MOUNT DORA, FL -- An admittedly "infuriated" Newt Gingrich launched a full-on attack against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whom the former speaker blamed for negative attacks in the primary campaign.
“I am angry. But I think I'm angry and every American should be angry,” Gingrich told reporters following a speech during which he hit Romney harder than he ever has in the past. “How can somebody run a campaign this dishonest and think he's going to have any credibility running for president?”
The Republican presidential race in Florida is shaping up as a showdown between Romney and Gingrich -- both candidates need a win -- with many polls showing the two neck-and-neck right now. Gingrich is trying to paint Romney as the “establishment” candidate while Romney tries to cast Gingrich as a lobbyist.
“This is the desperate last stand of the old order throwing the kitchen sink,” Gingrich told the roughly 1,500 people in attendance at a Tea Party rally Thursday morning acknowledging that he is taking a more “blunt” approach towards Romney. “I’m here as a citizen and I frankly don’t care what the Washington establishment thinks of me because I intend to change them.”
The former House speaker said that, ultimately, the people will decide who they wish to nominate and acknowledged he would live with their decisions as long as they had all the information on both he and Romney.
Both the Romney campaign and the pro-Romney Super PAC are running negative ads about Gingrich that the Speaker says are false.
“Let's be really clear, your’re watching ads paid for with the money taken from the people of Florida by companies like Goldman Sachs, recycled back into ads to try to stop you from having a choice in this election,” he said.
One message should be given to Romney from Floridians, Gingrich told the massive crowd with Lake Dora to his back: “we aren't that stupid and you aren't that clever.”
How important is Florida? The Romney campaign even has surrogates available for comment at Gingrich’s events in the Sunshine State.
With just a few hours until tonight's debate, the final one before the primary on Jan. 31, Gingrich seems to be unleashing a new side of himself, a side that is fed up with his chief GOP rival.
“I can promise you I am going to fight every day from here until we win the nomination because I am not going to allow the moneyed interests that are buying those ads to come in here and to come into other states to misinform people and then to think we are too dumb to fight back,” Gingrich vowed to the crowd.