Gingrich justifies debate performances
January 28th, 2012
03:51 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich justifies debate performances

Port St. Lucie, Florida (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich blamed rival Mitt Romney Saturday for his two lackluster debate performances this week.

“You cannot debate somebody who is dishonest. You just can’t,” Gingrich said. “People say I’m a good debater. I can’t debate somebody who won’t tell the truth.”

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Gingrich did not like the last two debates, which took place in Florida on Monday and Thursday. He said there were moments during Thursday’s CNN/Republican Party of Florida debate when he was “staring in amazement” at Romney because “I know what he is saying is untrue."

Instead of confronting Romney on stage, a tactic he’s used successfully during previous debates, Gingrich hit back the following day with a television advertisement.

The ad, “What kind of man?”, paints the former Massachusetts governor as an untrustworthy, flip-flopping politician. The spot features clips from the debate when Romney attempted to explain why he voted in a Democratic primary and denied that he knew about a misleading ad against Gingrich put out by his campaign.

The former House speaker also conceded on Friday the debate audience was another reason why he didn’t challenge Romney.

“[T]hat particular audience, it would have not worked to take him head on, so I backed down,” Gingrich said.

Pouncing on the statement later in the day, Romney quickly compared Gingrich to the indecisive character Goldilocks, saying the former House speaker couldn't decide whether he wanted debates to have silent audiences or rowdy crowds.

Gingrich said the two-time presidential candidate’s consultants need to come up with better material. After making the argument that he can’t debate Romney because he’s so "dishonest" he said, “I’d be glad to debate him any time. I would request that he tell the truth the next time we debate. That’s all I’d ask of him.”

- Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN.

Also see:

Romney: Gingrich debates complaints like 'Goldilocks'

Palin decries GOP 'cannibalism,' defends Gingrich

Romney surrogates shadow Gingrich campaign

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. s

    Looks who is calling the FAT kettle black

    January 29, 2012 05:20 am at 5:20 am |

    President Obama will stomp this chump.

    January 29, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  3. Shirlene

    Really Newt? This coming from the man who quite forcefully claimed that there were numerous people ready to defend him regarding the accusations made by his 2nd wife to ABC news? Then finally admits that the only two people were his daughters from his 1st wife?

    January 29, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  4. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Right on, Larry L. To that Newt could also add "and I didn't raid companies to lay off workers and stick taxpayers with the pension obligations."

    January 29, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  5. GonzoinHouston

    Aw, Newt, quit whining. He hit you with a tactic you didn't expect, got you off your game early, and kept up the pressure all night. You got over-confident and didn't prepare nearly as well. Quit making excuses and get out there pander!

    January 29, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
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