OSKALOOSA, Iowa -- Newt Gingrich accused Mitt Romney Tuesday of running “negative smear campaigns,” and challenged the former Massachusetts governor to speak out publicly against Super PACs running negative ads.
“I don’t object to being out spent, I object to lies. I object to negative smear campaigns and I object to things the candidate himself refuses to support,” Gingrich told the media after a speech at Al-Jon manufacturing in Ottumwa.
Gingrich said Romney’s comments on Morning Joe Tuesday morning about not having control over his Super PACs “are palpably misleading, clearly false, and are politics in its worst form.”
“I’m not allowed to communicate with the super PAC in any way, shape or form,” Romney said on MSNBC this morning and acknowledged there are flaws with the Super PAC system.
But Gingrich said the PAC, Restore Our Future, was created by and funded by Romney’s friends and former staff. “If he wants to stop it, he can say publically…he can demand that every ad be positive.”
“Understand, these are his people running his ads, doing his dirty work while he pretends to be above it,” Gingrich noted.
Restore Our Future has been hammering Gingrich both on TV and in the mail for the past few weeks, linking the former House Speaker to Nancy Pelosi, labeling him as a “flip-flopper” and saying President Barack Obama wants to run against Newt.
“I think these guys hire consultants who just sit around, get drunk and write really stupid ads. I am so fed up with this stuff,” Gingrich admitted to about 100 people in the crowd.
The Speaker has vowed to run a positive campaign and allow Iowans and Americans “render judgment” between which campaign style they prefer: negative or positive. To that end, Gingrich, who's vowed to steer clear of negative campaigning, launched a petition online Tuesday asking fellow candidates to tell supporters not to donate to super PACs that go dirty.
“They can’t hit me with enough negative ads to make me go negative,” told a crowd at Smokey Row, a local coffee shop here.
Gingrich holds one more event in Iowa today and will receive the endorsements of both the Speaker of the House of Iowa and New Hampshire tomorrow at the state capitol in Des Moines.