Gingrich tight-lipped on debate prep strategy
February 21st, 2012
06:57 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich tight-lipped on debate prep strategy

Oklahoma City (CNN) – Newt Gingrich would not divulge Tuesday whether he's prepping differently for Wednesday's CNN debate, but indications from his campaign schedule suggest otherwise.

After a bruising debate performance nearly a month ago in Florida, the former House speaker has a chance to redeem himself this week in Mesa, Arizona.

CNN LIVE: Tune in Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET for the last presidential debate before Super Tuesday, the CNN/Arizona Republican Party Debate hosted by John King. Follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate and on Facebook at CNN Politics. For real-time coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries, go to or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

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Gingrich regularly holds events the day of debates, while some of his opponents avoid campaigning to prepare. For the first time on a debate day, his schedule Wednesday is empty.

Despite the pressure to reignite his candidacy, Gingrich implied Tuesday he has not given much thought to the debate, telling reporters in Oklahoma City the debate was "too far away." When pushed for specifics about how he was preparing he said, "I don't know."

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond, who in the past has boasted that debate prep involved watching "Bridesmaids" and "Anchorman" on the campaign bus, also avoided revealing Gingrich's debate strategy.

When asked if the candidate was planning a new approach, Hammond said, "I don't know. I'll tell you afterwards to see if it worked."

While Gingrich's January debate performance was generally seen as weak, prior debates provided the former House speaker with strong moments, particularly during his attacks on the media and President Barack Obama.

Gingrich often jokes that his two debate coaches are his 10 and 12-year-old grandchildren.

The debate in Mesa, Arizona is the last time Gingrich will be on stage with his opponents before the next rounds of nominating contests, which begin next week in Arizona and Michigan and continue on Super Tuesday, March 6.

Since the candidates' last debate in January, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has picked up steam and is threatening Gingrich's presidential prospects.

Also see:

Paul ad slams Santorum

Obama campaign takes a swing at Santorum

Gingrich describes Obama as a national security risk

Franklin Graham questions Obama, Romney on Christian Faith

Filed under: 2012 • CNN Debate • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    His "debate strategy"? How hard is it to practice condescension?

    February 21, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Here's a question for the Arizona debate for all the candidates:

    If you believe that corporations are people, please identify the gender of GE or a corporation of your choice.

    Sincerely yours,
    American Voter

    February 21, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. Daph1

    Newt has alot of nastiness planned ahead.

    February 21, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. west

    well i didn' think it was his lips that where tight but really does anyone care what his strataegy is? Should be another dull debate with everyone bashing each other and the president too. Maybe ol rick will preach. Mitt will try and act like just one of the boys and paul will try to remember what he is talking about. Newt will just talk down to everyone. should be a real fun evening . ho hum

    February 21, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    I think ol' Newtie is hoping that the moderator can give him a question where he can respond with some sort of attack on the media and get the crowd on his side again. You know it's always the "evil left wing media" and never these poor right wing conservatives that are always correct and the media NEVER attacks President Obama and only them.

    February 21, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  6. Ron

    I hope someone puts a fork in this clown tomorrow night. He's done!

    February 21, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  7. LWR

    We love Newt and want him to win!!!! Go Newt, show how dumb and non american the others are..

    February 21, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  8. T'sah from Virginia

    Well ginGRINCH – you attacked the media already – that's not going to work
    You attacked MITTens – So that's NOT going to work
    You – on the surface – ATTACKED SATANorum – that’s did not work
    You're afraid of Ron Paul – So he won't be ATTACKED – And if you did, that's not going to work!!

    What's left? Nothing!! Go home and have fun with your Third Lady!!

    Obama 2012

    February 21, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  9. Bob

    "tight-lipped" – no need to call him names – thats just the way he looks.

    February 21, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It makes sense that his grandkids are helping him prepare because he has been childish so often and can't focus.

    February 21, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Newt doesn't have lapps !

    February 22, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |