Gingrich claim of taking the high road omits facts

AP News
Posted: Dec 15, 2011 2:12 PM
Gingrich claim of taking the high road omits facts

TITLE: "We Deserve Solutions."

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: Iowa broadcast and cable networks

KEY IMAGES: Newt Gingrich, in a dark suit jacket and red tie, speaks to the camera. "These are challenging and important times for America. We want and deserve solutions," the former House speaker says. "Others seem to be more focused on attacks rather than moving the country forward. That's up to them."

He continues, "I believe bold ideas and new solutions will unleash America's creative spirit. When I was Speaker, our budget was balanced and 11 million jobs were created. We can do it again and rebuild the America we love."

ANALYSIS: Gingrich is trying to reclaim his pledge to wage only a positive campaign, after some nasty exchanges with chief rival Mitt Romney over the last several days.

Gingrich's claim that "others" in the race have gone negative is undeniably true, and most of the attacks have been lobbed at him. He has been pummeled by negative ads from Ron Paul and a special political action committee supporting Romney, while Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has stepped up his own criticism of Gingrich as well.

But Gingrich fails to acknowledge that he, too, has gone negative, particularly when he said Romney should "give back all the money he's earned bankrupting companies and laying off employees" when he ran the private equity firm Bain Capital.

Gingrich also takes credit, as he has throughout the campaign, for spurring job creation and enacting balanced budgets when he was House speaker from 1995-1999. But his claims don't tell the whole story.

It's true that 11 million jobs were created during Gingrich's tenure as speaker. But the federal budget was balanced only the last two years of his speakership, not the full four. Gingrich also fails to credit a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, for having as much or more to do with the nation's economic performance during those years than Gingrich.