Responding to a series of attack ads against him, former House speaker Newt Gingrich Wednesday challenged fellow GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to a two-man debate.
Gingrich’s challenge to meet Romney “anywhere in Iowa next week one on one, 90 minutes, no moderator,” came during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, according to a report in The Hill.
Romney had earlier defended his aggressive ads targeting Gingrich as a precursor of what the candidate might face in a head-to-head contest against President Barack Obama.
Gingrich has promised to be quicker to respond to attacks and more agile in getting his message across to voters as he has seen poll numbers slip in recent days as rivals hammer his past as a Washington insider.
He is planning a 44-stop bus tour in the run-up to the January 3 Iowa caucus, daily calls with supporters to respond to new criticisms and another round of television ads, with most of his efforts focused in Iowa over the next two weeks.
“This is politics, and if you can't stand the heat in this little kitchen, wait until the Obama hell's kitchen turns up the heat,” Romney told Fox News, reports The Hill.
Gingrich accused Romney of trying to distance himself from a series of negative ads that were funded by a political action committee that supports the former governor of Massachusetts.
He reportedly described the ads as an “embarrassment to the American system” during a radio interview on Wednesday and made clear that he is ready to test Romney’s kitchen metaphor in a public throw down.
“I’m happy. I’ll go in the kitchen. Go back and ask Gov. Romney, would he like to play in the kitchen? I don’t think so. I don’t think he wants to do anything but hide over here and pretend it’s not his fault that he is flooding the people of Iowa with falsehoods. That’s his money and his staff and it’s his responsibility,” said Gingrich, according to The Hill.
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