POLITICS

Newt Gingrich: Rick Perry And Mitt Romney Are 'Almost Like Seventh Graders'

10/20/2011 10:39 am ET | Updated Dec 20, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Wednesday night on "The Sean Hannity Show" that the attacks between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Tuesday's Republican debate made him "very uncomfortable."

"Well, look, Sean, you know, it's very important for us to remember that the goal of this effort is to defeat Barack Obama and get America back on the right track -- the goal of this entire project isn't have one ego or one ambition over another and then go get beaten by the president because we have beaten each other up so much," said the former House speaker. "Once or twice last night, the level of intensity, particularly between Governors Perry and Romney, got to be almost like seventh graders in a school yard."

Romney and Perry fought in Tuesday's debate over immigration. Perry criticized Romney for hiring a landscaping company to do lawn work on his Massachusetts home that hired undocumented immigrants. When the Boston Globe reported on the company in 2006, Romney gave the company another chance on the condition that the company would not hire undocumented immigrants. After another Globe story a year later showing that undocumented immigrants still worked at his home, Romney fired the company. Romney attacked Perry for his signing of a bill that allowed undocumented immigrants who are Texas residents to receive in-state tuition rates.

He praised Herman Cain's performance, however: "There is a huge difference. Herman Cain stood up for about thirty minutes under all of us in one way or another raising questions, but the questions were civil, they were direct and they were based on policy – they weren’t bickering."

He said he was running a "substantive campaign" based on ideas different from any other candidate "except maybe Reagan." An Associated Press poll released Wednesday showed him getting seven percent of Republican primary voters nationwide and a 51 percent unfavorable rating.

"I thought it hurt the entire Republican Party -- I know I have talked to people here in Arizona this afternoon who just plain turned it off," Gingrich said. “They said: 'This is so negative and so petty -- I am not going to watch it.' Now, that’s bad for the conservative movement and it’s bad for the Republican Party."

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