Politically Punchy: 'Phony,' 'Unbecoming' - a Rundown of the Romney-Gingrich Slugfest

Paul Sancya/AP Photo

It has been a mere three days since GOP front-runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich duked it out on the Florida debate stage. But while the nationally televised battle was bloody, the offstage slugfest has been nothing less than brutal.

With  one day of campaigning left before the Florida primary, here's a look at some of the more venomous attacks these GOP big-hitters have launched on the Florida airwaves and the campaign trail since Thursday.

Throwing the Punches Taking the Hits Latest Line of Attack
Newt Gingrich Mitt Romney 'Trying to Buy the Election': Gingrich upped his attack on Romney's character Monday, telling ABC that the former Massachusetts governor is "trying to buy the election" with money from Wall Street. Gingrich added that Romney has a "profound character problem."
Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich ' Selling Influence': Romney offered this explanation for why Gingrich was falling behind in Florida polls: "Your problem in Florida is that you worked for Freddie Mac at a time that Freddie Mac was not doing the right thing for the American people," Romney said Sunday at a packed rally in Naples. "And that you're selling influence in Washington at a time when we need people who will stand up for the truth in Washington."
Newt Gingrich Mitt Romney 'Mislead, Distort and Deceive': Gingrich aimed to counter a lackluster performance at Thursday's debate by releasing a brutal ad against Romney Friday morning. "What kind of man would mislead, distort and deceive just to win an election? This man would: Mitt Romney," the ad's narrator says. The ad accuses Romney of lying at least twice in the debate - once about voting for "liberal Democrat" Paul Tsongas in 1992 and once about his Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac investments being part of a blind trust.
Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich 'Goldilocks': "Speaker Gingrich said of the debate … that the crowd wasn't allowed to cheer, and so he couldn't do so well, 'cause the crowd was too quiet," Romney said Friday. "Then, last night, he thought the crowd was too loud. … It's like Goldilocks, you know: His porridge is too hot, the porridge is too cold." At the first Florida debate, held last Monday, the audience was not allowed to applaud, prompting Gingrich to criticize NBC moderator Brian Williams. At the second Florida debate on Thursday, moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, that gag order was lifted.
Newt Gingrich Mitt Romney 'Totally Dishonest': Gingrich said Saturday that his debate performance on Thursday fell short because his opponent was being "totally dishonest. You cannot debate somebody who is dishonest. You just can't," Gingrich said. "The people say I'm a good debater. I can't debate somebody who won't tell the truth."
Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich 'Look In the Mirror': Romney suggested that Gingrich "look in the mirror" to discover why his message is not resonating in Florida. "[Gingrich is] now finding excuses everywhere he can," Romney said at a rally Sunday. "The excuses are over, it's time to produce. If we failed somewhere, if we failed the debate, if we failed to get the support of people, it's time to look in the mirror."
Newt Gingrich Mitt Romney 'Misled the Entire Country': Gingrich said today on Good Morning America that Romney "misled the entire country in the last debate… on a whole range of things" including the Swiss bank accounts he failed to disclose on his financial forms. Gingrich added: "In the long run the Republican Party is not going to nominate the founder of Romneycare. It ain't gonnna happen."
Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich 'He Can't Rewrite History': On Saturday Romney accused Gingrich of trying to "rewrite history," particularly the history of his ethics investigation, to get elected. "I'm running against Speaker Gingrich, for instance, a very nice fellow and he's a historian, but that doesn't give him the right to rewrite history," Romney said. "We have to go back and look at history and say he may be a great guy with a lot of great ideas, but he is not the leader we need in a critical time."
Newt Gingrich Mitt Romney 'Massachusetts Moderate': Gingrich has seized upon Romney's more moderate positions as Massachusetts governor to portray the former governor as President Obama's political twin."Why would anybody in the establishment think that a Massachusetts moderate, which is a liberal by Republican standards - pro-abortion, pro gun control, pro tax increase, pro gay rights - why would they think that he's going to be able to debate Barack Obama?" Gingrich said Monday.
Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich 'Resigned in Disgrace': A go-to line for Romney on the campaign trail has been that Gingrich "resigned in disgrace" from his post as House speaker following an ethics investigation. "We allowed him to lead our party and some of us remember, oh yeah, the Contract With America, that was a good thing. We took over the House, that was great news," Romney said Saturday. "What happened four years later? Well, he was fined for ethics violations. He ultimately had to resign in disgrace."
Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich 'Guilty of Ethics Violations': The Romney campaign released an ad Saturday attacking Gingrich over his House ethics investigation. The ad plays a 1997 newscast of NBC's Tom Brokaw announcing that Gingrich's peers in the House "found him guilty of ethics violations," charged him a "very large financial penalty" and "raised serious questions" about his future as House speaker.
Newt Gingrich Mitt Romney 'Purely Phony': Gingrich said Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week" that Romney's ad pointing out his House ethics investigation was "fundamentally false" and a "purely phony charge." In a statement Saturday, Gingrich said the ad was "another big lie from the Romney campaign. What the Romney campaign is hoping the American people don't remember," the statement said, "is that in 1999, the IRS cleared Speaker Gingrich of the substance of the ethics committee investigation."
Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich 'Flailing About': Romney said Gingrich's attacks show that the former speaker is "recognizing he's in trouble." Romney told ABC's Emily Friedman in Pompano Beach, Fla., Sunday night, "As I watch Speaker Gingrich flailing about and casting about and attacking, I have to think that he's seeing a diminution of support and recognizing he's in trouble here."
Newt Gingrich Mitt Romney 'Maniacally' and 'Fundamentally Dishonest': Gingrich went after Romney's  character Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week," saying his opponent's character was "a very serious problem." The former speaker accused Romney of launching "blatantly dishonest" attacks based on "totally phony history, which he maniacally continues to repeat."
Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich 'Sad' and 'Unbecoming': Responding to Gingrich's character attacks, Romney told ABC's Emily Friedman Sunday night, "It's one thing to talk about differences on issues and go back and forth on our respective views, but for the speaker to launch an assault on another person's character is really unbecoming, and I think sad and painfully revealing of his own shortcomings."
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