, newtie…you are NO Ronald Reagan. Reagan was a likable man; you however are a pompous crybaby. You will never be president of this great nation.

    January 8, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  14. Thomas

    That photo says it all !

    January 8, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  15. health-today

    very good information..
    i like cnn very much for all news..

    January 8, 2012 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  16. tc

    obama is smart out of books, he hant been ableto transfer that to real life.

    January 8, 2012 06:08 am at 6:08 am |