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. Outdoor Girl

    I hope that Mitt takes Newt's advice. Doing so will take him outside his comfort zone and he just might say what he really thinks of the American people. Romney is a very careful guy and he doesn't like anyone looking over his shoulder. His views are a moving target since all he really wants is to be president at any cost. Standing out there on an open stage opposing someone with principles ought to be really difficult for him and he'll show himself as the shallow unpatriotic out-of-touch billionaire he is. I'm not listening to any of the PAC ads at all, I'm waiting for the debates and the debates only. With all the money brought into the campaigns the ads have been made irrelevent. The debates are the only thing that could possibly affect the American voter's opinion. Step out there using Newt's advice, Mitt... I'm waiting.

    September 22, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. MikeyZ

    "Do to Obama what you did to me."

    Translation: "Keep quiet and wait for the other guy to open his mouth first."

    September 22, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. jorge washinsen

    We deserve Obama another 4 years.

    September 22, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. penny wright

    Romney can't do what he did to Gingrich..

    He can't outspend Obama 20-1 like he did Gingrich.

    September 22, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. EKIA

    We are faced with a choice between a Romney Recovery or an Obamanation. I am far less concerned with what Romney did with his own money, than what Obama is doing with mine. We are $15 trillion in debt with 8.3% and rising unemployment. Obama is a failure. Time for a new direction.

    September 22, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. ronald raygun

    what did mitt do to newt? i was watching reruns of seinfeld during the republican debates

    September 22, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. jorge washinsen

    What is going to happen when de checks quit comiing?

    September 22, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. mb

    Newt, you and Romney ate just alike, a couple of clowns. I can't wait for this election to be over. Obama's already won, and his margins growing by the day. And once its over, I hope you and Romney go away and shut your mouths so we don't have to hear from you 2 again. Everyone knows Bush and the GOP created this mess and Obama's trying to fix this huge mess. And it will take years to fix it, like it took the GOP years to destroy the economey.

    September 22, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Hotdog

    The American people also have the smarts and savvy too. That's why he did not win the GOP nomination. He had so much confidence in his self and thought he was so much smarter than any one else that he did not realize that political days were over long ago. He might have a political future on the moon but her on earth he's finished.

    September 22, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. realitychecku

    Yes this election has gotten bad and I sensed it when Obama was elected. The Republican party of which I left to become an independent party member of has turned into a bunch of hating, racist, money grubbing liars with no value. America is changing. ONE or two hispanics or blacks won't do it. Now we, I'm sorry; they are putting up a rich, lying, no real values having Romney, "with social path tendencies discounting 47% of the american people and that bought the republican nomination. It saddens me. I will be voting for a democrat once again.

    September 22, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. lynn

    what does newt know about winning . he lost to the guy who lost to the guy who lost to obama .

    September 22, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. jorge washinsen

    Do you think we need more poor people who pay no taxes or more rich people who do?

    September 22, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Joey Boots

    Newt baby, you were an easy big fat juicy target filled with foibles when Rmoney cut you up in the debates. Next to you Obama is the invisible man. Do us all a favor and run up another big tab at Tiffany's for your trophy wife.

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

    Going rough will only emphasize the desperation .. too late, and anyway watch out, because Obama can be tougher, ask Bin Laden & Friends

    September 22, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. realitychecku

    like you did me? etu Brutus... ONCE a republican.. but no more. This whole thing has gotten too bad. It saddens me to say. I will be voting for a democrat once again. Hopefully the republican party will change for the betterment of the world as a whole.. values, gone, trust, gone, hatred, racism, class warfare.. 47% of the people.. for get about them.... sorry Milt.. I can't do it.... saddens me, it just does..

    September 22, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Squigman

    Gingrich: Websters unabridged addition. A large mass of hot air, surrounded by an even larger mass of blubber.

    September 22, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. jennifer holland

    Romney doesn't have a chance – he is his own worst enemy and most people see him as not caring about anyone other than the very rich and that will never win over the majority of American voters.

    September 22, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. NameJoe

    There is no diff between Obama n Romney. Funded by the same powerful corporations and elite. Wake up America. We need a game changer.

    September 22, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. sparky

    That doesn't make any sense. People generally like Obama. Nobody likes Gingrich.

    You could win a debate by punching him unconscious on stage. Everyone would cheer. Even more so considering that the man has zero integrity.

    Tactics that work on him won't work on people with a sliver of likeability or dignity.

    September 22, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Jack

    Joe "short bus" Biden

    September 22, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

    And washed up, looney Republican v.p. candidate of 2008, Sarah Palin adivise Romney to "Go Rogue," like she did and quit in the middle of her term as Alaska's politician in chief. Yeah, Sarah, go rogue, and position yourself so that a meat processing plant is decapitating turkeys with a machine in you background while you are all smiles. Sure go rogue, and end up like pathetic Palin.

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

    Gingrinch is NO Obama!!! Obama is a very smart, wise and articulate Democrat. Romney has nothing to offer Americans. I am grateful for President Obama for helping me keep my home! He's got my vote!!!

    September 22, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. jas

    "Gingrich to Romney: Do to Obama what you did to me" ...Gingrich you done to yourself what you have done to your ex-wives and what fortunately you did not get a chance to do to the American people.

    September 22, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    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 theNetanyahu. 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 explan

    September 22, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Pelegrim

    These losers are scrambling. Give it up.

    September 22, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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