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. Jason

    Romney's messages are failing because he forgot to discuss his messages on the economy which is really his key to winning this election. Instead he's focusing all of his efforts on attack ads, social issues, and international policy which really won't do a guy any good when the electorate are focused on the state of the economy.

    September 26, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  2. freddie nerk

    When Republicans turn on each other, then its all over folks!

    September 26, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  3. Bayley0402

    Well, Newt, if you had been the nominee, not that I would vote for you, at least the debates would be more evenly matched. Obama will walk all over Romney. A master debater, Obama, will show no mercy to Romney. It will actually be very sad to watch Mitt go down in flames.

    September 26, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  4. Grace

    Let's face it.. IF the news media all reported just how big a lead Obama had in this race, they would have people ignoring them for the next 6 weeks.. It is not to the media's advantage to project the potential winner before the election.. They need to keep selling those ridiculous political ads. On the other hand, I'm glad they don't because I don't want people to become complacent and think there's no reason to vote.. We don't want a new President.. we need a new Congress that will do the right thing for the good of the country instead of blindly following the dictates of those who have a personal agenda.

    September 26, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  5. Name chris nnadede

    Speaker Gingrich is a real demagogue!,

    September 26, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  6. JTtruth

    I started reading this our of curiosity. The second I read that Gingrich believed that Romney should embrace Gov Rick Scott, Gingrich lost credibility. Scott is the most unpopular governor in the history of florida. Staying away from him is helping Romney. Ask any Floridian

    September 26, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. Roy

    Newt's own presidential message was a total failure.

    September 26, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  8. billy davis

    This fat blowhard never shuts up. He's a non player yet only he seems to believe he is. Gingrich the multi philanderer still thinks his wordsmithing matters. He's a liar and always will be. Romney is down because Obama is the best choice for this country. Messaging or not. Oh wait, fat boy claimed last night the our POTUS is a false POTUS.

    September 26, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. atc333

    The reality of the GOP message is that they have created half as many jobs than the Democrats, and in three Administrations, almost 10 Trillion in Deficits, One massive economic meltdown, through their repeated reapplication of trickle down economics though tax cuts for job creators, and more deregulation to create "a more favorable business environment, and now Romney and Ryan want to do it all over again? They talk about Obama's s deficit creation most of which was spent keeping us out of a real GOP Depression, and resulted not from Obama's mad spending, but from reduced Federal Tax revenues. Romney's solution? More tax cuts for his nonperforming job creators, tax increases for the middle class to help pay for it, along with cuts in social programs and revamping medicare with a "voucher" system to make it easier to wind down over time, , and Social Security with increasing the retirement age. Despite all of those manipulations, and redistributions of wealth to the job creators,, the "Marvelous Romney/Ryan budget still creates an additional 5 to 6 Trillion in deficits, and still does not balance the Federal Budget until somewhere between 2025 and 2035.

    That is the GOP/Romney/Ryan message which now seems to be getting through to the Voters of America.

    That is the content of the Romney Ryan message.

    September 26, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  10. steven harnack

    Nice to see Newt admit that Republicans would rather go down in flames that admit that something President Obama did was working and making things better. They have tried so hard to make him responsible for eveything from the weather to refinery fires that to now admit that ANYthing is improved is to cut their own throats. THAT is Newt's "conundrum"!

    September 26, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  11. Bill in Florida

    The price of gas is irrespective of the President - any President; it's dependent on a limited supply and an ever-increasing demand (China added 10 million cars last year). Newt's smart enough to know this, but he has to play the dumb-down approach to appease the Tea Party nutjobs.

    September 26, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  12. Grampa

    When Republicans start attacking each other, that's the surest sign that it's over. The only remaining question is how bad will it be for Mitt and all the other Republican candidates.

    September 26, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  13. ola Mohammad

    Lets remember y Newt lost during the primary election. Just like Romney's stupid & ignorant remarks, Newt did the samething & lost.

    September 26, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  14. nvmature

    Gas has gone up on every President since Carter. How is that a sign a President doesn't care about the middle class? In that case, Bush/Cheney must have hated the middle class. Gingrich is such a loser.

    September 26, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  15. nvmature

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

    Newt says some of the most ridiculous things ever recorded.

    September 26, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  16. CTYank

    "Second amendment rights" for circular firing squad. How ironic!

    September 26, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. IndeePendant

    OK, now!!!! They have really started punching Romney hard now. Next will be Santorum, who has just endorsed Akin. (remember, Akin was asked by Romney to give up his nomination but Akin showed him his middle finger). Romney will be fighting his primaries all over again. At this level, imagine Romney's confidence going into debate cycle..

    September 26, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  18. Wes Scott

    Romney's message IS clearly getting across, and THAT is why he is trailing in most polls. In a few weeks he will trail (badly) in the only poll that matters – the one in which we say to Romney/Ryan "NONE AND DONE!" These two "roads scholars" are too dumb to realize just how badly they are going to get beaten. John McCail will feel a lot better about his own slaughter once Obama finishes off Mitt and Little Mitt.

    September 26, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  19. petena

    Delusional. However you spell it, that is how Romney is. Most of my Republican friends are voting for Obama and those who are not, are not voting at all. They say ITS OVER!

    September 26, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  20. Thinking Texan

    Emperor Newt, the former disgraced speaker of the US House of Representatives who quit to avoid indictments, SPEAKS!

    All Ye, All Ye, hear now this prophet's words of truth.

    September 26, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  21. Jack

    And yours did! Come on Mr. Gingrich; "the only time you open your mouth is to exchange feet!"

    September 26, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  22. Charles

    Gasoline went to an all-time high because of a little thing called speculation. Oil demand is less than it was five years ago and there is more supply, but because of overly aggressive speculation on oil futures in the market, the normal laws of supply and demand don't seem to apply here.

    That's not something that can be laid on Obama, or even Bush for that matter. What befuddles me is that Gingrich talks about more American energy independence, and Obama has pushed for an all of the above agenda to accomplish just that. He talks about a "pro-jobs agenda" but the GOP House blocks bills on veteran job creation (one of their core voting blocs) and infrastructure while their supporters find time to produce propaganda films like Obama 2016 and Last Ounce of Courage that would make Leni Riefenstahl proud.

    September 26, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  23. Newt Gingrich

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Mitt Romney is a liar.

    September 26, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  24. Billy Pilgrim

    "Bain Capital was nothing more than a bunch of rich guys who figured out clever ways to drain companies dry and walk away leaving the employees with nothing." – Newt Gingrich 2012

    September 26, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  25. Thinking Texan

    Professor Newt knows the hard knuckle reality of destroying your mortal enemy at all costs. Compassion is just tripe for the little people, the loosers.

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

    "Compassion for the middle class" is definitely not something Gingrich or the Republican party feel; just feign.

    September 26, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
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