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BLITZER’S BLOG: Romney and Gingrich take gloves off
November 30th, 2011
03:48 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Romney and Gingrich take gloves off

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

(CNN) - It looks like the gloves are beginning to come off between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. The two Republican presidential front-runners are starting to go after each other after trying to stay above the fray over the past many weeks and months.

This should not be surprising since they are in a fierce battle for the party’s nomination and the clock is ticking. Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida are coming up quickly.

Gingrich had tried to focus his attention on President Barack Obama. That was also Romney’s strategy. For both candidates, that is clearly an easy target. It energizes the party’s base. They certainly will continue to blast the president and his record over the past three years. But simply railing against Obama is clearly no longer feasible.

Right now, the stakes are too high for Gingrich and Romney. They can almost smell the nomination, and they will do whatever it takes to win - within reason.

That means they have to not only speak positively about their own respective qualifications in making make their case, they also need to explain why the other contender is not so good.

And that explains why we are now hearing Romney mention that his experience mostly has been in the world of business; Gingrich, he says, has been mostly in Washington.

And Gingrich clearly has Romney in mind when he says that anyone who claims the former speaker once supported “amnesty” for illegal immigrants in the United States is spreading a “falsehood” that should disqualify that person from winning the party’s nomination.

Having covered presidential campaigns for a long time, I must say those are relatively polite exchanges.

But as we get closer to the caucuses and primaries, the language will heat up. It always does. I can assure you both campaigns’ opposition research departments are already working overtime.

Just recall the tensions that developed between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as their campaigns for the Democratic nomination continued four years ago.

One final note: As tough as the GOP primary fight will become, it will be nothing compared with what we can expect in the general election battle between Obama and his Republican challenger.

Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN

RELATED STORY: Gingrich embraces 'lifelong politician' label

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Filed under: 2012 election • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingtich • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Griff

    `We of the GOP, are going to leave it to the people, and wait and see!

    December 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  2. kyle

    These are the most flawed and untrustworthy candidates I have ever seen.

    December 1, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  3. Rinos for Winos

    Ron Paul has a few good ideas sprinkled on a lot of nutty ones. He is not even on the radar for being the nominee. I would like to see Gingrich and Romney take the gloves off since that will further weaken their already weak field. Time to start thinking of 2016.

    December 1, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  4. RobertSmith

    Obama debating Mitt will be boring.

    Obama debating Newt will be exciting. Newt would wipe the floor with Obama's face.

    Newt 2012

    December 1, 2011 at 1:53 am |
  5. JT

    Gingrich is so beatable that even Clinton wants him to be the nominee.

    December 1, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  6. mommers

    Republicans/Evangelicals, don't be stupid. The swollen-headed, fast talking, immoral, pompous Newt cannot win independents. Romney is the only one who can defeat Obama. Those who are religious bigots or think Romney is boring are going to give the election to Obama. I'd much rather hear Romney's plain speak than someone who sounds like a phony televangelist like Obama (shudder) or a blowhole like Gingrich.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  7. mommers

    Republicans/Evangelicals, don't be stupid. The swollen-headed, fast talking, immoral, pompous Newt cannot win independents. Romney is the only one who can defeat Obama. Those who are religious bigots or think Romney is boring are going to give the election to Romney. I'd much rather hear Romney's plain speak than someone who sounds like a phony televangelist like Obama (shudder) or a blowhole like Gingrich.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  8. Chickasaw

    I noticed Ron Paul was not mentioned in this article. Most likely due to the fact that wolf supports Israel. There is nothing wrong with that but he should use his own money to fund them and not the American tax payer. The constitution does not say we will provide foreign aid to anyone at tax payer expense. With that being said Romney and Newt are more establishment candidates. Follow the money ! Follow the money ! Follow the money !

    Peace, Liberty, and Freedom through limited government and a free market society !

    Ron Paul 012 !

