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. Paul

    Ugh. It's a lot more than "messaging" that has doomed your party, Newt. For starters, you rightly called your nominee a flat out liar – and "if he lies to get the nomination, what will he do if he wins the presidency?"

    All of you need to slink back to the holes you came from. History has left you behind.

    September 27, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  2. Brenda

    Yes men and drones... that's what liberals like. No challenge.

    September 27, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  3. TomVIO

    How can one of the top people in washington like Gingrich talk about gas prices having something to do with the president's policies??? Doesn't he know that gas prices are based on worldwide supply and conflicts??? The current gas price hike is due to the uprising conflicts in the middle east that is currently going on.

    September 27, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |

    The problem is Newt, Willard is trying to Etch-A Sketch himself to make himself sound like he cares about the middle class and the poor when we clearly know that is not the case. In one of his latest ads, he states that he and the President care about the middle class. Wrong! The President cares about the middle class, Willard just cares about the 1%.

    September 27, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  5. Tex71

    Yes, that is indeed the problem: the (ugh) federal government has a hand in whatever good the Republican governors have delivered to their constituents, thus making it impossible for them to cite their own successes without acknowledging the President's successes, which is anathema.
    Talk about hoist by your own petard.

    September 27, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. Foreverwar

    Newt is a walking pile of failed GOP promises, (pile of something else as well). Decades of supporting policies that have been bad for our country somehow makes this useless relic a person of valuable opinion?

    September 27, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  7. SirBo

    What Gingrich is advocating at this point in the ball game is desperate measures like the infamous "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy used by NBA teams against Shaquille O'neal when trailing in the fourth quarter as Romney is with just about a month left in the campaign. This tends to backfire as you recently saw when Romney tried to jump on a non-existing political opportunity with the situation in Libya. Right now Romney is pouncing every time Obama opens his mouth, and at times it just sounds absurd, not to repeat desperate. Romney must tread carefully because voters can smell desperation a mile away.

    September 27, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. Debby

    Gingrich is a wind bag and still a sour grape because he lost so now he will try to derail Romney before the election. What a skank he is.

    September 27, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. Ames IA

    Have any of the GOP big mouths shouting in the echo chamber thought to consider that their message doesn't resonate because it is tone deaf and out of tune to most ears? For 30 years they have been packaging bad policy in carefully crafted catch phrases and buzz words. Perhaps America has had enough of the GOP brand's poor quality and expects more than test marketed doublespeak.

    September 27, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  10. Name Independent Thinker

    Hell hath no fury, like a newt scorned......

    September 27, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  11. Ames IA

    When your car is running dead last in the Daytona 500 the problem isn't your messaging. You can put whatever sticker you choose on the hood – if the car is slow and the driver doesn't know how to drive you'll never win.

    September 27, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  12. chrisdg74

    "Not embracing the records of Republican governors like John Kasich in Ohio and Rick Scott in Florida is also a mistake, Gingrich said"
    How CAN he embrace their records. Both governors are VERY unpopular in their states. I live in one of those states, I know.

    September 27, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  13. Addie

    And just WHAT do the poor use in THEIR cars?? Wow how out of touch can these people BE????

    September 27, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  14. WV Gleeman

    Why did gas go to an all time high? Really Newt!? You are one of the slimiest politicians there are and I expect more from you than gas prices as a political point. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

    September 27, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. true blue

    Mitts in trouble because Mitts a follower he's not a leader it's something your born with. buying something in trouble and making a profit is not a leader, that's call a vulture, bloodsucker, two face prick.

    September 27, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  16. Vote for Seamus, elect Kolob's next dog catcher

    This could be the signal for a write in campaign.

    Newt still has a chance to become POTUS, and maintain his dignity as a relevant sociopath.

    He is so smart.

    September 27, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  17. macbil

    Nice party loyalty for you Newt. Jeez! I'm sure all the candidates who ran against Romney in the primaries hate him and secretly love the fact that he's losing.

    September 27, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  18. Jocho Johnson

    Newt is right, he was the best GOP candidate, the only one with a brain that ever seemed to have a chance, I could have voted for Newt, but Romney is a disaster

    September 27, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  19. Larry in Houston

    people who think or constantly talk about the gas prices, or food price going up, is in some type of dreamland. It doesn't matter who's in office, or who's going to be in office come november 6th, or in January ( whichever date you may want to think of) the fact of the matter is gas prices & prices of food are always going to go up. So, when I hear or read where people that talks about that, I turn off my ear to it.
    It doesn't make any sense why ohio has elected a GOP governor, (not to mention John Boehner ) and the polls are saying that they are going Democrat for Prez. Maybe the newter needs to replace romney for the debates, since he can debate better ?
    Vote Democrat – 2012 ( for anyone making 50K or less )

    September 27, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  20. john smith

    Romney is a geek....nothing will change that in the short run.......any guy who racks his dog on the roof of the car for a family vacation (drove from Mass. to Canada) is bricks short of a full load, how about the way he waves his hand-by folding it in half and pulling the string up and down, and he doesn't want to talk about his religion or his health care law in Massachusetts....the guy is so tight he squeaks when he walks ( he been accused of being cheap too). I think Newt is knowingly leaving out some observation details about the leader of his republican party.The GOP should ask Romney to step aside and push for a "write in candidate" instead of dragging the GOP to a defeat in Nov. ; they asked rep. Akin to drop out after he revealed his ignorance about half the population......why should Romney be any different about his ignorance of another half of the popuation. ...this may be fuzzy math, but I like the numbers of this whole election.

    September 27, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  21. Sharon

    It is hard to get your message out when most of the media decides what is reported-how it is reported-and for how long it is reported. The media has painted a certain picture of Romney as a " rich guy" who is "out of touch"! AND they have painted Obama as the "savior of mankind". Look at the facts-the economy is HORRIBLE-the middle-east is burning!! Stupidity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results! Is the American electorate stupid???

    September 27, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  22. jb1963

    Let see now. Newt is giving advice on a campaign that he lost. The only reason Twitt Romney is the nominee is that rest of the field made bigger gaffs early on. The entire field on the right was weak to begin with.

    September 27, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  23. Rein

    The Romnney Campaign has operated flawlessly and is exactly where it wants to be. Of coursed Mitt is no debater, so expectations should be low next month. Once the American people get to know what a warm, natural, brilliant but still ordinary person Mitt is, things will turn around and we'll see a GOP landslide that is epic in proportion. This is the best candidate the party has ever fielded, who has completely innovative ideas to fix everything that is wrong with America (don't expect specifics quite yet though). There's still plenty of time, so we should ignore critics, polls, statistics and editiorials.

    September 27, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  24. Ellen

    Shouldn't have alienated Ron Paul and his supporters, huh guys? How much are you losing by? Oh, that's right, around the same percentage that Paul was getting. Too bad you lost most of them thanks to your unnecessary and horrific treatment during the primaries and the convention.

    September 27, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  25. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's face it Newt, when President Obama rescued the auto industry, he helped save tens of thousands of middle class jobs while his opponent Mitt Romney said saving the auto industry wasn't the wise thing to do. I believe the American people already know which candidate is for the middle class and which candidate is not for the middle class.

    Obama/Biden 2012 by a LANDSLIDE!

    September 27, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
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