Romney Bashes Gingrich as “Disgrace”

Bashing Newt

As expected, the battle for Florida has turned particularly nasty as Mitt Romney and his numerous surrogates escalate their war on Newt Gingrich. Politico is reporting that Mitt Romney is mudslinging all over the campaign trail, heaping harsh words on Newt Gingrich.  The word that Romney and his surrogates seem to like most is “disgrace” or “embarrassment.”  I don’t know what is more disgraceful or embarrassing than a desperate candidate running around making such attacks.  Romney’s shift into ultra-negative territory is a clear attempt to try to move undecided voters away from Gingrich, but I think it’s clear that the net effect will tend to hurt Romney in the broader audience.  On Sunday, the country watched Romney’s shills run out into the media to deliver scathing attacks on Gingrich, but I doubt it’s very effective. Traveling in Florida, in Ormond Beach, Romney said of Gingrich:

“Speaker Gingrich has also been a leader,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “He was a leader for four years as speaker of the House. And at the end of four years, it was proven that he was a failed leader and he had to resign in disgrace. I don’t know whether you knew that, he actually resigned after four years, in disgrace.”

That’s a scathing attack, but the trouble is it’s not reflective of what really happened.  As a matter of fact, Gingrich was ousted by his own party, who feared that he had been the source of some losses in the 1998 election cycle. Romney went on:

“He was investigated over an ethics panel and had to make a payment associated with that and then his fellow Republicans, 88 percent of his Republicans voted to reprimand Speaker Gingrich. He has not had a record of successful leadership.”

Let it be said that Romney is skating on thin ice on a factual basis here.  He was “investigated.” Yes, he was.  Was he found guilty?  No, he was not.  The “payment associated” was to defray legal expenses but notice that Romney was at least smart enough not to use the word “fines” as is the template elsewhere in the media, and from his own surrogates.  Romney knows that narrative is false, but he still wants to make mileage from it.

As you may remember, on Sunday, Romney surrogates Ann Coulter and Chris Christie took their respective on-camera shots at Gingrich, with Coulter actually suggesting the people of South Carolina were emotionally-drive and stupid.  Meanwhile, the Governor of New Jersey appeared on another network to say Gingrich had embarrassed the party.  In a state with a strong Tea Party contingent, I don’t think Coulter’s approach will make many friends for Romney, and insofar as Christie is concerned, well, you can be the judge of the term “embarrassment” and to whom it is rightly applied.

This run-up to the Florida primary is going to be a barn-burner. You can expect Romney and his surrogates, as well as the SuperPACs who support him to continue their scorched-earth campaign against Gingrich, but it’s beginning to look desperate. Rather than explaining why voters should support Mitt, they’re doing their best to say why voters shouldn’t support Gingrich, but that’s far from a positive campaign of the sort Romney once promised.  It also doesn’t motivate voters to support him. Romney is in real trouble, and he knows it.  The media is only too willing to help him, but whether they can effectively sling mud after last week’s obvious last-minute smear is another matter. Voters may have had quite enough of that, this season.

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  • http://alwaysonwatch2.blogspot.com/ Always On Watch

    Voters may have had quite enough of that, this season.

    Just the other day, a friend of mine spoke of his disgust with politics — meaning, this primary season.

    I, too, am disgusted. How much damage is all this mud slinging doing to the entire GOP?

  • Linda Shepard

    Sounds like a group of spoiled children on a playground to me. I'm sick of the mudslinging and want to hear the meat of their message on how they will run their administration and what are they going to do for the country. I guess we'll have to depend on Sarah to keep us informed since she seems to be the only honest one willing to talk about the issues.

  • Laurie

    Well, the garbage about the wife didn't pan out well for whomever was at the forefront of that attack. I realize that was a personal matter. But I wonder if people are just sick of these very nasty attacks on any front. I know that unless it has a clear, direct baring on an important issue NOW-I don't want to hear it. I think many feel that way.

  • Tim Neuberger

    Obviously, the status-quo republican establishment is on edge. America wants change. Obama has taken us from a mess to the brink of an abomination. Romney as president would continue the status quo gridlock Washington that all of America has grown to despise. Newt Gingrich has proven that although be it he has had a lifetime in politics, he has always been outside the beltway and knows how to shake things up and promote change. Yes he may be a bit angry, but so is America. We have all stood by too long and it is well overdue for perhaps a bit of anger. My children will thank America one day for electing Newt president.

  • dnr

    I think Newt has squelched all mudslinging with his smackdown of John King last week and has shown himself to be made of teflon. He was exactly right at Thursday's debate that there is no place for despicable personal attacks, but Romney obviously didn't get the memo. Romney's got nuthin', and he knows it. The sooner Mittens goes away, the better.

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  • FalconTinker

    I am insulted that Romney expects us to believe that he does not control his pac. "You know that's illegal" Coulter parrots that line.

    Newsflash to Mitt and Ann, we also know that crime happens everyday.