    November 30, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  9. duh

    We all must realize all politicians are lap dogs, democrat, republicans, independents. That's how they fund the nonsense they tell the public, then line pockets of there supporters once they're on top. We must change policies to prevent the corporate takeover of america, since our policy makers are fooling the people of america, the problems are broad and encompassing from top to bottom, we will sink like the titanic if we continue to have scum scam us, sad, very sad. Baby boomers are going to ruin our nation whether they know it or not, buck up and make the tough decisions because sadly you hold the majority

    November 30, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  10. Pimpson

    Romney is in trouble.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  11. larry5

    Blitzer's job is to get GOP candidates fighting with each other. Problem is that GOP candidates are falling for this stupid tactic. Reagan had it right and so does Newt. The candidates have to start going after Obama instead of each other.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
  12. jdoe

    Memo to Ron Paul supporters: The GOP establishment will never let him have the nomination. Keep blaming the MSM all day if you want.

    November 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  13. Thomas Godfrey

    I am a supporter of Mitt Romney for President 2012. He has a vision for what America will be and he inspires confidence and business experience and leadership in an unsure world. I have been reading articles saying that Mitt and the campaign dont know where to attack Newt at. The major points that Newt lacks is that he does not inspire that same confidence and leadership ability that Mitt Romney has. Newt was a good legislator, but his ability is limited to academics and legislation.

    November 30, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  14. GaryOwen27

    OOOOOOO, not that, you mean they might actually have to address some real issues instead of just blaming the liberal media forall their problems.

    November 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  15. John

    The flip-flopper versus Mr. Family Values. A battle for the ages (the dark ages, that is).

    November 30, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  16. Satberry

    Are you Ron paul supporters aware that his signature is on Grover norquist pledge.He is fake.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  17. Daniel Sheen

    This is a joke of an article. Ron Paul is going to win the Republican nomination and will go on to face Obama. These two are hardly worth talking about.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  18. dan in albuquerque

    Wow. They are attacking each other for being major flip-floppers, so for the first time, they are both being sincere and truthful.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  19. ED FL

    Oh my goodness 2 GOP gentlemen politicians are going to take off their gloves. heaven only knows what will happen next. Stay tuned for big time headlines in the fast news magazines section of the grocery stores. The national headlines of the the Enquirer could get the pulitzer prize.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  20. Larry L

    I looking for some Republican to propose something that isn't either useless pandering to social conservatives or a plan to help the rich.

    I see their plan to fund the payroll tax rebate is to freeze paychecks of federal employees. Does that include their own salaries? Since when did the federal employees become the enemy? We have people who have dedicated their lives to serving America – doing exactly what the laws and regulations of the United States Government aksed them to do. The services they provided are those our government's leaders (appointed through our democratic process) chose to provide. Will they freeze military salaries?

    If I understand their intent, they think it's more fair for public servants to pay the bill than millionaires to get a 3.5% increase in earnings over 1 million dollars. If you don't make a million a year or if you care about those who serve our federal government – you'd better help throw the corporate lap-dogs out!

    November 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • jeb

      Well said!

      November 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Matt

      They should stop taking pay checks on the loss of jobs until they fix the economy.

      December 1, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  21. carlos

    good picture CNN, the picture of two losers.
    RON PAUL all the way

    November 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  22. Tough USA

    THE REAL ONLINE POLL

    Who will you vote for?

    A. Romney because we are all as mixed up as he is.

    B. Newt because he lies, cheats and steals so he must be a great politician

    C.Cain because he will spend more time with his zipper down then working. So he can't make things worse

    D. Ron Paul ( ++++++++ I'm thinking+++++ He must have screwd up somwhere+++++)
    Oh Well -TO CUT THE FED-STOP POLICING THE WORLD AND BRING OUR TROOPS HOME-BALANCE THE BUDGET--REDUCE THE DEBT- SOUND CURRENCY--RESTORE LIBERTY --AMERICAN JOBS THRU TAX REFORM AND FREE MARKETS-

    I WILL VOTE FOR D- RON PAUL 2012

    November 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • tyson

      I totally agree. Too bad the media can't find the courage to list Paul as a front runner. He is the only one I will vote for no matter what. I don't care is some "expert" tells me the chances are one million to one of getting elected. You know those so called "experts" only chant that crap in hopes the the "sheep" of the usa will listen and not vote for him.

      November 30, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Matt

      Ron Paul seems to be the good choice out of all. He seems to be straight forward.

