Interview with Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker Gingrich questions Romney's honesty and character.
1:51 | 01/29/12

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Transcript for Interview with Newt Gingrich
Miami Herald in Tampa Bay times released a new poll of the race Mitt Romney has opened up his lead over Newt Gingrich and to double digits. 42% to 31% while Rick Santorum trails at 14% Ron Paul. Bringing up the -- at 6% this intensely competitive race is where we Begin the show this morning. Former speaker Newt Gingrich joins us from the Tampa area mr. speaker welcome thanks for being here. Regular music. So as we pointed out last night you held that rally in which he received the endorsement of the terminator Herman Cain but around the same time. That Paul was coming out indicating that even though one point in Florida you were neck and neck with Mitt Romney he seems to have. Opened up his lead why do you think your poll numbers in Florida have collapsed. Well I think didn't quite collapse and the fact is you combine the Santorum vote in the Gingrich -- we closure of the conservative. A combined would would clearly be. Romney I think -- he's run a relentlessly negative campaign negative ads have an impact. We have not been as effective. In telling the truth as he has been running as those that civil would you had to be pulled because there was -- an accurate. But the fact is this this race is going to go on. The conservatives clearly are rejecting Romney he is nowhere near getting a majority in the fact is once he -- -- on Florida these are all proportional representation states. And he's not to be anywhere near a majority by April and so this this is gonna go on all the way to the convention. I think clearly the conservatives and the grass roots are increasingly angry. About the way in which the Washington establishment has rallied in many ways with complete dishonesty is Rush Limbaugh pointed out the other day. Some of the articles on the attacks and -- have been. Breathtakingly dishonest and I think is that deepens and -- conservatives have come together. And decide they do not want -- Massachusetts liberal. To be the Republican nominee. I want to follow up on two items he just said their first of -- like to get some clarification yesterday and this morning you said you'll go all the way to convention you obviously expect to win the nomination. But are you saying you're going to stay in the race. No matter what even if someone else. A Arab masses more delegates than you or you just is this just more -- -- that you're gonna win you're gonna go to the convention. I'll say first of all of there's no evidence anywhere that Romney is getting to getting anywhere near 50%. Gradually conservatives are consolidating I was very grateful to have. Governor Rick Perry's endorsement I was very grateful last night to have -- -- endorsement. -- governor Sarah Palin's comments have been very helpful Todd Palin's endorsement has been helpful Monday. Mike Reagan is going to be campaigning with me here Fred Thompson has endorsed me so as you look around you see an awful lot of grassroots conservatives coming together. Rudy Giuliani made some very strong statements yesterday pointing out that. I'm much more the Reagan conservative and that Mitt Romney is not a conservative. So I think you're gonna see a continued movement. The basically says and were down basically to the fewer conservatives are are the better we're doing. The clearer the debate gets some more obvious -- you've got to look you have a governor of Massachusetts. Who was pro abortion. He was pro tax increase he was pro gun control he can't even remember his own voting record. The debate -- and I what he said was just plain false. He voted for a Democrat in 1992 the most liberal Democrat he gave money to Democrats. He and it was never part of the Reagan movement never part of conservatism in America. Is that becomes clearer I think that he's not gonna get the nomination and my hope is the gradually conservatives will come together. And decide that they Newt Gingrich conservatism. Is dramatically better than Mitt Romney's liberals. In many ways you are where your because of your debate performances. Last week you had a couple that were not your strongest to say the least why do you think that was what happened. I was amazed. And I'm standing next -- a guy who is the the most blatantly dishonest answers. I can remember and any presidential race -- in in in my lifetime and I've I've seen I think every presidential debate. -- presidential campaign debate -- virtually everyone in and you know he would he would say things or just plain natural look there's a little bit like yesterday's LA times report. We now found 23 foreign accounts he never reported and -- who released his taxes. Things safely in he would -- thing after thing after thing -- just -- wasn't true and I had. I don't know how you debate a person with civility. If they're prepared to say things are just plain factually false and that's gonna become a key part of this -- I think than the Republican establishment. Believes its okay 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 try to moderate 1996 for president he lost. We try to moderate in 2008 for president he lost very hard to -- Romney care and obamacare. And have a debate and have the Republican win that debate. You need to have a conservative who has 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. I want to follow up on some of these comments are making about Mitt Romney. The race has taken something of a nasty turn here's an ad that you are currently running in Florida. What. Kind of man would mislead distorts. Just to win an election this man and -- one. If we can't trust what Mitt Romney says about his own record how can we trust him on anything. It sounds as if you're saying and then add in here this morning. That Mitt Romney is unfit and does not have the character