Skip to comments.Gingrich blows chance in crucial final Florida debate
Posted on 01/27/2012 7:16:38 AM PST by SeekAndFind
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Early Thursday morning -- about 12 hours before the final debate of the Florida primary -- Newt Gingrich was filled with indignation about Mitt Romney's investments. In the most recent debate, in Tampa, Romney had hit Gingrich hard over Gingrich's consulting deal with Freddie Mac. But in the intervening days, Gingrich had learned that not only did Romney have campaign surrogates who actually lobbied for Freddie and Fannie -- he also had personal investments in the two mortgage giants.
So Gingrich got ready to attack. "Here's a guy a who owns Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae stock," he told a Tea Party crowd in the picturesque lakeside town of Mount Dora. "He owns a Goldman Sachs subsidiary that forecloses on Floridians. He is surrounded by lobbyists who are paid by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to stop reform. And on that front, he decides to lie about my career? There's something about the hypocrisy that should make every American angry."
Gingrich stayed on the attack Thursday night in the debate at the University of North Florida here in Jacksonville. "We began digging after [the last debate] because, frankly, I'd had about enough of this," Gingrich said. "We discovered, to our shock, Gov. Romney owns shares of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
For a moment, it appeared to be a big Gingrich score. Romney weakly explained that his investments were made through a blind trust, and that it was all very complicated. But then Romney looked at Gingrich and said: "Have you checked your own investments? You also have investments through mutual funds that also invest in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
It was a major gotcha moment, one for which Gingrich appeared completely unprepared. He feebly responded that to "compare my investments with [Romney's] is like comparing a tiny mouse with a giant elephant," but the bottom line was clear: Gingrich had hit Romney, and Romney turned around and hit Gingrich much, much harder.
How could Gingrich have made such a mistake? How could he loudly accuse Romney of something and not know he had done the same thing? And even then, how did Gingrich not know that he could have framed the situation to his own advantage? After all, he is the one who defended working for Freddie Mac, who defended GSEs in general, who said his relationship with the mortgage firm was all entirely proper. Of course he would not have had a problem defending ownership of stock (through mutual funds) in Freddie and Fannie. Gingrich still could have attacked Romney for hypocrisy, given Romney's past statements. Instead, Gingrich set himself up for a fall, and Romney was happy to accommodate.
After the debate, Gingrich's spokesman did not want to answer a simple question: How could Gingrich have attacked Romney for a Fannie/Freddie investment when the former speaker had such investments of his own? "How could Mitt Romney not reveal that his advisers, including [Susan] Molinari, including Charlie Black, including Vin Weber -- all who were lobbyists on behalf of Freddie?" spokesman R.C. Hammond asked in response. Hammond explained that Gingrich's Fannie/Freddie holdings, in mutual funds that have hundreds, if not thousands, of diverse investments, were "in a retirement IRA, which was held in this country, not in Switzerland, and how could the Romney campaign not admit that their guys were actually lobbyists for Fannie and Freddie?"
Further pursuit yielded no more answers -- at one point, Hammond tried to change the subject by abruptly declaring, "Let's talk about voting in Massachusetts in 1992." Team Gingrich simply did not want to talk about such a glaring error.
Across the room from Hammond, top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom explained how the smackdown came to be. The Romney campaign sent out an e-mail with a detailed list of Gingrich's investments almost as soon as Romney delivered the punch, and Fehrnstrom explained that Romney's staff became curious about Gingrich's investments after Gingrich started talking about Romney's. "We began looking into it as soon as [Gingrich] started with his criticism of that particular investment," Fehrnstrom said. "And they weren't hard to find." The information was easily available in Gingrich's financial disclosure forms.
Romney's Fannie/Freddie performance, combined with his nimble outmaneuvering of Gingrich on immigration, seemingly set the former Massachusetts governor on the path to winning the debate. Importantly, Romney was also smart enough to drop his own unfounded attacks on Gingrich. For example, Romney said nothing about Gingrich's ethics case from the 1990s, a subject about which Romney had hit Gingrich hard in earlier ads and debates. It's not clear whether Romney was aware of new reporting showing that the Internal Revenue Service completely exonerated Gingrich in that case, but in any event Romney did not mention it.