      December 1, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  23. ANONYMOUS

    This is so funny to me to read this pathetic article. I swore that just last week Herman Caine was one of the front runners. I guess with all those scandals that no longer makes him a viable candidate. The one thing out of this article that puzzles me is that Ron Paul is not mention in this article at all. Reason is Ron Paul is right up there with these two seasme street clowns. The news won't report that it's to much like telling the truth!!

    November 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  24. skarphace

    Gingrich right now has the best shot. As long as he doesn't shoot himself in the foot, it is his nomintation to lose. There is just too big of an ABR faction in the Republicans for Romney to overcome. This is too bad, since Paul and Huntsman are clearly the most able Republican candidates, but it is running out of time for them to get their shot.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Jim Bob

      Gingrich winning the primary would be a DREAM for Obama! Gingrich is a pig – physically and morally. Obama would win in a landslide. Romney is the only Republican who could possibly win. Perry is just to stupid for even right-wingers to vote for...

      November 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  25. glenn

    Gingrich is definately more dangerous of the two. He's made a hundred million dollars since leaving the government, but he claims he was never a lobbyist. What a Liar.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • elle

      Gingrich WAS working for Fannie Mae. Corrupt and with a history of lying. He IS the definition of Washington Insider. And I don't think the country was too thrilled with the job that he did when he was leader in congress.
      Remember, people. If he'll cheat on his wives when he has cancer at the same time as voting to impeach clinton, what will he do that is not in the county's best interests, if its in his interest. He'd sell anyone out in a heartbeat.
      That's not to say that Mittens is awesome, but Gingrich is sick, greedy and corrupt.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Thena

      This is what we need – an insight to make eevornye think

      December 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  26. Kip (Portland, Oregon)

    After watching each of the Republlican debates and seeing one pathetic performance after another and seeing what President Obama promised and has not achieved in three years all I can think is out of 320 million people in America is this "really" the best we can do in selecting the next leader of the Free World. All I can say is God help the American people and the rest of the world. It is really going to get ugly whichever party wins in November 2012, because none of the potential candidates to date come close to having the skill set, smarts or charisma to get America's economy back on track or make us again the leader of the free world. The real question is where have all the great and inspirational leaders gone? I remember being thrilled and uplifted by President Kennedy's speeches (e.g. his Inaugural Address and his "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech) . No one today is even close!

    November 30, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  27. Former Republican, now an Independent

    All of the republican candidates have taken the easy road of attacking the president and not focusing on the lack of content in each others plans. It will be interesting to see how they react as the American voting public begins to analyze their theories. So far, their plans have been the same failed policies that nearly bankrupted the nation and attempting to shift the blame to the people who have been trying to pull us out of this mess.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • TSIndiana

      I'm right there with you. After seeing what the FED just did (print money for the EU), Ron Paul is the ONLY choice and these TP a-holes will make sure he doesn't get the R nomination. Fools.

      December 1, 2011 at 7:21 am |
  28. Dave

    While I have nothing against Gingrich, I think Romney is the most qualified candidate (with both private and public sector records of accomplishment). He is intelligent and polls better against Obama too.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • ARMYCSM

      ROMNEY may poll well but, so did Hillary, against BHO. Romney is a gold calf, what he is selling is bad for the country – what is he selling today? Huntsman would be more of a challenge than the entire lot but, he isn't the one either. Sorry it is what it is. .

