Still fighting an avalanche of negative ads in Iowa, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich appealed to Iowa voters to “change American politics” by rejecting radio and television attacks that have pushed Gingrich back in the polls here in the Hawkeye State.
“Business as usual would be for the negative ads to work,” Gingrich told supporters at a restaurant in Waterloo, as he urged Iowa voters to grasp the latest message from a new Des Moines Register poll.
“41 percent of the voters indicated they might well change their vote between now and Tuesday night,” said Gingrich.
There were a number of his backers out at the three different stops on Sunday, though it was hard to gauge whether Gingrich was having any success generating new support as the airwaves continued to sizzle with ads against his candidacy.
It was just a few weeks ago that Gingrich was leading in all of the polls in Iowa – now some surveys have him back in fourth place, behind the surging Rick Santorum.
At an event in Ames, Gingrich worked a standing room only crowd at a sports bar where the Vikings and Packers games were muted for a few minutes while Gingrich did a live interview with Fox News from a back room.
As for Gingrich’s backers, some of them echoed his protests against tough ads that even Gingrich admits he should have responded to much earlier.
“He has remained very positive in his campaign,” said Tom Kuyper, a Republican from Ames.
“The opponent has always been President Obama,” Kuyper added, saying he’s been a fan of Gingrich’s since the days of the Contract With America.
But not everyone at the West Towne Pub was ready to vote for Gingrich.
“There would be nothing more fun than to watch Gingrich and Obama debate each other,” said Jim Grove, another Iowa Republican.
“But I think the problem for me is some of what some people call baggage,” said Grove, echoing concerns raised by critics of Gingrich’s time in Congress and other matters.
“I’m worried there would be an issue about Independents supporting him,” said Grove, who admitted he was at the event only to see Gingrich, but not to support him.
“I probably have two that are neck and neck,” said Grove, telling me he would likely vote either for Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry.
Just like many Iowa Republicans, it was another voter who likes the idea of defeating President Obama, but just can’t seem to figure out the best candidate to back in the Tuesday caucuses.