Romney also backed off his ill-considered earlier attempts to suggest Gingrich had not played a significant role in some of the Reagan administration's achievements in the 1980s. Romney's attacks lost all steam after Gingrich produced a video clip from 1995 in which former First Lady Nancy Reagan said her husband had passed the torch of conservative leadership to Gingrich. Romney's criticism had simply opened himself up to Gingrich's reminding viewers that Romney disavowed Reagan during Romney's run for Senate in Massachusetts in 1994. It was a loser issue for Romney, and he let it go.
All in all, Thursday was simply a bad night for Gingrich. Yes, he had some good moments, but after a lackluster performance in last Monday's debate, and with his poll numbers slipping a bit in Florida, Gingrich needed a strong performance, and he didn't get it. Failing to deliver made Gingrich's job between now and next Tuesday's primary all the harder.
After beating Gingrich, Romney seemed ready to coast to debate victory until a few minutes later, when Rick Santorum took him on over the issue of the individual mandate in Romneycare. Briefly put, Santorum ran all over Romney, leaving a frustrated Romney sputtering, "First of all, it's not worth getting angry about." The problem is, a lot of Americans are quite angry about Obamacare, and it seems likely they were not satisfied by Romney's assuring them that it's nothing to get upset about.
The moment gave Santorum, whose campaign appears to be flagging in Florida, a much-needed boost. Still, Santorum plans to leave the state to return home for a day on Saturday, spurring speculation that he is either changing direction in his campaign or getting out of the race altogether. As for rumors of Santorum's withdrawal, one supporter who spent a good deal of time with him Thursday said flatly, "That ain't gonna happen. Ain't gonna happen."
Even after the Santorum score, it's probably safe to say that Romney won the Jacksonville debate. With the race tight, Gingrich badly needed a good showing. And with so much on the line, he failed to deliver.
leftie moderator are happy to avoid questions relating to Obama or the economy for obvious reasons. Because both stink.
The candidates can’t attack Obama and the economy to strongly because they have to save it for when they battle Obama in the general election.
If they use all their ammo now they won’t have any for the real battle against Obama.
For that reason Romney and Gingrich are stuck battling over mostly petty issues.
While its exhausting to watch and creates the freak circus condition the media loves. It works in a disfunctional sort of way keep the focus Gingrich and Romney.
Its also an opportunity for Santorum to appear above the petty ‘infighting”. Which I think he did fairly well in last nights debates.
Unless Gingrich can deal a death blow to Romney. Either some new revelation about Romney or gingrich can present some mind blowing idea that cinches it up. I don’t see the back and forth stopping anytime soon or probably ever.
Gingrich could attempt to take the high road. However, I doubt that would stop Romney’s slime machine.
York is really in the weeds with that analysis. Boring stuff that most voters don’t give a rip about.
I’ve not heard anyone say it yet, but it seems to me that Newt scored a major victory last night, if only because he got Romney to agree that he (Newt) was much closer and considerably more involved with the Ronald Reagan movement.
I agree. Newt should turn every question into a chance to slam Obama. I think he would get more standing ovations. People are getting tired of watching him and Romney lock horns personally. I am just hoping Fl is at least close on Tues so Newt can move on and hopefully win the next primary. It has got to be discouraging when practically the whole world including your own party is trying to destroy your campaign.
I agree with you on that one.
Can you imagine a Republican debate where the questions would be asked by, let’s just say for example: Sarah P. (energy, 2nd Amendment + anything else she wants to ask!), Jan Brewer (immigration, border), John Bolton (foreign policy), Scott Walker (debt reduction, getting Feds out of state business), and so forth. There are many fine conservatives or knowledgeable people out there who would have substantive, relevant questions & whose goal would not be to provoke a cage fight on stage ..... rather than the silly stuff we see from the ‘gotcha’ media. (Note - yes, I know Bolton endorsed Mitt, but he’s still the best on foreign policy today.
I have to say that even Fox News moderators are lame and also play into this stimulating hyper sensitive crap, like Jaun Willimas did.
We can only hope!
