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. Chumlee

    Go away old man. Crawl in a hole and stay there. You are obscene and irrelevant

    September 27, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. It is clear to me

    It should be pretty clear. Obama Democrats bigger government eventually Greece but seems like easier choice.Take care of me Uncle Sam. Make me safe.
    Romney Repub / probably not much change. Pro business. maybe less government but no diff repubs dems last 40 years.
    Tea Party Freedom to succeed or fail for all. Less help from government but less control of you life by gov't think fees and seat belts, and gas taxes less policing the world.
    We were great and if we get back to the basics and focus on the important things which is us the people and not big gov't we can grow and prosper for ever.

    September 27, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It's not the messaging, it's the message
    ...And the messenger.


    September 27, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  4. Locker

    You can tell Obama is a success when the only thing Newt can find to prove Obama hates the middle class is his lack of control over gas prices. Thanks for the vote of confidence Mr Gingrich.

    September 27, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  5. drkent3

    Well, first of all, if Newt is so good at 'messaging', why did he lose to Romney? Second, I actually have more respect for a man who can admit the positive qualities of his challenger than someone like Newt who can only denigrate others. This is not a good quality for a leader. It is obvious that the Republicans did choose the better man to run – now the question is whether people consider him to be better than Obama. Let the people decide – not the propagandists!

    September 27, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  6. The Other Dale


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

    Ah, the old "I'm rubber, you're glue" Republican response. Yeah, that hasn't worked for a couple of years now because Liberals finally got tired of letting the insults slide. Thanks for playing though.

    September 27, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. JimAR

    Newt's 100% right: If Obama cared about the middle class, why didn't it rain this summer?

    September 27, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  8. Grahame Rhodes

    Oh Good they're fighting even more amongst them selves

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

    Why shoud Americans listen to Gingrich and Romney about gas prices? After all, if it was up to Romney, alot of us Americans would be riding bicycles to workd instead of automobiles because he's the one who campaigned to dismantle our auto industry. And by the way, that is the same auto industry that built tanks and ships and artillery and helped us win WWII, solidifying our democracy and our industrial dominance.

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

    Mitt is losing because Mitt has aligned himself with and ideology that has no place in America. Extreme conservatives have hijacked the republican party. The GOP can't seem to understand that most Americans don't favor extremism. Most Americans want to be somewhat conservative with finances and a little more liberal socially. Most people are not worried about who marries who and who has an abortion. The average American just wants to go to work, pay their taxes and hopefully get a nice little peice of the American dream without being screwed along the way. That's it.

    September 27, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. Gerg

    The porblem with Romney's message is that it is disingenuous. That is, it is rooted at winning at all costs, but not winning becuause of a different and meaningful message. The GOP wants to push a conservtive platfom, but cannot say so directyl, or risk alienating even more people. The GOP's bigges issue, biggest political footbal, is on women's healthcare, cotraception and abortion. The RNC paltform included a message of NO ABORTIONS for any REASON; THey have attacked Planned Parenthood and want o shut it down. For example, in Virginia, McDonnel and Cuchinelli are making it harder for Planned Parenthood to keep their doors open. ANy coincidence that even in Virginia, Romney is lagging in the polls? It is this undercurrent of a long standing push to outlaw abortion and limit a woman's choices that is eroding their suport.

    September 27, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. Purnell Meagre

    Once again the RIght WIng mistakes images for reality; the problem is not that the messsage isn't dresssed up right. THe messsage is "I'm going to cancel your health care, lose the minimum wage and eliminate unions. How could you dress that mess up to make it presentable?

    September 27, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  13. Larry in Houston

    well, In my opinion, I think since this may end up being a "squeaker" by romney. Just hope the supreme court doesn't rule ! The "F" word news channel may have several openings, if Obama wins re-election, because , between dick morris , carl rove , hannity , o'reilly,& Rush, (those guys may end up w/ heart attacks) they are ALL saying that romney will win big, and All the Polls are Wrong, and are "skewed" except Their Poll, ( which is the Rasmussen Poll)
    At least for the first time in history, the election won't be "bought off" – with people like sheldon A. ) and the People will have their voice heard.
    Vote Democrat – 2012