to be present. I'm saying that he would not be -- today the debates this week wouldn't have been where they were if he had told the truth. I think that's a very serious problem for -- but I think that that you look at again he supposedly great manager. Yet he can't explain 23 different foreign accounts the weren't there weren't reported. He's a great manager he can't explain being on 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 was -- about. He didn't really understand the Planned Parenthood. By law the largest abortion provider and United States is in Romney -- Romney can literally defines. Planned Parenthood in a key in a part of the bill he didn't seem to quite know it. Everytime -- turn around this great manager. Consistently doesn't understand whatever it is that would have hurt him -- just have to look back and say what why can't you be candid. With you -- you cannot be president states. If you cannot be honest and candid with the American people. And -- that's compounded frankly by an over the edge he runs which just plain false so you're saying that he. Does not have the character to be president of the United States the because he's in in your view -- but autonomy is a very it's a very. And is a very serious problem. When you have somebody who on item after item after item -- -- did that the clip you are just now. He knows what he's said in that clip is not true. I did not resign in disgrace I did not pay a fine. In fact CNN ran in -- piece recently which they pointed out that on every single sex substantive count in the ethics investigation every single. That I was vindicated including vindication by a federal judge vindication by the Internal Revenue Service vindication of the Federal Election Commission now. Romney knows that. With a click on the run a campaign of vilification the clip I just -- is actually one of your ads but let's get to that Romney -- that you're talking out about her -- earlier -- -- And -- at the clip you showed of him campaigning yesterday got what he said yesterday this one from there -- and so at some point. I don't quite I don't like to be -- -- I don't quite know how you deal with an opponent. As you wanted to kill them with civility you wanted to -- them a positive way I wanna talk about big issues. I talked about space this week which I think it's important for the country's future I talked about housing -- talked about creating jobs. I talked about the record -- -- working with Ronald Reagan to create jobs -- -- I had working with Bill Clinton to create jobs. We talked about welfare reform is the first -- entitlement reform. That all sorts of positive things we have a proposals Social Security. Which would allow every young American the option of having a personal Social Security count on the model of Galveston Texas in the country of -- So a lot of positive things -- if you'll notice when you get outside the zone where Romney carpet bombs and Wall Street money. And you look at what's happening rustic country I'm ahead in all three national polls -- released this week and -- by a big margin is become the positive ideas. I represent real change in Washington -- represented unleashing the spirit of the American people to get us back as a country rebuild in the country we love. And when we get to a positive idea campaign -- consistently -- but it's only one -- -- -- money to focus on carpet bombing with negative ads that he needs any traction at all. Let's talk about one of those -- -- one of those big ideas you view in Florida. Gave a big policy speech in which you called for a colony on the moon by the end of your second term as you know. That speech has become fodder -- some late night. Comedians here's Jon Stewart turned. Maybe. There's illusion of being accused of -- -- city is. Give me years and -- have -- and only. You start with a -- already got kind of -- Okay -- and on on a more serious note. Here's Mitt Romany. At the debate responding to that idea. I spent 45 years in business. -- if I had a business executive come to me and say they want to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon. I say -- fired I wanted to get enough I wanted to give me an opportunity to respond to the criticism this this is a -- -- view that grand beyond city that Rick Santorum referred to you. And that does make some Republicans uneasy people who want to support you but who think that you. Open yourself up to ridicule with ideas like this you have any response to the criticism. Sure sure first of all Greta Van Susteren I thought had the most uninteresting insight she said you know in 1961. When John F. Kennedy operative similarly big bold idea. There was remarkably less skepticism remarkably less doubt remarkably less rejection. And she -- a question what does -- say about the culture of our elites that somebody who wants to get America moving again somebody wants to do something big and bold. Somehow they can't quite imagine breaking out of the timidity and the decay. You know -- run for six years. And his -- his message on the space coast this week. Was he would assemble a group of experts to think about what he might do as president someday possibly. I'm very different. I think that we can in fact fix Social Security with a bold new plan. I think that we can in fact we launched the country with an American energy plan. The jet that lowers the price of gasoline generate huge amounts of revenue for the federal government creates -- millions of American jobs. I think we can in fact use the private sector and modern science to have a bold programs face I never said will be a government program. But I so I do believe a president whose visionary a president who believes in America's greatness the president is willing to do. Launch big projects and rally the American people to big ideas you know Eisenhower -- interstate highway system we all drive on -- now. I suspect if I propose that Mitt Romney -- -- -- that's way too expensive let