I thought Romney sounded small-minded and elderly with his answer about the space program. Gingrich sounded positive, full of enthusiasm and belief in America’s future...and also determined not to let the Chinese get ahead of us, not only in space, but in the corrollary area of military development.
The whole point, btw, is that the Federal Government will not be paying for the entire space program, as it is now, but that the commercial possibilities will bring in private money and competition. This will be much less expensive than it is now. The mission of NASA will basically be that of managing the government bureaucracy, getting rid of the regulations that prevent private development and experimentation, and focusing on creating a good R&D environment, but not wasting a fortune doing the work itself. (And also not spending on “Muslim outreach,” as its supposed mission is now.)
Everybody I’ve talked to finds it exciting, because it could completely rejuvenate Florida’s tech corridor, and this in turn would get everything else moving again. And this will benefit seniors as much as anybody else.
Seniors are not passive old wrecks waiting for a government handout, the way the Dems wish to portray them, and a vibrant economy will benefit them too.
The whole debate seemed to be planned, down to the type of audience that was there. Notice that the questions started out asking Newt about what Romney was saying about him, and vice versa? It was coordinated to get them to argue. Blitzer never really asked any questions that had any substance to them. And Romney couldn’t wait to bring up Rubio’s name and use it against Newt. I wonder if Rubio wish he would have kept his mouth shut? I sure wish he had. I loved it when Santorum beat up Romney over Romneycare being the same as obamacare.. that was awesome..I sure hope that Newt can beat Romney. The thought of the republican establishment picking our candidate for us, ticks me off big time.
Well ... nominating another liberal ... Romney will get slaughtered in the General.
My thoughts. The second tier guys way out shined the first tier guys.
Santorum won the debate - no question.
Any suggestion (and I seen plenty of headlines that suggest it) that Romney had a good debate or showed that he was a fighter if pure bunk. Santorum creamed Romney last night on RomneyCare. Romney got embarrassed in his lying attempt to disown his own ad. Romney showed that he has a glass jaw. However, it was still a win for Romney, because Newt lost.
Newt’s performance was inexplicable and inexcusable. Anybody with half a brain should have know what was coming in this debate (an Monday’s for that matter). Newt apparently didn’t bother to properly prepare. Perhaps “the great debater” meme has gone to his head and he didn’t think he had to.
It was clear that Santorum did do his homework. He was totally up to speed on the RomneyCare impact in MA and to say that he wounded Romney is an understatement. He also took a play out of Newt’s playbook to scold the media and get the discussion back on topics that matter.
None of the Not Romney candidates are perfect Conservatives. Santorum is no exception. However, had the Santorum that we’ve seen in the last 3 debates been on the seen before Iowa, he may very well be the front runner today.
RE: Just you wait, if Palin endorses Newt, romney is toast!
She is waiting for the vetting to come to an end and then she will endorse.
Well, her hubby ALREADY ENDORSED Newt. So I guess it is just a matter of time before she follows suit ( But then, why not Santorum?)
EXACTLY!!!! They are sacrificing Mitt which gets rid of him and permits them to solidify who they want in 2016.
Between the lunar colonies and the Callista’s french horn, Gingrich did not have a good night last night.
Yeah, another RINO.
I think I'll still take Santorum over Paul, but I get where you are coming from. The more I see of Paul the more I kind of like him, which is almost the opposite of Santorum.
Their Hero is winning and they showed all the biased polls favoring Romney to prove it. The FIX is in. And we all lose. We will have Big Government Health Romney care, “More efficient, streamlined” Mega Government at the helm of Romney or Obama.
Except under Obama, there will be no “faster, more efficient Mega Government” like Romney is promising. But Romney won't win against Obama anyway. So, prepare yourselves for the disaster. It is coming rather sudden and quickly.
“So, prepare yourselves for the disaster. It is coming rather sudden and quickly.”
Been working on that for a year. Still need solar panels and a milk cow by the end of summer. Otherwise, good to go.
We the people need to take back control from the media and not let them frame our debates, decide which issues are important in this country, pick our candidates and tell us who to vote for.
