September 26th, 2012
05:13 PM ET
9 years ago

Gingrich hits Romney in frank assessment

(CNN) – Mitt Romney's former rival Newt Gingrich issued a harsh assessment of the GOP nominee's campaign strategy Wednesday, saying Romney's presidential bid was struggling in key battlegrounds against President Barack Obama because of a messaging failure.

"The Romney campaign has yet to find a thematic way of explaining itself and laying out in a clear, crisp way the difference between Romney and Obama. And I think that frankly is a problem," Gingrich said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

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The former House speaker's remarks came after a question about why polls show Romney struggling in key electoral battlegrounds like Florida and Ohio. The latest CNN Poll of Polls in Florida shows Romney trailing Obama, 50%-45%, while in Ohio the president is up by seven, 51%-44%.

Gingrich also attributed the president's lead in some states to a massive spending push on the part of the Obama campaign, which he said allowed Democrats to define Romney at an early stage in the campaign.

Not embracing the records of Republican governors like John Kasich in Ohio and Rick Scott in Florida is also a mistake, Gingrich said, since those states have economies that appear to be rebounding. In publically hailing the two states' economies, however, Romney runs the risk of appearing to praise Obama for his own policies, like bailing out to auto industry, that have played a part in stemming job losses in each state.

The conundrum, Gingrich said, was not being met with the proper flexibility by Romney's campaign.

"The campaign doesn't seem to be able to pivot and say, you know, John Kasich's doing the right stuff here in Ohio and I want to take John Kasich's model to Washington because Kasich is for a smaller government, less regulation, more American energy, pro-jobs."

"They seem to have this overly methodical model where they go out and keep saying the same thing, and the world's too fluid," Gingrich said. "The world's too sophisticated for that."

"There's plenty of ammunition," he concluded, adding he thought "a campaign which made that case clearly enough would carry Ohio and Florida by big margins."

Gingrich, who at one point was Romney's top rival for the GOP presidential nomination, also took issue with the latest ad from Romney's campaign, in which the candidate looks directly into the camera to deliver an assessment of the economy.

In the ad, Romney acknowledges that "President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families," but goes on to suggest the president's policies have made it harder for Americans to find work and rely less on the federal government for assistance.

Gingrich said he was "frankly startled" by Romney's acknowledgment of Obama's compassion for the middle class.

"I don't know why he's saying that," he said. If President Obama cared about the middle class, why did the price of gasoline go to an all-time high?"

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (424 Responses)
  1. Mr. deShon

    What are you talking about, Newt? Romney's message IS getting across & Americans are rejecting it. We will never again believe the lies! Our 1st black president is going to be re-elected,our jobs are coming back, we aren't giving rich folks tax breaks, & come November, Romney will become yet another footnote in our history for running, perhaps the worst presidential campaign ever! Good luck Repubes!!!

    September 27, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  2. bess moore

    Newt is a joke. He always has been. He'd throw his own mother under the bus. Go Obama 2012! Go away Newt, Robmey, Lyin' Ryan etc etc etc. God bless America!

    September 27, 2012 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  3. ChiTownArt

    Lemme get this straight....a loser who lost to a future loser is trying to tell him how to run a campaign?

    September 27, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  4. The Other Dale

    Romney certainly isn't doing well, but who thinks Newt has any ideas to bring to the table that will help? When you're losing a game, you don't go to the previous loser and ask, "Say, you really suck at this, what can I do to make this even worse?"

    September 27, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  5. macbil

    I think all of Romney's rivals for the Republican nomination were hoping he failed. None of them like him personally and 4 more years of Obama means they can all get their shows on FOX News and trash whatever he does.

    September 27, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  6. Thomas

    Why do Republicans always say they are having trouble getting people understand their plans? Maybe people do understand and simply do not like those plans.

    September 27, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  7. pammy

    Why have gas prices gone up, Newt? I would have thought that you, of all people, would understand that, 10 years ago, speculators controlled 30% of oil futures, cashing in, making their bucks, and now they control 80%. The president has nothing to do with it and certainly you said nothing when, under Bush, it hit an all time high of $4.19, so please, educate yourself.

    September 27, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  8. Jon

    Even Newt would be doing better than this clown. Romney is such garbage.

    September 27, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  9. Wake up people!

    @Dominican the conundrum, thank you for relaying my sentiments exactly. My sister and I have been saying this same thing for quite some time now.

    OBAMA 2012!

    September 27, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  10. GreggEsq

    Sounds a lot like the sour grapes of a very sore loser. Newt, if you were running, you'd be in an even deeper hole than Mittens is in, so be thankful you lost during the primaries and therefore saved yourself that further embarassment.

    September 27, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  11. Whome

    Newt should keep his big fat mouth shut no one cares to hear what he has to say.