me study carefully to lane highways. This is a perfect example the difference in the two candidacies he is a manager who manage the decay. I am a leader who has a vision of a bold exciting American future where we change Washington decisively and there's a good reason the Washington establishment is afraid of me. I will in fact lead the American people to change Washington. Romney will in fact hang out with his establishment friends managing the decay and explain to the rest of us why that's the best hope we have. We're running out of time but I do want to get your response to a couple other things in the news one is this new campaign -- from the from the Romney campaign. Which deals with ethics allegations lodged against you while you were speaker of the house take a look. Tonight he has on his own record of good judgment atmosphere -- Democrat and Republican alike by an overwhelming vote. They found him guilty of ethics violations. They charge -- a very large financial penalty and they raised several of them to raise serious questions about his future effectiveness. -- And I approve this message there mister speaker of course as you already pointed out what that ad. Did not point out. Is two years later the IRS investigated the matter in -- -- of any wrongdoing but at the very least. Does this -- not illustrates. That if you were the Republican nominee President Obama would have no shortage of ammunition with which to attack -- Her book whoever gets to vote -- nominee there's going to be attacked by Obama's billion dollar attacked him. That's gonna happen to Romney. The union -- not they have I was Swiss bank accounts -- not be attacked by Obama. It's gonna happen to getting -- you happen to Santorum what happened. To Ron Paul whoever we nominate Obama is gonna attack the question is. Can you withstand that -- better as a solid conservative. Or as a moderate I would argue that a Massachusetts moderate is very unlikely to be -- -- the attack the conservative would have a better job. But but to go back that example. NBC of course is asked him take -- down and so you know -- use it. And it's it's fundamentally false it's typical of this whole campaign. He knows. And CNN has reported in great detail and the Wall Street Journal editorialized Saturday. That this is a purely phony charge. I was attacked 84 times whether Democrats because I -- the Republican Party out of the wilderness and for the first time in forty Israel majority. Every single one of the substantive charges was -- -- thrown out. Period I -- and after that was done I asked Republicans to vote yes. Disney had to get this behind us after that was done we passed the first tax increase attempt first tax cut. In sixteen years the largest capital gains tax cut in history. But unemployment down to four point 2% passed a balanced budget act of 1997. As a result of which there were four consecutive balanced budgets. The only time in your lifetime. We've had four consecutive balanced budgets all of this is wiped away by -- by Romney's totally phony history which he will not directly continues to repeat. And I can assure you that all the way to the convention we're gonna have a fight over whether or not somebody can be fundamentally dishonest. And try to hide their liberal record in Massachusetts and trying to hide their past in terms of voting for Democrats. And yet to be the nominee I think he's in the -- he can carpet -- -- -- millions and millions and millions of dollars of Wall Street money. That's what he's done here. But in the end I think the American people are gonna want somebody who's a conservative. Somebody who's been consistent to -- whole career somebody who tells the truth. And I think that they don't somebody who has a visionary -- who wants to change Washington not somebody who wants to accommodate. The speaker Gingrich has just for the record I think two of those four balanced budgets were under -- bit but moving on we have what time for one last question in that is. Are you taught -- for just for the record that's -- -- All four of those came out of the 1997 balanced budget. I'll -- you took a lot of heat about a week ago for calling President Obama the food stamp president it's not. But it's not a new charge but here's what President Obama had to -- to Diane Sawyer this week. When asked about that charged by. The American people are gonna make a judgment about you know who's trying to bring the country together and -- dividing who. Is. You know tapping into. -- -- worst instincts and you know that's ultimately going to be a judgment for the American people. Last question sir amidst -- many of president Obama's allies suggesting that food stamp president is using racial code. President Obama is suggesting that charge is quote tapping into our worst instincts howdy -- -- while. -- for a president who runs around the country attacking people and who runs around the country being divisive. To describe worst instincts -- to describe a large part of his own presidency. I describe something which is factually true. His failed economic policies have forced more Americans to apply for food stamps than any president in history. I work twice once with a Democrat Bill Clinton wants -- Republican Ronald Reagan in those two cycles 27 million jobs were created. I would like to campaign this fall as a paycheck president offering the American people program to create jobs. He kill jobs as recently as last week with the Keystone Pipeline decision. I think he doesn't want to defend his record of killing jobs he doesn't want to defend his record of putting people on food stamps. The paychecks -- food stamps is a total and it is it legitimate choice to offer the American people. And 1 which I am determined to make a major part of the fall campaign speaker Gingrich thank you so much for your time and good luck on an index. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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