JOHNSTON — GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Thursday he plans to stay positive throughout the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses with the belief that Iowans “will render judgment against negative ads.”
Speaking on two separate Iowa Public Television news programs, Gingrich said he is a “genuine change agent” who will shake up the political establishment of both parties even though he has been a Washington insider.
The former House speaker said he has risen to the status of frontrunner because he has concentrated on being the candidate of ideas that has shone through during a number of nationally televised debate performances where he generally has resisted attacking his rivals “despite temptations.”
“This is a great gamble,” Gingrich said of his positive campaign strategy that he admitted he sometimes “chafes under” during his IPTV appearances. “It’s an act of faith with the American people.”
Gingrich said the race in Iowa is a three-way contest among himself, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas – two rivals who have hit him hard with negative attacks as the Iowa caucus season hits the stretch run. The George representative who left the U.S. House in 1998 said this year is a “very unusual” election cycle and one where he believes Iowans “will be sickened” by millions of dollars of negative ads written by paid media consultants.
If he prevails as the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, he expects a barrage of negative attacks from Democratic incumbent Barack Obama in the general election race – an attack he believes he can weather with a positive campaign.
“I think people are really worried about the country and they want somebody who’s a mature adult,” he said. “I think they have a sense that we’ve tried an amateur for the last three years, he doesn’t know what he’s doing, it’s obvious he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and having somebody who is stable, knowledgeable, who’s actually done it before.”
Gingrich said he would like to win the Jan. 3 caucuses in Iowa, but he believes he can move on by finishing in the top three spots. After that he believes he has to “do well” in New Hampshire – a first-in-the-nation primary that he predicted would knock Romney out of the nominating race if he fails to win that second vote.
“The goal was frankly to get to South Carolina,” he said. “I’ve always thought that once we get to South Carolina and then Florida, I could begin to win the race decisively.”