January 25th, 2012
03:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney says Gingrich ad used 'terrible terms'

Miami, Florida (CNN) - In an interview at a Hispanic forum in Miami on Wednesday, Mitt Romney accused Newt Gingrich of making an unfair attack on his immigration stance in a campaign radio ad, saying the ad used "terrible terms" in a manner that was "very sad" and "inappropriate."

Hours before, the Gingrich campaign acknowledged it had stopped running the Spanish language ad, which had referred to Romney as "the most anti-immigrant candidate" and drew censure from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

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Romney was asked about the ad at a "Meet the Candidates" forum in Miami hosted by Spanish-language television outlet Univision.

"It's very sad for a candidate to resort to that kind of epithet. It's just inappropriate," Romney told the moderator about the ad. "There are differences between the candidates on these issues but we don't attack each other with those kind of terrible terms."

Romney also fired back at comments Gingrich had made earlier that day at the forum, charging the GOP candidate had pandered to the Latino community and behaved in a manner "unbecoming" of a presidential hopeful.

On stage earlier that day, Gingrich mocked Romney for suggesting people in the country illegally would "self-deport" and leave the United States voluntarily if the federal government made it too difficult to live here without documentation.

Gingrich laughed when asked by the moderator about the proposal, and called it an "Obama-level fantasy."

"How close are you to breaking up laughing out loud at this fantasy?" Gingrich scoffed, painting Romney as out-of-touch. "I think you have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic $20 million of income with no work to have some fantasy this far from reality."

Gingrich suggested a grandmother who had lived illegally in the country for years would never be pushed into wanting to leave, and said Romney was ignoring the "humanity" of undocumented immigrants already established in the country.

During his appearance, Romney said Gingrich had previously supported the idea of self-deportation.

"I recognize that its very tempting to come out to an audience like this and pander to the audience and say what you hope the audience will want to hear but frankly I think that's unbecoming of a presidential candidate," Romney said. "And I think that was a mistake on his part."

Romney emphasized to the audience he was "pro-immigrant" and pointed to the high rate of businesses started by immigrants in the United States. Romney advocates for a identification card system that would make it more difficult for people in the country illegally to find work, but has said it does not make sense to "round up" the millions of undocumented immigrants and deport them.

He joked with the moderator about the citizenship of his father George Romney, who was born in Mexico but was an American citizen.

Univision host Jorge Ramos asked Romney whether he might be considered the first Mexican-American president if he were to be elected.

"I would love to be able to convince people of that, particularly in a Florida primary," Romney joked.

- CNN Political Producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Also see:

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Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Latinos • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Boy Mitt, those zany Gingrich ads, eh?

    January 25, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Jem

    Why do you Republicans prefer a serial adulterer and a professional flip flopper to a man with a rational plan to fix this nation?

    Why are you not voting for RON PAUL?

    January 25, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    More girly man slaps from the limp wristed leaders in the party of clowns.

    January 25, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Stacey

    I don't know who's a biggar liar – Romney or Gingrich. Let's just say they're running neck and neck in the lying department. None of the GOP candidates are good for America. None of them.

    January 25, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Jariv

    Go Mitt !!!

    January 25, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    Now Terrible term in America is “ I like firing people”

    January 25, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Data Driven

    And yet Romney's against the Dream Act. Romney's hysterical anti-immigrant pandering in "white" states like Iowa is a matter of videographic record. So maybe it's "terrible", but it's also accurate.

    January 25, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    There are probably millions of people who entered this country illegally and should be deported. The problem is clearing the impossibly tall logistical hurdle to actually do it. It simply cannot be done. Many of these people were unknown to their country when they left simply because they came from rural areas where little or no accurate birth records were kept. Country X could honestly say that they have never heard of the person, despite the fact that the person is from Country X.

    January 25, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. MileHighPro

    Lock up all illegals.

    January 25, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Bill

    Boo Hoo Mittens. Can't take a dose of your own medicine? What a clown.

    January 25, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC


    Lock up all illegals.
    And do what with them? How do you figure out where they should go? How do you convince some country to accept the person when half of the illegals in this country are from rural areas little or no birth records were kept.

    January 25, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. westward

    Mitt doesn't give a rip about the middle class, seniors, women, or the rest of America for that matter. He plans to tax the middle class and cut ss/medicare to fund his tax breaks for the wealthy agenda and his ramp up of defense spending. His massive off shoring of his assets to avoid paying his own taxes proves where his priorities lie – not in America.

    January 25, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. david

    I'm done with Gingrich. My vote will be for Romney. He has changed his opinions in the past, but always for the better. I have not always believed what I believe now, and I am better for it. Gingrich's dirty politics are divisive and nasty.

    January 25, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Noodle Nose Johnson

    *sniff* poor Mitty. When he says horrible things about Obama and uses the President's words out of context with the intent to mislead, he's being a patriotic American. When it's done to him, he's a victim.

    January 25, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    Another whiney conservative, playing the victim card.

    January 25, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. willie floyd

    How do you vote for the "lesser of 2 evils" when one is as evil as the other??? Glad I don't have to be faced with that decision.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 25, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. Independent in NC

    Romney is such a wimp. He can dish it out but cries like a baby wanting a bottle about everything. This is politics not Bain where people were yes people and kissed his behind. This is why Romney will not get the nomination. Obama/Biden 2012

    January 25, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Off the record►► I just watched Blitzer on CNN talking about Pelosi and what she is going to release on ginGrinch and he showed a rally ginGRINCH was holding when he got "heckled" by the crowd. Why is it that ginGRINCH always have Calista next to him "all the time" while he is on stage campaigning? You do not see any other wives standing there throughout any of the other candidate’s speeches as much as Calista. The other "Ladies" – if it is not a "concession" speech – will stand there at the beginning – give a little "pat" on the lips – and then LEAVE THE STAGE or at least “move back” and get out of the camera. Whew, maybe it is just me but I NEVER felt so ill towards a potential Third Lady in all of my life; Calista takes the case!!

    Obama 2012!!

    January 25, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Is it true , Mitts five son's are NAVY Seals

    Mitt and Sons , Seal Team Six ?

    January 25, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |