Tags: Mitt Romney | Newt Gingrich | gingrich | romney | campaign

Gingrich: I Should've Replied Sooner to False Claims

By    |   Friday, 06 January 2012 04:29 AM

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich says the only “major mistake” he made in leading up to the Iowa caucuses was not running ads showing his record was distorted in negative ads promoted by his rivals for the Republican nomination. The former House speaker also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday he will continue to focus his campaign on the fundamental differences between his and other GOP contenders’ policies — particularly those of Mitt Romney.
“I think the only major mistake we made was not doing an ad early on that had somebody like Congressman J.C. Watts explain how false the Freddie Mac charges were and walk people through the accuracy of the fact that I didn’t do any lobbying,” Gingrich said. “I personally got about $35,000 a year and the whole ad on Freddie Mac was a lie. That would have been a good ad to do and in retrospect, I wish we had done it.
“But the rest of it — I frankly was watching to see what would happen. Now for two solid weeks, I asked Governor Romney to have his PAC quit doing this stuff — I thought it was demeaning. Not to me, I thought it was demeaning to the process,” he said. “I think Iowans [were] sick of it. I wanted to make a case to the national news media — I have been persistently positive — the most I will do is draw contrast.”

Gingrich told Hannity he is “not going to go out and play gotcha games and I’m not going to distort Governor Romney's personal life or his personal records or his personal business. I am going to draw contrast between what he did as governor, what he's done in public policy.”

“I think that is fair game — he could do the same thing to me — but I wanted to have it locked in everybody’s mind that for three weeks, 45 percent of the ads in Iowa attack me personally,” he continued. “I continue to be positive — all of my ads were positive — I did everything I could to set the right tone for America’s future and the right tone for the people of the country. It’s sad that somebody like Governor Romney was not prepared to have that positive campaign.”

Hannity observed that although Gingrich had committed to not running negative ads, the former House speaker knows from his political history that they do have an impact. Gingrich agreed they do — but added caveats.

“For two months the national media said I was dead —then we gradually slowly came back and I described my campaign as a tortoise,” he said. “Suddenly, we took off — all of it positive, all of it based on the debates, all of it based on good ideas and on a 21st Century Contract with America. At one point, I was ahead I think by almost 18 or 20 points in the Gallup poll.

“That was all positive stuff and now you have had a series of attacks — and now we have to rebuild again — so we will. We’ll rebuild like the tortoise,” Gingrich continued. “We’ll rebuild steadily, happily, positively, but I have always been confident in this race.

“In the end, Governor Romney will not be able to hide behind negative ads — people will actually look at his record and realize he raised taxes as governor — they'll realize he appointed liberal judges who were pro-abortion,” he said. “They will realize he wrote Planned Parenthood into Romneycare, he wrote tax paid abortions into Romneycare. All of these things will add up. People will go, yes! That is not somebody I want to be Republican nominee.”

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