September 22nd, 2012
01:45 AM ET
8 years ago

Gingrich to Romney: Do to Obama what you did to me

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich on Friday urged Mitt Romney to go after President Barack Obama in next month's debates with a gusto the former House speaker knows well.

"When he walks in to debate Obama, he's got to be as tough with Obama as he was with me in Florida," Gingrich said in an interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

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After all, Gingrich said, Romney "is not in a competition to be likeable."

At two debates in Florida last January amidst their bitter struggle for the GOP presidential nomination, Romney lit into Gingrich.

The two entered the Florida primary locked up in the polls. But after some heavy stumping - and arguably some debate thumping - Romney emerged on top in the vote count, beating Gingrich by 14 points and claiming the state's delegate haul.

With Romney trailing Obama in favorability, Gingrich encouraged Romney to play aggressively on the debate stage. The most recent CNN/ORC International Poll of likely voters, conducted earlier this month after the conclusion of both conventions, showed Obama with a 9 point advantage over Romney in their respective favorability ratings.

"He's in a competition to be capable," Gingrich said. "We need somebody who can turn America around. We need him to convince us that a Romney recovery is better than an Obama stagnation. Unless he can do that, I don't care how much effort they spend trying to make him likeable - it won't work.

Appearing separately on the program, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley argued that Obama has produced more than stagnation.

"I think the polls show overwhelmingly that most of us understand that the wrecking of our economy was the result of policies that were inflicted upon us during the Bush years," he said. "We've now had 30 months in a row of positive private sector job growth. Foreclosures are now lower than they were before President Obama took office. And while we still have a lot of work to do, we are headed in a much better direction than we were the day he took that oath."

In the interview, Gingrich also responded an apparent contrast between Romney's comments that he had not - and would be disqualified from the presidency if - he paid more in his taxes than he owed, and his campaign's acknowledgement that he could have paid less had he reported all of his charitable giving.

"I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president," Romney said in a July interview. "I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires."

But documents released Friday showed the Republican presidential nominee reported on his 2011 tax return that approximately 16% of his income went to charity, while his campaign said the actual amount was 30%.

Gingrich initially laughed and took a swipe at Vice President Joe Biden, charging that the vice president ought to then "resign this evening because he has said enough different goofy things over time that you couldn't possibly remain vice president."

Then, Gingrich described Romney's charitable giving as a credit to the GOP candidate.

"I think it is a good thing for Romney," Gingrich said. "Apparently he's done this his whole life, to have a very substantial donation process for charities, for his church, and for things he wants to do voluntarily as a citizen. That's also a kind of self-tax to keep civilized society moving."

Also see:

- Rubio tweets his airline woes

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- Gingrich to Romney: Do to Obama what you did to me

- Biden: Romney tape, demeanor shows he 'does not understand' middle class

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. Jackie Treehorn

    Romney didn't beat Gingrich because of a debate, Romney beat Gingrich because Romney is a half-way decent human being and Gingrich barely qualifies as a member of the species.

    September 22, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. Gerhardt Wagner MD

    One of the most enduring myths about Barack Obama is that he’s been a better foreign policy president than a domestic one. Given his feeble record at home, that isn’t saying much. And now, after the wholesale collapse of his “soft diplomacy” throughout the Muslim world, that myth has finally been shattered.

    Indeed, when it comes to foreign policy, it’s amateur hour in the White House. This rank amateurism was on full display in the confusing and contradictory manner with which Obama treated the two most important leaders in the Middle East— Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu of Israel and Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt.

    The current Islamic rage against America began in Egypt, and the American embassy in Cairo has been under constant assault by Morsi’s radical Islamist political partners. So how did Obama react? He agreed to reward Morsi with a private meeting at the United Nations General Assembly later this month, but flatly turned down a request for a get-together with America’s chief ally in the region, Netanyahu.

    Netanyahu has made no secret of the fact that he doesn’t trust Obama, and the president has been equally candid that he despises the outspoken Netanyahu. The White House didn’t even try to come up with a valid excuse for the president’s snub of Netanyahu. It said that the president would arrive in New York for the UN on Monday, September 24 and depart on Tuesday, September 25, and Netanyahu wouldn’t arrive in New York until later in the week. But that explanation didn’t wash, because Netanyahu offered to go to Washington if New York wasn’t convenient.

    September 22, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. bill davis

    Let's hope they do not take the Obama telePrompter away...the would not know what to say....

    Some do take their money and make money...

    Some take other people's money and lose it with bad loans while getting it back under the table...

    September 22, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. nunya

    Yes, Mr Gingrich, Mr Romney has to get tough and release ALL of his TAX returns.....

    September 22, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. hannah

    Obama doesn't even have to campaign anymore. Every time Mitt the Twit opens his mouth he steps in it.

