Gingrich plotting revenge after Iowa
04 January 2012, 15:06
Des Moines - Bruised, battered and defiant, Newt
Gingrich limped out of Iowa after a fourth-place finish in the state's
Republican presidential contest on Tuesday. But he is still alive.
by plummeting poll numbers in recent days, Gingrich is likely now to
hold on until the South Carolina primary on January 21 and hope for the
backing of conservatives there.
His main rival, Mitt Romney, is
expected to handily win the next vote, in New Hampshire on January 10,
leaving South Carolina as the main battleground in the early balloting
for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Barack
Obama in the November election.
Gingrich lashed out at Romney, a
former Massachusetts governor, who has been linked to some of the
toughest attack ads that toppled the former House of Representatives
speaker from the top place in the Iowa polls.
Gingrich blamed SuperPAC fundraising groups linked to Romney and libertarian Ron Paul for the negative TV ads.
"Together I think we survived the biggest onslaught in the history of the Iowa primary," Gingrich said.
aren't going to go out and run nasty ads," Gingrich told supporters
after it became clear he had won just 13% of the Iowa vote.
do reserve the right to tell the truth. And if the truth seems
negative, that may be more a comment on [Romney's] record than it is on
politics," he said.
"We will have one other great debate and that
is whether this party wants a Reagan conservative who helped change
Washington in the 1980s ...," Gingrich said.
"Somebody who is
into changing Washington or we want a Massachusetts moderate who in fact
would be pretty good at managing the decay but has given no evidence in
his years in Massachusetts of any ability to change the culture, or
change the political structure, or change the government."
Romney and social conservative Rick Santorum were running neck-and-neck in the caucuses, each with 25% of the vote.
Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Centre, said
he doubted Gingrich could last long beyond South Carolina.
"He can carry on a bit more maybe through South Carolina but he doesn't have the juice," Smith said.
Gingrich says it is well-funded, having raised about $10m in the last
quarter of 2011. The candidate could get back in the game as soon as
this weekend with two debates, which plays to his strengths.
the 68-year-old Gingrich looked under pressure in the run-up to the Iowa
vote, tearing up at an event when talking about his late mother. And he
has begun to go back on his vow not to launch negative attacks on
Newt attacks back
Gingrich took out a
full-page ad in Wednesday's Union-Leader newspaper in New Hampshire
comparing "Bold Reagan Conservative" Gingrich with "Timid Massachusetts
The ad lays out Gingrich's argument that he is
the more reliable conservative on a host of issues from jobs to taxes to
abortion and guns.
Republican strategists say Gingrich should
have already begun an effort to respond to negative attacks and wonder
if it is coming too late.
"He has not run a very good campaign,"
said Todd Harris, who has advised several Republican political
campaigns. "There's no apparent strategy. There's no apparent message."
Gingrich accused Romney on Tuesday of lying over backing negative ads against him.
ads highlighted Gingrich's career as a Washington insider and put into
the spotlight the ethics violations that came about at the end of his
time as speaker of the US House of Representatives in the 1990s.
millions of dollars in ads literally sliced Gingrich's support in the
polls in half, whittling him down from the leader to an also-ran far
from the top finishers.
Gingrich has acted as his own top
strategist and has tried to wage an unconventional campaign focusing on
his ideas and limiting the personal attacks against his rivals.
benefited from his brainy performances at Republican presidential
candidate debates, and appears to have suffered since in the absence of
debates over the last three weeks.
"Listen, you've got to give
Newt credit," said Republican strategist Charlie Black, who was a top
aide to Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.
guy went out there completely by himself, and with great debate
performances got into first place in the race. But without a campaign
underneath you, an infrastructure with senior staff and a financial
organization, you can't compete."
Walker said plans are under way
to highlight Gingrich's record as House speaker in the mid-1990s, when
he was the co-author of the "Contract With America" that helped
Republicans win control of Congress.
"I think he is going to be
begin to define who Mitt Romney really is and juxtapose his record
against his own," said Rick Tyler, who is a senior adviser to Gingrich's
SuperPAC, his outside political action committee.