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. wgf

    Actually the Romney campaign has been exceptionally good at explaining itself. Its problem is that the electorate doesn't like the explanation.

    September 27, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  2. teaker

    Kasich also decimated public education in Ohio for tax breaks. It's the FRACKING industry which came into Ohio which produced jobs. This would have happend under any Gov.

    September 27, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  3. WhatNow

    I don't think we will all be falling for the "gas price" approach. Most people realize the gas prices aren't controlled by a President, just ask Bush. No, the problem is that there is no real message from Mr. Romney. Who is the real Mitt Romney?

    September 27, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  4. cashmeremafia

    If he's so smart, how come HE'S not the nominee??

    September 27, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. dave

    If you look up the word Loyalty in the dictionary, there is a picture of Newt. Underneath the picture is the caption: "Anyone but this guy"

    September 27, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  6. true blue

    Gas prices is control by OPEC only no one person. Plus add in a little wall street

    September 27, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. Maryellen

    Newt, Romney is behind and going to lose because I did get the message. He is not Presidential material, sorry I can't think of one GOP candidate that was except maybe Huntsman. As for you, it's hard to present yourself as a man of family values when it's contrary to your entire life.

    September 27, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  8. zivo24

    Newt is right...but who is he to talk.

    Romney is losing the battle to define himself to undecided voters as he wants them to see him...because his past, his gaffes and the people he's aligned himself with in this campaign do it for him. And that growing sect of voters who care more about a candidate's qualifications and/or plans are han they do about what an (R) or (D) is behind their name can see that Romney is willing to say whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear to get what he wants. And that makes him untrustable...because he'll be serving those people and not our country.

    Gingrich on the other hand...had no problems defining who he was to voters. He is very intelligent man...with an enormous ego, an abundance of self-serving hypocrisy and no conscience or ethics. People like that only appeal to people who care more about winning than anything else.

    September 27, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  9. true blue

    People in the U.S.A my fellow citizens stop taking advise from people who's part of the problem open your minds, the answer is always right in-front of you
    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 27, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. Katie

    Newt please go away! Plueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze. I can't stand your face or your views! Go away!

    September 27, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  11. Bill

    "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?"

    Clearly has no idea about what a President can or can't do. No world leader in democratic societies with free market economies can regulate fuel, let alone force a specific price.

    September 27, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  12. mete krop

    Gingrich, you have no moral groud to criticize Mitt. You lost to him this election big time. All your comments are full of envay and garbage and considerd damn.

    September 27, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  13. NameSam

    Wow. So am i to understand now that the poor dont buy gas?? Unbelievable how it seems everybody who isnt poor finds it so easy to disregard them.

    Newsflash=the poor buy gas too!

    The only difference is that yhe prices instead of bothersome are downright crippling.

    September 27, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  14. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Gas is at it's second highest rate in 10 years. Petrogiants are recording record profits. The Republicans in Congress refuse to eliminate their tax breaks for "exploration and development". And those same oil companies pay among the lowest corporate tax rates. On top of that, here is how oil gets from the well to the pump. Exxon-Mobil extracts the oil from its well. It then "sells" the crude to an Exxon-Mobil subsidiary that transports it to a refinery. Then the Exxon-Mobil subsidiary that transported the crude sells it to another Exxon-Mobil subsidiary that that refines it. Then they sell it to another Exxon-Mobil subsidiary that transports it and sells it to another Exxon-Mobil subsidiary that distributes (i.e. sells) it to Exxon-Mobil owned gas stations. So, let's see. After they extract the stuff, Exxon-Mobil sells it back to itself at least five times before it gets to you. And I bet that each subsidiary (all wholly-owned by Exxon-Mobil) makes a profit off it before passing it on to the next level. Wasn't this the whole reason behind the "Sherman Anit-Trust Act"? From when Standard Oil (the precursor to Exxon-Mobil) controlled every aspect of Petroleum production and distribution, to the point where they locked out any competitors in their chain? Oh, yeah. That was during the administration of one of the two the Republican Presidents that the rest of the party doesn't like to acknowledge – in this case Teddy Roosevelt.

    September 27, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  15. Anonymous

    A question, CNN. Why Newt Gingrich? The interview I mean. Has something happened that he is still running for office?

    September 27, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  16. once upon a horse

    could it be possible that it's not just Mitt but the party itself that people are starting to reject? Even in the low polling Congress the GOP polls lower than the Democrats and the Tea Party Republicans are liked even LESS.

    September 27, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  17. NameSam

    Im confused, newt. Do the poor no longer buy gas?? And just what do their cars run kn , pray tell???

    September 27, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. just_a_moderate

    Does anyone besides Newt ever talk about what a great debater Newt is?

    He started that whole myth...much like his debates, not much fact in it..please Newt, tell me more positions from Jefferson that Jefferson never held.

    September 27, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  19. true blue

    OPEC, the same people that disrupting peace in the middle east. Its all about MONEY folks nothing new. OPEC, OPEC if you don't believe me look it up, this is why education is important. something they are trying to disenfranchise all of us from receiving.

    September 27, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  20. i love romney

    The Gas Was 5 dollars a gallon when bush was in office almost 6

    September 27, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  21. johnquepublique

    Could the polls be scewed in favor of the Democratic candidate, by the lib-errorist media, that think by presenting dismal numbers for the opponent will keep the Republicans from coming out to vote? Most all of the major polls that noted a break down of Republican and Democrats, that a majority of those polled were liberals. Just askin'...

    September 27, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  22. Rob

    Gingrich is a joke. Particularly the line about Obama setting the price of gas .... really? The President of the United States sets the price for gas? That's new news to me... and makes me question why Bush raised the price of gas to $5 a gallon when he was President. What a moron. Romney is a terrible candidate. He is running a terrible campaign – but he was still the best the GOP had to offer.

    September 27, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  23. Mark H.

    The reason Ohio has come back is not Kasich, it's in fact not letting the U.S. auto industry "go bankrupt" as Mr. Romney proposed. Ohio has kept a lot of auto jobs that would have been lost under Romney's proposal. It's the Bain Capital Method. It's letting the auto industry go bankrupt, scooping up the remains for pennies and hiring a lot of underpaid underskilled workers for tremendous profit. Obama just doesn't "get it" cause he's not a "real American."

    September 27, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  24. Alger Dave

    With such a poor record to stand on, Obama is now the candidate of failure. All the statistics prove this out, meaning this is really Romney's election to lose, and anything less would be damning for him. Obama recently reminded me of our past governor here in Michigan – Granholm. In the 8 years she was in office she talked the best of games, and our state steadily declined. Obama's term has seen increases in poverty, wage deflation, massive housing deflation (and therefore massive wealth loss). There are very few Americans who can honestly say they are wealthier today than when Obama came into office – just look at what your house was worth in 2008 vs. today. Think about that at the polls.

    September 27, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  25. sam stone


    "What a shame OBAMAS tries to destroy our country and Newt is tryin to get cheapshots in!Instead of helpin defeat the loser OBAMA!"

    Does putting the president's name in caps make your drivel any more valid?

    Obama is president of the United States and has a law degree from Harvard.

    Please....inform us with your great wisdom of how Obama is a loser.

    September 27, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
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