Even as Newt Gingrich denounced the various attack ads and criticisms launched against him by GOP opponents, anonymous adversaries were placing negative fliers on every car in the parking lot outside of the clothing warehouse where he was speaking. The fliers accuse Gingrich of advocating for the individual health care mandate, referring to it as “Gingrich-Care”.
The former House Speaker spoke to a crowd of 175 likely caucus goers in the Cedar Rapids suburb of Hiawatha on Monday. Much of his talk focused on the barrage of criticism he has faced since vaulting to the lead in the presidential race.
“These are people who apparently have nothing positive to offer,” Gingrich said. “Do you really want to reward politics as usual? Or do you want to vote for the only person who has been consistently, steadily positive throughout the campaign.”
By his own admission, Gingrich’s campaign peaked too soon. When he became the national frontrunner in mid-November, the former Georgia congressman still had not rebuilt his staff following a mass exodus five months earlier. The ramshackle remains of a campaign structure were ill-equipped to handle the barrage of nasty attacks coming from all sides.
“We’re still putting our campaign together,” Gingrich admitted, just 15 days before the Iowa Caucus. “We’re actually a campaign trying to catch up with popular support.”
Ron Paul and a super PAC affiliated with Mitt Romney have run very effective attack ads against Newt Gingrich. Recent polls show going negative has worked and Gingrich is trying to staunch the bleeding.
“The next time you see one of the candidates who’s running the negative ads, ask them to take it off the air immediately,” Gingrich implored the eastern Iowa crowd. “Because the only person who it helps in the long run is Barack Obama.”
Kathy Hulse, a Gingrich supporter who attended Monday night’s event, agrees. “I liked him coming here and being honest with what he says. That’s his number one trait, his honesty. Most of the people you talk to, they don’t know how they’re going to vote yet. There’s a lot of bad garbage out there against him and it isn’t true.”
For the most part, Gingrich avoided responding to the criticisms from his opponents. But the constant browbeat is too much to resist at times. “A couple ads say ‘Gingrich isn’t a consistent conservative’. I’m not going to get too much into responding to that, but when they talk about a consistent conservative, one wonders how they would know one if they saw it.”
Linn County GOP Chairman Steve Armstrong, who is remaining neutral in the race, felt the event was a good one for the former House Speaker. “I like his positive message,” Armstrong told TheIowaRepublican.com. “I think it resonated quite well. I noticed a lot of young people in the crowd, which is kind of indicative of a Ron Paul crowd and I just wonder if Newt isn’t pulling from that.”
One of those young people was Peter Larson, a college student from Dubuque. He says Gingrich is one of four candidates he is considering supporting. “Overall, I’m undecided still. I weigh every candidate against Obama and I want to see who has, not just support in a poll, but an actual chance to win in the general election.”
Newt Gingrich believes he is the one best suited to tackle the president. “All the negativity you’re seeing now is tiny compared to what we’re going to see next fall with Barack Obama,” he said. “They’re not raising $1 billion to talk about all the positive things they’ve done. They’re going from ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Here’s why we didn’t’.
Later, Gingrich asked the crowd, “Which one of us would you like to have standing on a platform with Barack Obama?” For many Republicans, the thought of Newt Gingrich debating Obama has them salivating. However, that might not be enough to outweigh the concerns raised by the constant criticisms.
Gingrich says his campaign is working on an “Ask Newt” hotline that voters can call to have their questions answered in regards to all the attacks. He also plans a 44-stop tour leading up to January 3. The problem for Gingrich is, that might be too little, too late.
Iowans select their choice for president in just two weeks. Newt Gingrich needs a strong showing here to build momentum for the rest of the primary. With little organization and dwindling poll numbers, Gingrich’s margin for error is very slim.
- Why Gingrich Must Be Present If He Wants to Win (theiowarepublican.com)
- Ron Paul Doubles Down on Newt in New Web Ad (theiowarepublican.com)
- This Week’s Top Newt Gingrich Hits (theiowarepublican.com)
- Ron Paul Campaign Releases 60-Second Version of Newt Ad (theiowarepublican.com)
- Anonymous Group Unveils Anti-Gingrich Video (theiowarepublican.com)
Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com
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