Gingrich says he's a threat to Obama

Matt Rourke/AP

Newt Gingrich tried to cast himself as the toughest threat to President Obama on Sunday morning, fresh off his blow-out victory in the South Carolina Republican primary and ahead of the next nominating contest.

"My job in Florida is to convince people that I am the one candidate who can beat President Obama in the debates," Gingrich said on CNN's State of the Union.

He also highlighted what he saw as the stark contrasts between his candidacy and Obama's by saying the two differed greatly on major issues such as domestic spending, financial regulation and foreign affairs. "The dynamics of the Gingrich-Obama fight are much better for Republicans than a Romney-Obama fight," he said.

Host Candy Crowley pressed Gingrich a handful of times about past controversies in his political life, including his work as a consultant with Freddie Mac and the ethics investigation conducted during his time as speaker of the House. Gingrich calmly responded, urging voters to read the 1,300-page ethics investigation for themselves and reminded Crowley that he was cleared of 83 out of 84 ethics charges.

Then, he turned the question of transparency back on his main rival, alleging that Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, was not transparent about the development of the healthcare legislation, nor has he been open about his income given his reluctance to immediately release his tax returns. (Romney said on another show Sunday that he would release his returns on Tuesday, to which Gingrich said on NBC that the issue was now "set to side.")

Toward the end of his appearance, Gingrich positioned himself as an outsider candidate, willing to cut spending and take on the establishment, much like, he said, former President Ronald Reagan. It was a tricky move, considering Gingrich's long-time residency in Washington and his former leadership role in Congress.

"I represent the largest amount of change of any candidate," he said. "I'm not representing Wall Street or the politicians in Washington."

Speaking later on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday, Gingrich attacked Romney and argued that South Carolina revealed the former Massachusetts governor as unelectable.

"Governor Romney's core problem was that he governed as a Massachusetts moderate, which, by the standards of Republican primary voters, is a liberal," he said.

Gingrich also said Romney's lack of authenticity was one of his greatest flaws. "The number one thing people look for in difficult times is authenticity," he said. "They want somebody who is what he seems to be, somebody who is comfortable with himself."

Gingrich went on to say that he was the most straightforward candidate. "I have flaws, I have weaknesses, I've had a long career," he said. "But the fact is, what you see really is what you get."

He added that the general election will be won in the debates, and that he's the only candidate capable of taking on Obama.

When asked whether he'd be willing to spend a full hour debating Romney on Face The Nation's long episode next weekend, Gingrich said that he had to check with his campaign that that he would be willing to debate. "I suspect we'd be happy to come do it," he said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.