Over the last week, the
But this week, Iowa Republicans are finding a nasty brochure from a pro-Gingrich super PAC in their mailboxes. It describes former Massachusetts Gov.
"Don't let Romney backers mislead you!" says the flier, published by Strong America Now.
After a town-hall meeting at the Southbridge Mall here on the second day of a three-day bus tour across the state, reporters asked Gingrich how he reconciled his promise to take the high road with the anti-Romney brochure.
"I would discourage them not to do that anymore," the former House speaker said. "I think that's not right. Again, I don't control them."
Just days earlier, when Romney said he had no control over super PACS that support him, Gingrich reacted harshly, calling Romney's defense "palpably misleading, clearly false and ... politics in its worst form." He added, "These are his people running his ads, doing his dirty work while he pretends to be above it."
With the first voting of the 2012 presidential campaign less than a week away, the three candidates bunched at the top of the polls in Iowa, Gingrich, Romney and
On Tuesday, Gingrich, dropping any pretense of civility, went after Paul during an interview on
"I think Ron Paul's views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American," Gingrich said.
Asked Wednesday whether it's a double standard to attack Paul while proclaiming that he's refraining from negative campaigning, Gingrich said, "You can fight in a positive way. It's good for America to see someone fight in a positive way and not degenerate into the kind of junk you've seen on TV recently."
Gingrich also said he would like to be on the ballot in his home state, Virginia, but is not prepared to file a lawsuit as Texas Gov.
"I would like to be on the ballot or I'd like for the Legislature to give me the ability to have a write-in campaign," Gingrich said. "Every poll in Virginia shows me beating Romney, so I would love to be able to at least have a write-in campaign. I haven't talked to our attorneys."
While voters at the town hall asked Gingrich about his positions on education, child labor, how he would keep God in civic life and his position on North Korea, reporters pressed him to elaborate on a story to be published in Sunday's
"We'd been campaigning very hard," he said. "And we'd planned for a long time to stop for 10 days to think. Again, I know this doesn't fit the normal media model of how candidates operate. I think you need to pace yourself."
Sandra Pippert, a retired special-education teacher who farms grain here in northern Iowa, is typical of the voters Gingrich has been wooing this week.
She said she likes Gingrich, Perry and Minnesota Rep.