    September 22, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. david

    The only reason why Mitt strategy worked against Newt was because Newt has not an iota of crediblity, aserial womaniser, serial divorcee, a racist ex and irrelivant douce bag, Mitt cant do it to Obama because we the people will call him out on it not only tthat he had lied consistently against the President and he hcan not win on the basis of lies anymore, not to forget also that Mitt was responsible for his won sel destruction

    September 22, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. ll

    So what? Newt was/is an ethically-challenged mor0n. Didn't take much to show him for what he is. Romney is still the weakest candidate the Republicans have put out there in decades.

    September 22, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. bill davis

    I'd be lost without a teleprompter...

    some make money loaning to other people,

    Some make money under the table with bad loans...

    September 22, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. yneemee

    Act nice and the media will slam you.... Act rogue and the media will slam you... they will do ANYTHING to reelect their boy pal, Obama

    So go for it !!!

    September 22, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. Keyser

    Yeah, Mitt,....take advice from a winner like Gingrich. He can take your campaign all the way into the toilet.

    September 22, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. dw

    We need a presd that wont run and play during crises not one that works to help the bad guys they only release them and let them do it all over again i seen the enemys plans for myself make threats dont let them get planes or theyll be on homeland doing it i can guarantee that they will not stop till they are satisfied that america is in their hands and do to us what they did before u like ur hands? Etc vote against obama

    September 22, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Steve

    Newt, you willingly took it and smiled as Romney had his way with you. Obama will neither take it nor smile any more than necessary to be the decent person he – unlike you – is.

    September 22, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. Annie

    Oh Newtie, how much did Romnuts pay you to say that?

    September 22, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. JeffinIL

    Note to Newt: Mitt Romney didn't make you look bad. You did that all by yourself.

    September 22, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Please self deport immediately Mitt

    Romney secret tape:

    "While at Bain, I (Romney) went to China to invest in a Chinese manufacturing factory that employed hundreds of young Chinese."

    Are these the American jobs you created Romney?

    September 22, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. us_1776

    Newt, Romney didn't do anything to you.

    You did everything to yourself.

    You were an easy mark.


    September 22, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. Indy

    Those were lightweight debates and Romney will now be in the heavyweight debate with Obama, and Romney has one heck of a time telling the truth and Obama will circle him on his lies and make Mitts cry.

    September 22, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. DL

    I agree about the comments about the media. It has gotten absurd, even Bill O'reilly did an interview on nbc the other night where they admitted lying about all the socialism, kenyan and all that nonsense to continue to sway the stupid. We need to face facts, there won't be any compromise in this country til these lying hacks are held responsible. It must be a very sad world for people to live in when they think 'everybody is out to get them' and all media is a 'conspiracy' to supress them. If these people made these claims at a health clinic, they would be diagnosed with paranoia or Schizophrenia

    September 22, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. plenty

    Panic in the Repug camp?

    September 22, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. marty in MA

    Republicans need to rework their party, lose the "dead wood" and whackos.

    As a Democrat, I would welcome a real candidate with a real plan. Mitt was my governor, so I know what he brought to the table. He created no jobs (49 in USA) and didn't realte to the average person at all.

    Offshore banking amd looting companies is his expertise.

    September 22, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. ronjayaz

    First of all, I seriously doubt that any advice NG (No Good) wud give Rmoney ("our money" Romney's 14% taxes, not income of the kind Buffet's secy paid–35% on REAL working taxes) wud be followed by him. I dont remember Rmoney being particularly aggressive against anybody except that rich man's slip to Perry, "I'll bet U $10K." And Slick Rick sheepishly sed ? when he shud have sed "I'm not rich like U, guv." Let's face it, Rmoney is a stiff. Peggy Noonan sed it all, "Rmoney's in calamity mode." Secondly, Rmoney underestimates grossly the electorate. He either talks up or down to them, never straight forward. He has absolutely no communication skills. I hope the media harps on the fact that his charitable deductions can be revised upwards after the election, which wud really have dropped his taxes drastically. In the words of his wife: "Stop it!". U always have 3 years to amend yor returns. His filing the return now coincides with Sunday's first mail-ins.

    September 22, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Antoine D

    Problem is that the President is not a bloated, blowhard, narcissist with a brain full of lunatic notions who makes a target broader than a barn. Even Romney could puncture his Newtness.

    September 22, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Oktogo77

    @ST – well said!

    September 22, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. RomneyLOL

    Taking campaign lessons from Gingrich is like taking calculus lessons from a 3 year old. The debates are going to be SO AWESOME. If the GOP thinks Gingrich out there publicly giving Romney debate advice is a good strategy, then Romney doesn't have a prayer.

    September 22, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Mary

    Newt – You're not Obama. You were easy for Mitten to beat because of your lies & facts were not checking out to be true.

    September 22, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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