January 22nd, 2012
07:35 PM ET
8 years ago

Romney takes aim at Gingrich in Florida

Ormond Beach, Florida (CNN) - The day after Newt Gingrich’s rout in South Carolina, Mitt Romney wasted no time in lighting into his newly emboldened competitor.

At a rally in Ormond Beach, Florida, Romney took direct aim at the former House speaker as he sought to wrest back his momentum in the GOP presidential race, offering the audience a history of what he called Gingrich’s “failed leadership” as speaker of the House.

“At the end of four years it was proven that he was a failed leader. And he had to resign in disgrace,” Romney said as the sun set over the outdoor rally at a building materials company. “I don’t know whether you knew that. He actually resigned after four years in disgrace.”

Romney tied the former speaker to President Obama, painting Gingrich as a Washington insider and saying a true outsider was the only hope for winning back the White House.

“He talks about great, bold movements and ideas,” Romney said. “Well, what’s he been doing for 15 years? He’s been working as a lobbyist, yeah. He’s been working as a lobbyist and selling influence around Washington.”

Hours after an abrupt turnaround on releasing his tax returns – Romney said Sunday morning that he would put out his 2010 tax information on Tuesday – the GOP candidate called on Gingrich to release records of his time spent working with troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

“What was he doing at Freddie Mac?” Romney asked. “Because Freddie Mac figures in very prominently into the fact that people in Florida have seen home values go down – it’s time to turn that around!”

Gingrich has said most of the six-figure sum he received from Freddie Mac went to pay for overhead and staff at his firm.

The former Massachusetts governor also made reference to Gingrich’s troubled marital history and emphasized the importance of character in the Republican race for the White House.

“We’re not choosing a talk show host, all right? We’re choosing a leader. We’re choosing the person who should be the leader of the free world,” Romney said, in a veiled reference to Gingrich’s colorful – and frequently applauded – speaking style at a series of presidential primary debates.

Romney added: “I believe leaders have integrity. I believe they are people of sobriety, judgment, thoughtfulness, reliability, high ethical standards, all the elements of leadership.”

The Romney campaign hoped the shift to Florida would provide an opportunity for rebound after a difficult week in which Romney learned he had lost Iowa’s caucuses, struggled over repeated questions about his taxes and was dealt a stunning loss in South Carolina.

Romney has a healthy financial advantage in Florida and boasts a significant political organization.

“It’s good to be back in Florida,” he told the audience Sunday. “I need your help.”

Romney was aided in his efforts by the two women who introduced him - Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi and Romney’s wife, Ann – who vouched for the former governor’s character.

Bondi took a none-too-subtle swipe at Gingrich’s ego.

“Let me tell you, this man is not arrogant,” Bondi said of Romney, adding of his family: “They are good people, of the highest integrity, of the highest morals, and they are a good, strong family.”

Meanwhile, Ann Romney spoke about Romney’s large and, by all accounts tight-knit, family.

“I understand Mitt’s going to release his tax forms this week,” she said. “I want to remind you where we know our riches are. Our riches are with our families.”

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Reggie from LA

    "...tied him to Obama." Mitt whatdya trying to do, give Newt a leg up? Obama's one of the good guys. I wonder if your near-success has been based on YOUR use of Obama's good name. They say you gave him Romneycare to create Obamacare. You mention his name continuously during all the debates. You say "Obama this, Obama that". Don't give him away to Newt, Mitt.

    January 22, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  2. linus

    I'd like to see Mr. Romney release at least 6-7 years of tax returns. I'd bet he hardly paid any taxes from the hundreds of millions he made raiding companies and laying off workers. I wouldn't be surprised that he also received "bail out" money that we, the taxpayers, gave Wall Street. Romney's dad released 12 years of tax returns when he was running, unsuccessfully, for president. We should ask the same of the son.

    January 22, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Meanwhile, Ann Romney spoke about Romney’s large and, by all accounts tight-knit, family.

    “I understand Mitt’s going to release his tax forms this week,” she said. “I want to remind you where we know our riches are. Our riches are with our families.”


    January 22, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  4. ct

    keep beating yourselves up, by the time nov come around whoever is the winner will get trumped by president obama

    January 22, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |

    His arrogant presumptioness with the media crowned "front Runner" status lured him into constant frontal assaults on the
    POTUS while turning his back on Newt. Newt is a street fighter, everything goes; Romney doesn't have the guts. He's been too priviliged all his life, never been knock down and kicked in the head until he threw those stones at Newt in Iowa and tried to hide his hand. Romney is not the one!

    January 23, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  6. Nicholas

    looks like London bridge is falling down. Mitt Romney is desperate,the Grinch has exposed his in-competencies and the facade he's put on for months.

    January 23, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  7. george of the jungle

    Love watching the repos ripping each other apart. So much for family values. Mitt is in a pickle and finding it hard to fight back against that big fat bozo. Unfortunatly the repo party has no credible candidate.

    January 23, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  8. skarphace

    If Romney wants to win, he has to take the lessons of SC to heart. Do not attack the opponenet you might have. Attack the oponent you do have. By brushing off his Republican opponenets in SC and attacking Obama, he lost SC. Even though I am a Paul supporter, of the two candidates, Romney or Gingrich, I prefer Romney.

