In a letter to supporters on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich promised to wage a positive campaign and urged his backers not to give money to political action committees that engaged in attack politics.
It is critical the Republican nominee emerge from this primary campaign un-bloodied, so that he or she can make the case against President Obama from a position of strength.
For these reasons I have refrained from launching attacks on my Republican opponents, though I have reserved the right to respond when my record has been distorted. On Monday this occurred when Governor Romney and I engaged in what in diplomatic circles is called “a frank exchange” over our respective records in the private sector. That same day, however, Mr. Romney announced, “I’m not going to say outrageous things that can be used to hang [a GOP opponent] down the road.” I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. So let us hope that from this point forward we can devote our energies to real issues, such as discussing our plans for our nation’s economic recovery and helping to create millions of new jobs for the American people.
I also want to reiterate to each of you what I have said from the beginning of our campaign, and most recently last Saturday in Iowa: We will run a positive campaign focused on our country’s future. We will not be running any negative advertising. With Ronald Reagan’s eleventh commandment in mind, we will ask our supporters not to contribute to any so-called SuperPAC that runs negative ads against any other Republican contender and we will discourage ad hominem attacks on our fellow Republicans.
Therefore, I am instructing all members of my campaign staff and respectfully urge anyone acting as a surrogate for our campaign to avoid initiating attacks on other Republican candidates. It is my hope that my Republican opponents will join me in this commitment.
Running a positive solutions-based campaign is the only way to guarantee President Obama is not reelected.
This is undoubtedly a reaction to the criticism Gingrich received when he went after Mitt Romney for bankrupting companies and laying off workers during his stint at Bain Capital. Fox News, in particular, took umbrage with that message, with Brit Hume arguing that it was a Democratic sounding criticism of the private market.
But it also gets to a larger issue facing Gingrich. Candidates traditionally will pledge to take the high road, while letting surrogates do the dirty work. But Gingrich doesn't have many surrogates.