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

- Ryan 'very comfortable' as Romney's V.P. candidate

- Litigating Capitol Hill recess in weekly addresses

- 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. Organic1

    So many armchair advisers these days, things must be getting worse...

    September 22, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. rose

    I am not voting for "a person". History has proven that "idols" fall; Stalin, Hitler,.etc. Obama has not done better than Bush, on the contrary, worse. What else can he offer? Is Romney a good candidate? I don't know but I want to try. Four years of Obama have not solved anything. How can be that in Nevada, where unemployment is the highest, Obama leads in the polls? Is it that those people on unemployement don't want to get a job and prefer to cash "the government check"? Or is it that they incapable of seeing that Obama has not done anything and will not do anything else? Or are they waiting for the redestribution of wealth? For me it is just common sense.......

    September 22, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. glenview0818

    I have to say, with what is going on in the world today, that everyone is concerned with the 47%, someone elses taxes and the next debate, concerns me greatly. Lets stick our head in the sand and think about how our party is much better than theirs. No wonder we are where we are today. Even after the election, I am not so sure the politicians will address any real issues, besides stuffing their pockets with my money. How can either party ignore what is happening in the middle east? But the 40B a month to the big banks makes them pretty happy.

    September 22, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. You Don't Say?

    Newt is very intelligent. Had he not had some of that 'baggage' he had, he may have been the nominee instead of Romney. He did come across getting p'o'd at times, in particular with the ones asking the questions. He laid into Blitzer and King and I think a Fox News moderator once as well ~ don't think that helped him overall. That said, had things been a little different, since he is quick on his feet, he would mop the floor with Obama.

    September 22, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Starstuff

    Obama is going to do to Romney what Romney did to everyone else. I agree Obama's weak point is a weak economic recovery but a recovery indeed. After all the Republican obstacles Obama had to hurdle he still is in good shape.

    All what Obama has to do is to pound on Medicare, Social Security, taxes, immigration, women's rights, military spending and war mongering and what is left of Romney is going to 'self destruct' in the first debate.

    September 22, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Common sense grandma

    Romney was never that good in the debates, the rest if the field was just hopelessly bad.

    September 22, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. JC in Western US

    I have faith in average Americans. We are not the brainless, mindless, automatons that pundits, pollsters, and politicians think we are. We can smell a lie. We know how hard we work. We know how much we paid in taxes. We know the origins of our debt and our deficit and we know the difference between the two. We know where the economic trouble began. We know what contributed to it. We know that there are hard decisions coming our way, and we know that they will require competent leadership and compromise. The choice has been made. There is nothing that Romney can say on a stage in a contrived debate that is going to change the course of this election.

    September 22, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Manny D

    Is Newt, trying to kiss up to Romney fo assistance to pay his Tiffany credit card or debt? I wish he press should stop courting this immoral buffalo. The least intelligent House Speaker this Country ever had.

    September 22, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. ExRepublican

    Piggy that why you will never be president just like Romney.
    Republican will also be voted out of the office.

    September 22, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Steve

    then call for a moon base followed by a new state on the moon.

    September 22, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Maryanne

    Uh, two losers giving advice...priceless!

    September 22, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Meki60

    Obama leading, ha ha, Obama could not lead a street dance.

    September 22, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Avi

    Ann, I hope you know well that you sound 'very smart' when you repeat Romney's accusations against Obama in relation to the Ambassador's killing. I guess you also know that Obama will have the last word/action with regards to the killing, when the killers are brought to swift and a well deserved justice. Ask Bin Laden if you doubt my words.

    September 22, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Avi

    Ann, I hope you know well that you sound 'very smart' when you repeat Romney's accusations against Obama in relation to the Ambassador's killing. I guess you also know that Obama will have the last word/action with regards to the killing, when the killers are brought to swift and a well deserved justice

    September 22, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Pete/Ark

    The long years of Newts highly successful Presidency make him a voice to listen to...I my have just gagged on my own sarcasm....

    September 22, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. JOE B

    Gingrich is an easy foe to battle. He's got more skeletons in his closet than just about anyone. The frequent adulterer
    ironically supported by some very naive Christians is easy pickins. President Obama is a very good debater and is a more eloquent speaker than Mr. "unsure of what he stands for" Romney. The only candidate that would mounted a huge challenge to Obama was Ron Paul but the big bankers were going to have Paul as the Republican candidate for the fact he would have broken them up, shut down the federal reserve and ending all corruption in the banking industry. The bankers gave media outlets and the Romney campaign millions of dollars to ensure that Romney would be the eventual primary victor. All of it was corrupt but typical of how the banks operate. People need to wake up and realize they are being manipulated by worse scoundrels one could imagine.

    September 22, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |

    Newt Gingrich, "yes, Mitt is a liar". Jan 3rd 2012.
    And this coming from a man who cheated on every wife he's had.

    September 22, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. The Elephant in the Room

    Newt has himself and some racist, rightwing fanatics fooled that he is the only Republican with the intellectual bandwidth to debate the President. He actually thinks he is Obama`s equal. He thought that about Bill Clinton too until Bill embarassed him and made him take the back stairway off of AF1.

    Newt, you are just not all that and there isn`t anything you can do to help Romney

    September 22, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. lou

    My advise to the legalization and commercialization of the hemp plant. It would keep him opposed to the president while making him more progressive on the issue then Obama. It would bite into Obama's numbers instead of whats going on now.

    September 22, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. hobbit

    To late, Ohio starts voting Oct2 at 8am. By the time they hold the debates many in Ohio will have voted. So something needs to change now and not wait for the debate. Poor planning on timing the debates.

    September 22, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. incredulous

    Gee, it wasnt too long ago when Newt called Mitt a liar on national television, now he's giving him advice on it on how to win the presidency? Oh dear. The GOP has lost all credibility (since Nixon).

    September 22, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Barbara Dayan

    Barack Obama is a cheerful socialist who hears that 100 million Americans are on welfare and says, “Cool! The more people living on the dole mean more Democrats who will vote for me!”

    Obama is studying Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto to prepare for the debates with Mitt Romney because it explains why the redistribution of everyone’s paycheck is the way to prosperity, particularly for those folks who don’t feel like working!

    September 22, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. sumedha

    gingrich knows the problem Romney is not tough to obama.
    be tough on obama. everything going to be ok

    September 22, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. felix el gato

    Get tough, go rogue, stand up, sit down, say this, do what you're told.

    September 22, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. w5cdt

    Newt you are easy. You talk too much. "Pontificating Professor"

    September 22, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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