And I had -- I don't know how you debate a person with civility if they're prepared to say things that are just plain factually false. And that's going to become a key part of this. I think the Republican establishment believes it's OK to say and do virtually anything to stop a genuine insurgency from winning because they are very afraid of losing control of the old order.
We tried a moderate in 1996 for president. He lost. We tried a moderate in 2008 for president. He lost. It's very hard to take Romneycare and Obamacare and have a debate and have the Republican win that debate. You need to have a conservative who is a very big distance away from Obama, because you've got to have the space so that, in fact, you can communicate with the American people.
TAPPER: I want to follow up on some of these comments you're making about Mitt Romney. The race has taken something of a nasty turn. Here's an ad that you are currently running in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): What kind of man would mislead, distort and deceive just to win an election? This man would, Mitt Romney. If we can't trust what Mitt Romney says about his own record, how can we trust him on anything?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: It sounds as if you're saying in that ad, and here this morning, that Mitt Romney is unfit and does not have the character to be president.
GINGRICH: I am saying that he would not be where he is today, the debates this week wouldn't have been where they were, if he had told the truth. And I think that's a very serious problem for somebody. I think that you look at -- again, he's supposedly a great manager, yet he can't explain 23 different foreign accounts that weren't reported. He's a great manager. He can't explain being on the board of directors of the company which got the largest Medicare fine in history for fraud?
Somehow, every time it's bad, he didn't know about it or he wasn't aware about it. He didn't really understand the Planned Parenthood by law, the largest abortion provider in the United States, is in Romneycare? Romneycare literally defines Planned Parenthood in a key -- in a part of the bill. He didn't seem to quite know it.
Every time you turn around, this great manager consistently doesn't understand whatever it is that would have hurt him. And you just have to look back and say, why can't you be candid with the American people? You cannot be president of the United States if you cannot be honest and candid with the American people. And that's compounded, frankly, by a number of the ads he runs, which are just plain false.
TAPPER: So you're saying that he does not have the character to be president of the United States, because he's, in your view, not honest.
GINGRICH: I'm saying it is a very -- it's a -- it is a very serious problem when you have somebody who on item after item after item -- I mean, the clip you had just now, he knows what he said in that clip is not true. I did not resign in disgrace. I did not pay a fine. And, in fact, CNN ran an entire piece recently in which they pointed out that on every single substantive count in the ethics investigation, every single one, that I was vindicated, including vindication by a federal judge, vindication by the Internal Revenue Service, vindication by the Federal Elections Commission. Now, Romney knows that.
TAPPER: Well, the clip -- the clip...
GINGRICH: So he's run a campaign of vilification.