      November 30, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
      • Koray

        President Bush vetoed the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 which incraesed benefits to food stamps. A sample of the votes to OVERRIDE the presidential veto and spend the money where:Akaka (D-HI)Alexander (R-TN)Allard (R-CO)Barrasso (R-WY)Baucus (D-MT)Bayh (D-IN)Biden (D-DE)Bingaman (D-NM)Bond (R-MO)Boxer (D-CA)Brown (D-OH)Brownback (R-KS)Bunning (R-KY)Burr (R-NC)Byrd (D-WV)Cantwell (D-WA)Cardin (D-MD)Carper (D-DE)Casey (D-PA)Chambliss (R-GA)Clinton (D-NY)Cochran (R-MS)Coleman (R-MN)Conrad (D-ND)Corker (R-TN)Cornyn (R-TX)Craig (R-ID)Crapo (R-ID)Dodd (D-CT)Dole (R-NC)Dorgan (D-ND)Durbin (D-IL)Enzi (R-WY)Feingold (D-WI)Feinstein (D-CA)Graham (R-SC)Grassley (R-IA)Harkin (D-IA)Hatch (R-UT)Hutchison (R-TX)Inhofe (R-OK)Inouye (D-HI)Isakson (R-GA)Johnson (D-SD)Kerry (D-MA)Klobuchar (D-MN)Kohl (D-WI)Landrieu (D-LA)Lautenberg (D-NJ)Leahy (D-VT)Levin (D-MI)Lieberman (ID-CT)Lincoln (D-AR)Martinez (R-FL)McCaskill (D-MO)McConnell (R-KY)Menendez (D-NJ)Mikulski (D-MD)Murray (D-WA)Nelson (D-FL)Nelson (D-NE)Pryor (D-AR)Reid (D-NV)Roberts (R-KS)Rockefeller (D-WV)Salazar (D-CO)Sanders (I-VT)Schumer (D-NY)Sessions (R-AL)Shelby (R-AL)Smith (R-OR)Snowe (R-ME)Specter (R-PA)Stabenow (D-MI)Stevens (R-AK)Tester (D-MT)Thune (R-SD)Vitter (R-LA)Warner (R-VA)Webb (D-VA)Wicker (R-MS)Wyden (D-OR)To be fair, Obama was not president, nor did he vote on this bill (neither did McCain). Also, you will see many major conservative Republican Senate leaders who voted in favor of the bill. So if one wants to call Obama the most successful Food Stamp President, you would have to include Senator McConnell as the most successful food stamp Republican Leader (and add that monicker to all who voted in favor of this spending.)Reply

        August 3, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  29. Cheers

    I'm sick of all these debates. All this does for normal americans like myself is steer me away. They all take turns stabbing each other in the back. I want to know what they did in the past. Newts 77 ethical violations whiile speaker of the house seems to say a lot for me. Mitt I like, Perry and Cain are just getting in the way.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  30. bill

    looks like newt is the only bet left for replblicans to stop nominating the first pagan in their party for president. next republicans will be proposing halloween as a national holiday, and a holy day of obligation for witches. witches! yikes – where's o'donnell – she may make the list for VP

    November 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  31. sara

    Romney is arrogant and is not a good debater. Appear to be "annoyed" that he is debating and seems aggitated when he is challenged. Behavior of "entitlement". Gitrich ego is as big as his head. Spits "mumble-jumble" and sticks his chest out as if he is the smartest, while playing with words. Both are a Con Job. Frankly, I'm tired of Romney with his "fake" laughter when it is so condescending. But I guess the priviledged ones Behaves this way.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • ARMYCSM

      @Sara, you nailed that one! Mr.Elite has $250mil of his own money to try to protect at the expense of the middle class.
      Move along there is nothing to see here. Willard has gone back to prepare for his 2016 run.
      Newt.? Just bad news, lies more than FF Romney.

      November 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
      • McKayla

        when a person is to be eteelcd he should be the best there is ,wazz ,and hopefully the best there will ever be .we have to decide who can handle the world this election not just the USA .And if we do that we should do it by how our country was founded by liberty.that is what we are pushing for democracy around the globe .We Cant afford to have a President with Baggage. So I have to Cast my vote for Ron Paul for President

        August 1, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  32. Greg, Ontario

    Wolf why don't you point out what everyone else is thinking about these two. Gingrich has been part of breaking the Washington machine from the inside and Romney from the outside with the lobbying community. Thank god the GOP have no real talent to offer or Obama would be finished.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  33. Griff

    "Glove's off? It's the only way for true gentlemen to shake-hand's. 'We're going to work together this time, and make sure we bring home the bacon!"

    November 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  34. jARIV

    Here is the definition of Amnesty from WikiPedia

    Amnesty (from the Greek ἀμνηστία amnestia, oblivion)[citation needed] is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the offense. The word has the same root as amnesia. Amnesty is more and more used to express 'freedom' and the time when prisoners can go free.

    So... Gingrich is wrong. What his plan will be is Amnesty. No argument there. If you give the ability for an illegal immigrant to stay in this country, no matter what the circumstances or how you do it, it is called amnesty.

