POLITICS
07/23/2014 03:15 pm ET Updated Jul 23, 2014

Newt Gingrich: GOPers Focusing 2014 Campaigns On Obama Are 'Maniacally Stupid'

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) had a message for House Republicans on Wednesday: If your 2014 re-election campaign is built around attacking President Barack Obama, you're doing it wrong.

"I am deeply opposed to any consultant or any political staffer who talks to the news media about the campaign this fall being a referendum on Obama," Gingrich said during an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation. "As a professional who has done this since August 1958, who has participated in a series of fairly successful projects, I regard it as maniacally stupid and unprofessional to think you can get away with a purely negative campaign."

Gingrich, who was speaker from 1995 to 1999 and went on to run for president in 2012, said if he's learned anything from his years in politics, it's that you have to run a campaign of ideas and do so with "cheerful persistence."

Otherwise, he warned, "You turn off all the moderates. You turn off all the independents. You drive down the turnout."

A look at recent campaign ads by top House Republicans shows that some of them, like Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), appear to be taking Gingrich's advice.

Others, like Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who served in House leadership from 2002 to 2006, not so much.

Perhaps coincidentally, Kingston lost in the Georgia Senate run-off on Tuesday night.

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