Days before the first debate in the 2012 U.S. election campaign, Republican Newt Gingrich stepped forward to offer presidential challenger Mitt Romney advice on strategy. But how did the public interpret Gingrich's intentions?
On Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces incumbent president Barack Obama for the first of three debates in the 2012 U.S. election campaign. Despite what the news media is deeming a “high stakes” event, both candidates appear outwardly optimistic and focused.
In the days ahead of the debate, former candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich, stepped forward to offer Romney some advice, penning an article for Human Events titled “How to Debate President Obama,” and speaking to media outlets.
As reported by Politico, Gingrich warns Romney to “be vivid,” saying:
I think that there are some people who advise the governor who believe that simple repetition of a mantra will get you there ... And I explicitly don’t believe that. I think you in fact have to engage the American people, which means you have to engage the news media, which means you have to take your mantra and fit it into very specific illustrations that fit that day’s topics.
Similarly, CBS News reports that Gingrich suggests, Romney should be focusing on that kind of big choice [between presidential candidates] – it’s not really right or left so much as it is common sense versus fuzzy ideas.
Public response to Gingrich’s efforts, however, appear to question whether Newt is really the best person to be offering advice. It is not an unfounded question. After all, he himself is not immune to debate blunders, having previously attacked Romney—whom he now appears to support—in a December 2011 debate.
To be fair, Gingrich admits the attack, in which he stated that the only reason Romney was not a career politician was because he had lost the 1994 Senate race to Edward M. Kennedy in Massachusetts (as reported by the New York Times), was a mistake. In an interview with the Des Moines Register he says: I couldn’t help myself. It was too good a line and he had set up too good an opportunity. But I shouldn’t have done it.
That incident aside, a valid point is made by The Blaze regarding Gingrich’s offer of advice: Romney has not consulted him for his opinion (such things are usually done with discretion). Instead, Gingrich has gone through the media to give it.
As a result, this action appears to have led at least some news readers to question his motives. Social commentary left in response to related articles overwhelmingly make statements like, Gingrich, you lost to the guy who lost to John McCain. Why should I or anybody else for [that] matter [care] what your opinion about anything is[?] (member comment from CBS News), and Newt – you lost. Now stop trying to destroy your former opponents (member comment from CNN).
Admittedly though, public opposition can be harsh. It does not necessarily follow that Gingrich’s advice was not earnest and well-meant. It must also be remembered that Romney has not yet responded publicly to his fellow Republican’s offer of advice; there is nothing yet to suggest that he does not appreciate it, and he may very well disagree with such social media commentary as, People should be reminded that Gingrich is like that milk you forgot behind the Orange Juice inside your fridge which expired a long time ago. Do not drink it, it’s curdled, sour, and may be toxic (member comment from Politico).
Whether he takes Gingrich’s advice or not remains to be seen in tomorrow’s debate.