    Bad Gingrich !!!!! No Gingrich 2012 !!

    November 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • AB

      Okay jARIV, let us just say that we deport all of the illegal immigrants including the ones that work to death in the farms and ranches, the fast food centers, the multitude of low level cleaners and so forth..what do we really gain by doing this? Yes, these people who work a low wage job and actually serve society deserve a legal path to citizenship. But the solution is not throwing them out, but instead provide amnesty to the crime of being illegally present. This can easily be done state by state on the basis of a) compulsory employment up to 5 years by the armed forces including the national guard under various categories , b) Serving the construction and infrastructure projects throughout the country with the goal of nation building , c) work with govt funded non profits including low level wage jobs at the government hospitals for a fixed numner of years. We need manpower. Throwing these folks away will destroy business. We are not nazis to impose such ridiculous laws as Arizona and Alabama. Tell me, what is your solution to this, apart from throwing them out of the country.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  35. George Samuels

    Gingrich somewhat reminds me of President William Howard Taft. He needs to exercise. His wight is apparent but his positions on various matters is not.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • babs

      He's just fattening-up for the slaughter.

      December 1, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  36. Jim Thomas

    They will not be the ones anyway.With Cain out I think it will be Bachman and Paul.They are both intelligant and strong.As long as they care about the little people and not every country in the world instead of the USA.Jim Thomas Phx.Az.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • frieda406

      bachman and paul? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. wiping tears from eyes. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. thank you. best laugh i've had all day.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
      • Matt

        I can agree with Ron Paul. Bachman is a joke

        December 1, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • skarphace

      Bachmann? Intelligent? Huh?

      November 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Jake Green

      Bachmann intelligent? If you're thinking that, I'm worried about the state of America. Paul would make a good candidate but it's apparent he won't win (as he hasn't the last two attempts). Gingrich essentially caused the collapse of the economy through the Freddie Mac incident, and Romney is a flip flopper. I don't particularly see any good candidates in the race other than Huntsman, who at least is intelligent and has foreign policy experience, and thus the GOP won't vote for him. Nobody for 2012.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
      • Robert - Atlanta

        How did Freddie and Fannie collapse the world economy? In case you haven’t noticed Europe and Asia are in worse trouble than we are. Corrupt politicians, mega-corporations and their lobbyists like Newt made billions off the rest of us! We’re all broke and unemployed and they are still RICH!

        December 1, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • AB

      Jim, what makes you think Bachmann is intelligent? You make stupid comments once...America understands, but she always makes idiotic comments that have no factual basis..She said the HPV vaccine causes serious side effects which is absolute exaggeration..She then said homosexuality can be treated! What?! She is a lousy candidate for president and does match the compassionate conservative credentials that the great Ron Reagan espoused.... Paul is definitely smart but way too conciliatory in terms of foreign policy....I always wonder what his leadership style is...Is it whining?!

      November 30, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
      • AB

        Jim, what makes you think Bachmann is intelligent? You make stupid comments once...America understands, but she always makes idiotic comments that have no factual basis..She said the HPV vaccine causes serious side effects which is absolute exaggeration..She then said homosexuality can be treated! What?! She is a lousy candidate for president and does not match the compassionate conservative credentials that the great Ron Reagan espoused.... Paul is definitely smart but way too conciliatory in terms of foreign policy....I always wonder what his leadership style is...Is it whining?!

        November 30, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • carlos

      That's a Ron Paul idea, take care of American people and not other countries people. For this reason is that some ignorants say it means isolation. Backman is the same bad thing as Cain, Rommey and the rest of GOP losers (except Paul)

      November 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
      • Greg, Ontario

        Although Paul is probably the only honest politician in all of America and is right about it's situation, his remedies are out in la la land. America is connected to a global market and the Fed (he wants to get rid of it) is a major part of that connection. You can't just take over and say we are going back to the gold standard. He knows Corporate America would never stand for the closing of bases around the world. Get out of the money and oil based wars? Sure that makes sense when you are losing both oil and money (not to mention the lives lost and mangled) but pulling out of NATO etc that's just dreaming.

        December 1, 2011 at 11:15 am |

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