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. Anonymous

    What we need is for you to GO AWAY NEWT........somehow President Newt doesn't or any public office does not roll of the tongue like you think......

    September 22, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. John greeley

    Why would this man listen to a loser??

    September 22, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. IDontBelieveIt

    SAomething Wrong Here – ALL the polls run by CNN and the Obama-biased Media are showi ng Obama has a lead - Why? Because they're OVERPOLLING Democrats! The "lead" is a myth to sway voters.

    And BTW I'm NOT a Republican -- I'm NOT American - but I can see what's happening. Are ALL Americans as thick as planks?
    I mean Obama broke 301 election promises – Silence from the Media; he has lied consistently – silence from the Media; the economy is headed for the biggest crash since the 1930s 0 silence from the Media.

    Romney says what everyone KNOWS is the truth about the 47%ers. The 'secret film' was taken last MAY and- all hell breaks out in the Media?????????? Strewth – you really are THE most stupid people on the Planet!

    September 22, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. News Commentator

    The Gingrich repsonse is the typical republican response to everything: ATTACK.

    Never work together and compromise. Always ATTACK.

    The republicans will not only lose their chance at winning the presidency, but also lose control in Congress.

    September 22, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Mordac

    Romney is already a very unlikeable character; his most recent faux pas only reinforces the fact. Going 'Newt' would only reinforce that opinion. And taking advise from the likes of Newt Gingrich, whose own ambitions have been constantly thwarted by his intemperate remarks is hardly a winning strategy.

    September 22, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. penny wright

    "Bain Capital was nothing more than a bunch of rich guys who figured out clever ways to drain companies dry and walk away leaving the employees with nothing." – Newt Gingrich 2012

    September 22, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Kris

    I can only repeat what has been said. Newt, you did not lose because Romney was aggressive. You lost because everyone saw through you, and in response you stooped to an even lower level. I don't think anyone will ever forget Moonbase Newt.

    September 22, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. Steve

    Newt does not seem to grasp that Mitt cannot do to Obama what he did to Newt because Obama is actually a good President and good person compared to Newt. Newt has an ego and rather large. Not much of a take down.

    September 22, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Susan - Laguna Hills

    Now clearly the whole world knows what Romney's vision about America – no one ounce of nobility to be a national leader and lacking of wisdom.

    So, anyone who continues to support Romney is lacking of conscious for the best interest of America. Romney is a good family man, church people but he is not patriotic. The best he can do is to be community organizer and learn how to be humble and be a good servant to people if he wishes to lead.

    Chris Christie is play no show lately which is good indication of this man has sense of nobility, leadership and conscious. Newt and Romney are political hawks....they are what the laughing stalk of American politicians – stupid and rotten.

    Susan – Laguna Hills

    September 22, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. bcrunner

    Can't believe anyone would take advice from Newt!! And, I don't imagine Romney will either. It would not help anyway.. I can see Mitt twisting himself into a pretzel trying to make a point and President Obama calmly and cooly ripping his points to pieces...

    September 22, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Jim

    Romney will show exactly how stupid he really is these debates-enjoy!

    September 22, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. penny wright

    Newt needs to take "personal responsiblity" for his defeat and stop playing the "victim."

    September 22, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. William

    This is an important we go full sociallism with the marxist president, or do we get back to sensible financial policies? Social issues, such as obama's flip-flop on gay marriage, should have no place in the debates. The debates should be all about the economic health of the country, which affects all of us. Jobs, national debt, taxes, foreclosures, illegal immigration...these are the topics we should be discussing.,

    September 22, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Tom

    Along with a number of others including Giuliani, Cain, Perry, Trump, and McCain, Newt doesn't seem to realize that he is completely irrelevant at this point. The Democrats have their own share of liabilities in Biden, Geithner, and Holder, but the GOP is loaded with egos who won't go away.

    September 22, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. LakeRat1

    It gets better all the time! Newt keeps trying to act like he is a viable political force. Mitt, coming from a position of high management, is used to people believing his BS (or, at least saying they do).
    Welcome to the real world, guys! you're going DOWN!
    You can fool SOME of the people SOME of the time ....

    September 22, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. miketofdal

    Poor Newt. He can't stand that people are not thinking about HIM.

    September 22, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. noobermin

    So, he wants obama to win over romney like how romney won gingrich...interesting.

    September 22, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. antman

    Given the choice between someone I know will fail us (Obama) and someone who maybe will fail us – though has a stellar business record (Romney), I would have to go with the latter. Newt is right. Romney just needs to take the gloves off and Obama would stand much less of a chance of continuing his failure for another 4 year. God forbid we need to add more digits to the national debt clock if Obama has more time to pile up the credit card spending.

    Back to the Newt ... so he is a philanderer? What about the Donkey party's biggest hero who gets "relief" in the oval office of all places with an intern, while being president no less...what a bunch of hypocrites.

    September 22, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. kathyjoe1


    Never mind that Gingrich cheated on 2 wives.......This man is so smart he's stupid.

    September 22, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. buffalo

    Sorry, Newt! ("Newt"?, "Mitt"? Arrested development anyone?) Mittens is about to step onto another field, entirely. The president of a high-school debating team could make short work of you.

    September 22, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. getalife

    The newt is a failure like cnn. cnn took a dive for the gop to help them destroy our country. cnn needs new people that refuse to take a dive for the gop.

    September 22, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. michael

    Newt, go back under your rock with Carl Rove. Make something useful like fungus together. I'm so sick of the GOP's divisive and hateful rethoric. It's like a bad pimple.

    September 22, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. William

    Romney dont listen to him, he's trying to make you come off as a hateful evil Republican, that no one will vote for LOL.

    September 22, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. steven harnack

    Well guess what Newt, President Obama isn't the morally repugnant, pseudo intellectual with 40 years of baggage that you are, and won't be nearly as easy.

    September 22, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. jean2009

    Oh Newt! and the President bear no resemblance to each other. Besides Mitt didnt' need to do anything... you were not going anywhere near being the candidate from the day you announced. You had more baggage than Louis Vuitton.

    September 22, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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