FROM FORT DODGE, IOWA –
In the face of negative ads and attacks from his closest pursuers, Newt Gingrich is adopting a strategy of staying positive, as he refuses to be drawn into a classic tit-for-tat battle of negative advertising.
“I know there’s a ton of negative ads,” Gingrich told a crowd gathered at a golf course clubhouse in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
“But I’m not going to spend my time on that stuff.”
Driving to this event from Sioux City though highlighted the risk that Gingrich is taking by not responding with fire, as one ad I heard on the radio from an outside group was blistering attack on Gingrich – the bottom line was that if you nominate Newt, you probably re-elect President Obama.
“I have only one opponent, that’s Barack Obama,” said Gingrich, who never mentioned the names of any of those in the GOP field to a crowded room of interested voters.
“I have a number of friends running – and one opponent – and I’m going to run this campaign on a positive basis,” said Gingrich, who was well known back in his Congressional career for being as rough as anyone in the political debate.
Could it be a risk to stay positive? We’ll see on January 3, when Iowa voters caucus – but when I drove here to Fort Dodge, I heard one of the radio ads being run by an outside group – it hammered Gingrich for 60 seconds.
“Newt has been on all sides of the issues,” the ad said with evident disdain, mentioning Gingrich’s past ad with then Speaker Nancy Pelosi, his work for Freddie Mac and more.
Those type of ads can work – especially if Gingrich isn’t on the air fighting back.
But the former Speaker made clear again today, he’s not going to do that.
He was in a good mood when I ran into him well after his event, surprised to see me many miles away from the Capitol. We’ll see what he does in tonight’s debate.
Photo of Newt Gingrich giving the thumbs up to supporters after speaking to a group in Fort Dodge, Iowa.