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Gingrich launches bus tour with sharper words toward foes

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DUBUQUE, IA - Republican presidential candidate former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich addresses a meeting of the Rotary Club during a campaign stop at the Dubuque Golf and Country Club on December 27, 2011 in Dubuque, Iowa.

 

DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Newt Gingrich embarked on his bus tour across the Hawkeye State Tuesday morning, just one week before the Iowa caucuses take place.
 
At his inaugural stop on the “Iowa Jobs and Prosperity Bus Tour” here on the far Northeastern edge of the state, the former House speaker addressed nearly 200 people in a crowded ballroom inside a Dubuque country club and spoke frequently about the negative attacks that continue against him.


 “It's taken great discipline to not run ads that counter them,” Gingrich, whose self-discipline has been questioned during his years in elected office, said in response to the negative television ads and direct mailers.

The Republican presidential field descends on Iowa to make their final pitch to voters. NBC's Peter Alexander reports.

But it wasn’t all positive words that came from the Speaker about his GOP rivals this this afternoon at the Rotary Club of Dubuque meeting.
 
Gingrich took a similar swipe at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, similar to the kind his campaign has been pushing in opposition research emails this week. The speaker said his philosophy was very different from Romney’s.
 
“There is a huge difference between the philosophy of a supply-side conservative in the Reagan tradition and the philosophy of a Massachusetts moderate,” Gingrich said.

At a separate point in his remarks, Gingrich described himself as an adherent of Ronald Reagan's so-called "11th commandment," which commands Republicans to never speak ill of other Republicans.
 
As for Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the speaker said “on foreign policy I am just profoundly different than Ron Paul's view,” citing Gingrich’s belief of the importance of Israel to survive and the need to prevent Iran from using a nuclear weapon.
 
New documents were released Monday on Gingrich’s first divorce contradict the speaker’s story on who filed for divorce years ago. Gingrich has claimed in the past that his wife called for the divorce but the new court documents show he himself did. Gingrich would not comment on these developments today.
 
“It's 30 years old.  You can read my younger daughter's column and talk to her.  She covered it, I think, more than adequately. And that's all I'm going to say on it,” the Speaker told reporters following his roughly 50 minute speech.
 
Gingrich’s bus tour rolls on with two more stops today.