“Romney seemed much better prepared and crisp on his attacks and data. Newt seemed half asleep, and was denied fastballs over the plate that he could knock out of the park”
I think a man of Newt’s intellect and accomplishments just finds it hard to be on a stage and have a meaningful discussion with a grown man who has nothing to offer but spiteful putdowns and lies. Romney is acting like a kid that someone just stole his marbles from. Of all four men last night the one that looked the least presidential was the smirking putdown artist Willard the liberal. But America got what that ass Wolf Blitzer wanted. A cat fight again between Newt Gingrich and Willard the liberal. Newt tried to get beyond the slander and elevate the discussion, but Blitzer and the creepy liberal Romney would not let him. Anyone with a brain could see that.
I'm not so sure. Mitt's margin is much higher, thus IS profiting substantially more from "foreclosing on homes". So it's small wonder 'he's in favor of going full bore on foreclosures.'
By the time hussein's hit squad is done, the voting public will think mitt is personally responsible for the mortgage meltdown.
You are right on!!! IMHO, Santorum made both Gingrich & Romney look small, ego-driven, and petty!!! I want my POTUS candidate to be a true conservative!!! Oh, believe me, my firend, I lived through Goldwater (my idol back in 1958), Reagan and the “Gingrich revolution” in 1994!!! No doubt Newt is truely a Mister Conservative!!! But....he should have not gotten intangled in this foolish nonsense between him and Mitt Romney!!! So......as much as I supported him back in his glory days, I now feel both Newt and Mitt are unfit to lead us to defeating Obama, which is really the true political war objective. Just the fact that these two gents are fighting the “petty, immature” fight, speaks volumes to their incapability to keep their eyes, ears, hearts and minds focused on the real prize of defeating Obama and his worthless Democrat Party ilk!!! Give me, Santorum, Palin, Lee, Jindal, Martinez, Rubio, Daniels, etc,, plus many, many more. But.....IMHO, neither Gingrich or Romney is the “One”!!!
And.....Forida, vote, vote, vote by the millions next Tuesday. A massive voter turnout sends the true message to both Obama and his Democrat Party failures, that the American People are going to flush you America destroyers down the toilet to political defeat and obscurity where you rightfully belong!!!
I paid all my debts off decades ago. I have also moved all of my investments into Commodities. (Fungible) And I have been mopping up recently. I am very close to cashing in and converting all of my holdings into a World backed Gold/Silver based currency.
Anyone, deeply in debt is in really big trouble. Especially Real Estate related debt.
“Anyone, deeply in debt is in really big trouble. Especially Real Estate related debt.”
I think it is going to be worse than all that. Think “Somalia” writ large. You could have a $200,000.00 house note, everything falls apart and you can’t pay your mortgage but the good news is, there is no longer anyone to pay it to.
I believe that we will be in pure survival mode, on our own as fedzilla regroups and literally goes full-on communist dictatorship “to restore order.” It will be terrifying how many of our countrymen will embrace that.
Newt faltered and Santorum was on point, with a strong message. Romney was his usual dodge and pass the buck self with his liberal message. There is no doubt Santorum hurt both Newt and Romney, for the win!
I remember the press making a big deal about Reagan having a co-presidency with Gerald Ford, because Reagan wasn’t competent to be president.
You can brag all day long about your losing candidate, but in the end, we all wind up with nothing, and even more pathetic, you are so proud of the damage that will be done.
The very idea of Santorum against Obama is not only scary, but Santorun’s own neoconservative past will effect us all.
Who said Santorum should be the candidate??? I just stated my opinion that both Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are tainted candidates. Obama and his disgusting ilk of low life Democrat “dirt bags” will have a field day with either of these two characters!!! My mind is not closed at all!!! But....IMHO, Gingrich and Romney did themselves in with their pettiness and bickering. I do not want my POTUS to mirror these two gents, regardless of their political beliefs!!!
“And, do you know why the Bushies have lined up behind Mitt?
Check the second paragraph of the post in the link below. I did not write this post, and I cannot verify whether the allegations presented are factual, but it’s troubling indeed:
No more Bushes.
To Mitt Romney, ‘Would you have fired JFK when he said we should put a man on the moon?”
That is my Question this AM.
Gingrich said private enterprise competing could achieve many goals. Romney is saying he wants to clamp down on companies such as Rutan. But one should remember the round trip the Rutan Voyager made.