    September 27, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  12. Jack in Florida

    Romney is struggling as he has no personal convictions. He is trying to be the candidate that OTHER people want him to be. The stumbling is an example of what happens when you have no integrity, no personal passion for the vision YOU want this country to be. He has been forced into corners to respond to issues that he may not personally believe in, but "the party" wants him to reply according to their agenda. It is pathetic, what a loser he has become.

    September 27, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  13. Joshua Ludd

    Oh, I think they have done a fine job of highlighting the difference between Rmoney and Obama. Its just that the difference is Rmoney would be a terrible, terrible president for everyone but the wealthiest because he doesn't quite understand the non-wealthy, how they live, and what their working and economic conditions are.

    September 27, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  14. Shon

    So, what Newt is saying is Romney isn't spinning the facts hard enough.

    That's amazing.

    September 27, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  15. Guest

    Newt is not helping the GOP with comments he is giving.

    September 27, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  16. Reddog9500

    "If President Obama cared about the middle class, why did the price of gasoline go to an all-time high?"

    Oh, give it a break. The President doesn't set the price of gas. The greedy distributers do. So, if you're looking to blame somebody for high gas prices look no further than Exxon/Mobil and the others who continue to get tax breaks while they make record profits by price gouging.

    Newt should just keep his mouth shut. His own party rejected him for their candidate and that says a lot.

    September 27, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  17. Newt Complied

    I listened to this interview live and you knew what CNN was hoping for......and they got it.

    I actually didn't think Newt was that critical.....his comments were honest.

    But, when CNN and the other MSM is looking for some blood to fling on the walls, better not to comply.

    September 27, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  18. Moono,Ben

    You can fool some people sometimes,but you can never fool all the people all times! The problem with Mitt and the GOP is simple:their thinking defies truth & they tell hollow lies,they are detached from reality,and they think the American people are so myopic.The truth shall always prevail! Once they start seeing reality and learn to tell the truth,the polls will tilt.

    September 27, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  19. Dragonfire77

    While I've no love for newt, he's won a lot more campaigns than Romney. There might be something for Romney to pay attention to, there.

    September 27, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  20. DC Observer

    Gee, such a terrible campaign and yet he was still able to trounce you Newt - that speaks volumes about your candidacy.

    The only issue with Romney is that he is a gentleman and has character, where Obama is a snake in the grass – partisan politician like all the other guys and gals in DC on both sides. It is too bad that Americans vote for the liars, the flim flam people, and the pols like Obama that just demonize and lie to stay in power. If Americans put Obama in for a second term, they have only themselves to blame for the resulting fiasco for them -and worse, for their kids and grandchildren who will inherit the Obmaa-Reid-Pelosi mess

    September 27, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  21. gracster

    Sound advice from someone who couldn't get farther up the political food chain than wanna-be.

    September 27, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  22. Intruth24

    Yeah I hope Romney does listen to Nut... I mean Newt. Go ahead and give Obama another 5 to 10 point lead. The reason Ohio and Florida are doing so well is because Obama took action in the beginning of his term. Romney is doing so poorly because he looks like a nutcase like Gingrich

    September 27, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  23. TM

    Newt how can you, of all people, not understand? Willard Romney can not successfully define his message because he HASN'T got one. Willard has NO vision for the future of the country because he does not, and has NEVER cared about the country. Willard cares about Willard, first, last, and always.

    September 27, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    President Obama doesn't have compassion for the middle class and the poor? Really? First and foremost, the Affordable Care Act the President fought so hard to get passed wasn't passed to benefit the 1%. No, it was passed to benefit the middle class and the poor. Secondly, while the 2009 American Recovery Act or Stimulus Package was passed to stabilized and boost the economy, many of the provisions also included funding to retrain people and get them back into the workforce while other funding included unemployment benefits to help the millions of unemployed keep a roof over their love one's heads and food on the table while they search for work. The same is to be said of the 2010 Reinvestment and Job Creation Act. Furthermore, while the GOT have spent the last few years campaigning for the wealthy, President Obama has been an advocate and a champion for the middle class and the poor every step of the way, whether it was fighting for equal pay for equal work, putting forth a proposal to increase the minimum wage, women's rights, Gay and Lesbian rights, strenghtening Medicaid and Medicare for seniors and the disabled, or lowering interest rates on student loans. in contrast, Mitt Romney once said that he's not concerned about the poor because there's a safety net for them. On the recently aired video, he he showed how disinterested he is with the middle class and the poor when he said his job is not to worry about 47% of the American people. I believe Newt Gingrich is loosing his bearings.

    September 27, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  25. Hehe

    Newt is as irrelevant as Palin at this point I'd say. The only way Romney wins this election is if America is WAY lazier than even my cynical brain thinks. No way. Get real.

    September 27, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
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