    January 23, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  9. Pedron

    Vote mitts please vote mitts floridas he is the only true conservative like our governor Rick!

    January 23, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  10. Luke Brown

    Mitt, Gingrich's margin over you was a large bigger than it would have been because our Governor supported you. She is VERY unpopular ... a pretty lady without any real substance or depth. She's all sound bites in a state that desperately needs smart leadership.

    Voters were trying to send her a message to get serious about solving the problems of our state.

    January 23, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  11. king

    Every time I look at Romney I see George bush. These guys with their trickle down visions of pushing money to the rich and hope they create jobs, is a recipe for disaster. Lesson we are living in a global economy. This means demand drives every aspect of business. The repubs policies of taking demand money from the spenders in our economy and give it the rich, who will intern be dictated by their share holders to find demand in other countries to avoid competitions, and save money from middle class salaries in america will be drathrimental to our economy.

    January 23, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  12. Marry

    “…have seen home values go down – it’s time to turn that around!”
    Did Mitt not say one should let “…them hit bottom.”?
    “…high ethical standards, all the elements of leadership.”
    Did Mitt not practice “Corporate capitalism” to the extreme and now calls his work “ethical”?
    “I need your help.” Romney said.
    You should remember who he would help first when ask: “Corporations are people too, my friends!”
    By the way, what he said about Newt – it is obvious, we already know that!

    January 23, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  13. Ehi

    I lived in the UK and constantly follow the US electron every now and then, but I must say I'm truly n deeply sad for that country, look how they being played by the politicians every time, I mean, how can you look at Mitt Romney, his history n all, n still vote or thinking of voting for him, my God, dont you guys have any sense, his face to me is so scary, so deceitful, I dont even know what he stands for, I fear for the country if he ever gets elected, WEEP FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LAND OF THE ROMNEYS!

    January 23, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  14. Myth Romney & his Million$$$ for President of Caymen Island

    Let's replace Freddie Mac with Bain Capital!

    “Because Bain Capital figures in very prominently into the fact that people in United States have seen their companies raided by "Vulture Capitalist" like Myth MorNEY and their JOBS shipped to CHINA while their paycheck values go down or their JOBS outrightly ELIMINATED!!!

    Freddie Mac have the same net effect of affecting the MIDDLE CLASS Americans as BAIN CAPITAL!!!!

    Myth Romney should put his MONEY where his heart is....here in the United States, and NOT CAYMEN ISLAND!!!!!!

    January 23, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  15. diridi

    not winnable to Pres. Obama. Nation is on right track. Dollar is getting powerful again, We need to watch Oil, and free energy independence. that's it.

    January 23, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  16. Dave

    I can't believe SC voted for Newt. How can we trust a man who has cheated on his wives, been exposed for ethics violations in congress, and has earned millions off of his lobby efforts. I will vote for Mitt Romney, who has experience in the private sector and has a record of turning bad situations into good situations.

    January 23, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. Riley

    Good job, Mitt. take it to Newt and Obama. President Romney!!!!

    January 23, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. Fact

    We have selected several likeable and well speak presidents. Check your wallets and our debt. Future of Our children?
    Mitt Romney as governor: Unemployed rate is about 4%. Deficit reduction from 36B to 9B.

    January 23, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  19. Fact

    Reduce 15T deficit is a tough job: People who have done a lot of tough job do not look likeable. But it is good for us and future of our children.

    January 23, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  20. MA Citizen

    People – let me set the record straight. Mittens was one of THE WORST governors we have ever had. He has only wanted ONE job and that is to be President. He used us, neglected us, was FOR a woman's right to choose when it could get him elected, then flipped and flopped on that issue. He was "proud" of his healthcare plan, now distances himself from it. He has NO CORE. NO VALUES. And, believe me, he was NOT a job creator (look at the stats here in MA when he was "leading" us). Bain is a great company – for the investors, NOT for the companies they take over. Staples IS a success, but not because of Bain. When Bain invested, they were an entirely different company with a different agenda – vc $$. That ain't Bain now. They buy low, strip the company for profit, and sell off high – no matter what it does to anyone in the company. Get real, People. Mittens is not good for this country.

    January 23, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. Fact

    Advice to Mitt Romney: Debate should touch people's heart.

    January 23, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. DIANA

    I thought I would miss Republican politics after the Sarah Palen disaster but this is a lot better! Obama doesn't even need anybody to write commercials for him, the Republican's are doing it for him. Whoever wins will be so damaged by the time he runs another losing Republican battle against our President.

    January 23, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    We went through 8 years of a bad president with Bush. We've had 4 years of a good president who truly cares about this country and its citizens with Obama. Another four years with Obama, and maybe he can undo all the damage the Bush regime did.

    All I'm seeing and hearing from the GOP is even more disastrous than the Bush regime brought down on us.

    January 23, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  24. Larry L

    This update just in... Until now we didn't have specifics about the event when Newt found Jesus. It turns out he found him in a jewelry store...

    January 23, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. Randy, San Francisco

    Keep the slug fest going all the way to the GOP convention! President Obama will win a second term!

    January 23, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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