    September 27, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  14. Fr33d0mhawk

    In the spirit of "small govt" Gingrich proposes that the POTUS should alone set gasoline prices. Forget the world market, oil futures, foreign nations and corporations that bring gasoline to the market, Gingrich thinks US BIG GOVT should manage the world's oil supplies. I wonder what BP, Shell, Exxon, and oil producing nations outside the US think about Gingrich's singularly conservative ideals of a US POTUS run oil caliphate. But not to worry folks, US Conservative not only want to rule every oil well in the world, they also demand to manage every orifice of every US citizen, to start, then on to manage every orifice of every human on earth, and if they pull that off, the next step is mind control, told who and how to worship, told who and how to love, told what positions are legal, what we are allowed to learn and study. With small govt like that, who needs a dictatorship?

    September 27, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Jack from Illinois

    Hey Newt?

    Did you ever consider that maybe it's not the GOP "messaging" that's failing, but the actual message?

    Ever consider the idea that maybe they reason you guys can't sell your tripe is because PEOPLE JUST WON'T BUY IT?

    September 27, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  16. Mark L. Sullivan

    Newt is exactly right. He is trying to wake them up and help them win. I have a great idea that might MAKE THE DIFFERENCE in winning the debates and thus the election. I will not write it in this format but I will communicate it to either Newt, Paul Ryan, or Mitt Romney directly and privately. There is still time. I hope to hear from them.

    September 27, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. ritmocojo

    Yes Newt Grinch, because you ran a super-dooper campaign that won you only one primary.

    September 27, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The media has painted a certain picture of Romney as a " rich guy" who is "out of touch"!

    What dribble you write. Mitt Romney portrayed himself as a "rich guy" who is "out of touch". The media has bending over backwards to prove otherwise. Unfortunately for Mitt Romney and the media, Mitt's own words keep coming back to haunt him. Perhaps his mom jeans and oxford shirts fooled you, but his actual words stick better with me.

    CNNs ticker also disproves the media painting Obama as the "savior of mankind". If one where to count the articles favoring Mitt Romney over Barack Obama just on the ticker alone, one would actually see that Mitt is the favorite CNN candidate. Has been since before the primaries. The more Obama supporters push back, the deeper CNN digs in to give Mitt Romney his (in his mind) deserved "kingdom come" talking points.

    September 27, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  19. Puddin

    Jon Huntsman was the more civil and level-headed of the whole bunch of Repubs running for the nomination. Romney's only real interest, it seems, is looking out for the rich, and the rest can eat dirt, as expressed in the secret video. Also, he stashes his money off shore when he should be helping his own country by paying taxes here. When wealthy people do this, it drags our country down and they wonder why? What can the very wealthy possibly spend all that money on in their lifetimes; no one needs so much money as to avoid paying taxes that keep this country running smoothly. I don't want someone like Romney to be my president.

    September 27, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  20. Rosslaw

    A political witch doctor assessing the incompetence of a political Ken doll. Dumb commenting on dumber. The republican party is experiencing a Darwinian moment akin to that of the dodo bird. Good riddance.

    September 27, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. LesPaul23

    What's more amazing is that some people are actually for Mitt.

    September 27, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. Gerg

    News flash! Romney IS a rich guy (tha's OK), and he is out-of-touch! (that's not OK). 47%; flip-flop on abortion issue; revert to trickle down economics... on and on...nothing new to add to the mix...

    September 27, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. Fact

    Listen to the orator, he'll tell you what you want to hear; just like last time around. Please, keep in mind that although he did not do much of what he said he would do – even in his first 2 years when democrats controlled congress- he did take us much further "forward" toward third world nation status, collectivism, and danger of more terrorism.

    September 27, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  24. HEHE

    You can be against Obama all you want but anyone who votes Romney is completely delusional.

    September 27, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. Chilcat

    I can't wait to see the republican party canablalize it's self after it looses this election. We're already starting to see it. The just won't accept that the are way to far to the right for the electorate. The message is clear enough Mitt, hence the problem. Anybody remember The Know-Nothing Party (this is not a joke.) No, and niether does anyones else. That's what they will be saying about The Republican Party in 100 years. Um, NOTHING! LOL

    September 27, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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