Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
Newt Gingrich is endorsed by Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen and New Hampshire Speaker of the House Bill O'Brien in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday.
Newt Gingrich is endorsed by Iowa Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen and New Hampshire Speaker of the House Bill O'Brien in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday. Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
Newt Gingrich campaigned across Iowa this week to mostly big crowds. And he is planning a 44-stop bus tour that begins after Christmas and leads into the Jan. 3 caucuses.
People in Iowa are concerned about jobs and the cost of doing business — key issues for Gingrich and the Republican Party. But the former House speaker has spent much of his time countering the negative ads running against him in the state.
The pro-Mitt Romney Restore Our Future super PAC hit the airwaves with attacks that challenge Gingrich's record as House speaker and the more than $1.6 million he received as a consultant for Freddie Mac. They tie him to the Democrats and question his positions on immigration and climate change.
As Gingrich campaigned in Iowa, he continued to say he'll remain positive. He's emphatic about it.
Gingrich calls the negative ads "disgraceful" and says his rivals have violated Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment" not to attack another Republican. He got a lot of applause for that line at every campaign stop.
"They can't hit me with enough negative ads to make me go negative because I think it's bad for America," Gingrich said at the Smokey Row Coffee house in Oskaloosa on Tuesday night. "This is why people are sick of Washington."
Gingrich challenged his rivals to take the negative ads off the air. That's not happening.
Instead, Romney says Gingrich should "stop complaining." The former Massachusetts governor says it's the nature of political campaigns to point out distinctions with one another.
"If you can't stand the relatively modest heat in the kitchen right now," Romney said Wednesday while campaigning in New Hampshire, "wait until Obama's hell's kitchen shows up."
Political analysts and voters agree the ads are hurting Gingrich and could erode more of his support.
The former Georgia congressman continues to position himself as the GOP candidate who could get things done in Washington. But he doesn't have the organization, the volunteers or the money that most of his rivals possess.
And with the Iowa caucuses less than two weeks away, he may be running out of time.