Also the collection of the Ansari X Prize!
“The rocket plane made a series of piloted suborbital flights last year, winning the Ansari X Prize of $10 million for back-to-back suborbital flights.”
Romney does not want individuals or independent companies to achieve greatness. He wants Big Daddy to control all things.
Remember his words “ anyone that came to me with those IEDAS, I would say “you are Fired””.
Take it easy, guys. “It’s not worth getting angry about.”
We can’t take 4 more years of Obama. If he Bush’s want to throw the election to run Jeb in 2016, then the Bush’s have become traitors to our nation.
They wasted a lot of money and opportunity, but it is hard for me to see them as traitors. I hope they are not.
Connected to subject @ Post #83
Newt should've been prepared for this retort; unfortunately his middling debate performance may have cost him the critical victory in FL needed to stop Romney's inevitable nomination.
Since he's abandoning FL but not exiting, Santorum is with Romney even if may have tried swinging at Romney on individual mandate. We see now he was for mandating health insurance in 1994 when he ran for senate.
Why does Mitten have his money offshore? That sounds smarmy to me—like he has something to hide. Legal, maybe, but it smells bad—why not put his money in an American Bank?
“Despite Florida being a NASA state, sending colonists to the moon is the farthest thing from the minds of the folks.”
I agree. The country is bankrupt and Newt is coughing up fur balls and moonbeams. Good grief! A Houston talk show host (Michael Berry) interviewed Tom Delay a few days ago to ask his opinions of Newt. Delay said Newt did not stay focused and every day came up with tangential ideas, not all of them good. This moon colony “pie in the sky” thing seems to be a good indication of what Delay was talking about. Delay argued that Newt is no conservative, but that Rick Santorum is. At this time, I have no idea who I favor.
I think Newt is a great idea man, We need big vision thinkers in the party, however, he has too many “moonbase” moments that make him appear to have a lack of focus. The moonbase was an obvious pander to the NASA coast. With the debt the nation is in, real cuts in spending need to occur in order to preserve our nation from bankruptcy and/or total deflation of the dollar. Although Santorum comes across as intense, it is obvious he is a man of deep faith and character. Even though Newt has had his personal failings, he has said he has had a reawakening of his faith. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, most women won’t and he would be destroyed in a general election against Obama based upon Fitness of Character issues. They will attack his ego, character (divorces) and at times outlandish ideas (moonbase). They will frame the election around him instead of around Obama’s tremendous failings. I feel it would be a disaster.
You are absolutely correct!!! The case against Newt Gingrich is exactly what Obama and the Democrat party will do in the general election!!! And.....just to be fair and truthful, the same type of scenerio with different words, will be used to do exactly the thing to Mitt Romney!!! All of us on the conservative side owe Gingrich great respect, appreciation and homage!!!
The NASA “pander”, I must give full sympathy to Newt. The death of manned USA space vehicles brought about by Barack Hussein Obama, IMHO, is truly a daggar stuck in the heart of the American economic engine. These magnificent folks worked miracles in a very short time which have brought much benefit to our nation in many, many ways. Now, Obama, by design, has killed them off, both technically and economically!!!
Bringing down NASA and now, bringing down our armed forces is a death knell for future America, which is exactly what Obama wants to bring about. Just remember, abolishing the Federal Department of Education or turning the USA Post Office over to FedEX, UPS, DHL, etc. would free plenty of funds for private development of space vehicles!!! Bottom line is, our nation is in serious, building “Harm’s Way”, purposely placed there by Obama design!!! That is why this upcoming election is do or die for the USA!!!
And....that is why, we need a POTUS nominee, that will atttack Obama, night & day, without a letup. Obama’s defeat is the “Eyes on the Prize”!!! If Obama wins in November, this nation of ours is toast!!! End of story!!!
After Florida there is only one Debate in February and that will hurt Santorum because televised debates are what people want to see and judge.
I heard that the Nixon JFK debate when heard over he radio proved to be a Nixon win but those that watched it on TV saw Nixon in a gray suit and he didn't look right and JFK tore him up in looks. So, JFK won.
I just read that Romney's advisors said no to the repealing of Obamacare!