Overheard on CNN.com: Gingrich on offense, Romney on defense, some readers say
Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich clap hands during CNN's January 19 debate in Charleston, South Carolina.
January 23rd, 2012
02:47 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Gingrich on offense, Romney on defense, some readers say

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Newt Gingrich is coming off a big win in South Carolina and Mitt Romney is hoping to do better in Florida. Looking at reader comments about Florida, we saw many posts alluding to Gingrich taking the offensive role in campaign strategy. Some readers also said Romney has been put on the defensive, citing the South Carolina debates as big influences.

Romney hopes to gain momentum in Florida

One reader said Gingrich is looking more and more like the natural GOP choice.

TGrade1: "Recent polls show Gingrich leading in Florida. I'm not surprised that Mr. Gingrich is leading in Florida. South Carolina has opened the eyes of the electorate to two things: the fact that Mr. Romney doesn't have a record to run on and Mr. Gingrich does. Congress controls the purse. The last time we had a balanced budget Mr. Gingrich was in charge. He was also able to work with a Democrat president for welfare reform. He is the author of the Contract with America and the 21st Century Contract With America. He is the man who brought Republicans to the majority after forty years of Democrat rule. (No wonder he has enemies!) Mitt Romney, on the other hand, can't run against Obamacare because of Romneycare, and he will be painted as a $250,000,000 man who made his money wrecking companies and leaving a trail of broken lives in his wake, a man to whom $374,000 in speaking fees 'isn't very much money.' Obama will show the picture of Romney with $100 bills hanging out of his pockets, he will talk about how Romney has paid a lower percentage in taxes than most Americans, and Romney will be toast. Newt Gingrich has command of the big picture and the minutiae of pretty much every topic and he will shred Obama in a debate. I think Gingrich will and should be the nominee."

This commenter said it would be difficult for Romney to succeed, or any other candidate for that matter. They also said the media better watch out.

civility1: "The fact that we are going into the fourth contest (Florida) with no predictable outcome is a testament to the slate of candidates. Basically, voters don't like any of them in and of themselves and it is pretty obvious. I think they also don't like the Republican establishments and the media trying to ram the rich white guy candidate down their throats. They see thru that stuff. If they keep this up, most moderate Republicans will easily return President Obama for a second term, since he will be a 'known' in November and reliably predictable, v. the others. He should also accomplish more in his 2nd Term since we have gotten used to him, and Congress will have to start supporting him if they want to kee their jobs. None of the four GOP candidates seem 'Presidential' material at this late date. All they seem to care about is a chance at taking on our existing President on issues that are not all that consequential to the Executive. I don't see the rest of the world respecting any of these guys except maybe Paul since he is a doctor - a member of the 'helping profession' (that's helping others, folks, not helping himself on our backs...). The media needs to be careful here as I see some storm clouds on the horizon for them."

Much chatter could also be found on a story about Romney's strategy going into the Florida race.

Romney rips 'erratic' Gingrich

Readers noted that Romney has struggled coming out of the South Carolina debates, and in part because of his response to the controversy over his taxes.

DemetriJ: "There was a point in the South Carolina debate when Romney was trying to justify waiting to release the numbers because he knew the Democrats would use them against him, stating 'Because I want to make sure that I beat President Obama. And every time we release things drip by drip, the Democrats go out with another array of attacks.' And then Newt fired back, 'If there's anything in there that is going to help us lose the election, we should know it before the nomination' really was the burn that is forcing Romney to do this now."

This reader said Romney had better start thinking Floridian. His post was a play on some people's claims that Romney's political stances are too flexible, as well as on stereotypes about the kinds of voters Republicans will have to impress.

RationalDoc: "If Romney wants to court the older, wealthy conservative Florida 'half-year-resident' vote, he'll have to drive around town on a golf cart wearing Bermuda shorts, colored dress socks, comfortable white leather shoes with Velcro closures, a gold chain, and a few Band-Aids from his dermatologist."

Some readers were hoping for a Ron Paul victory.

my2comncents: "Maybe (Ron) Paul will be the flavor of the week in Florida. That will put a monkey wrench in the tired engine."

As in many political stories, plenty of conversation was focused on Gingrich.

BeanSoup: "The Democrats must love this. Someone with no chance of winning over the moderates and independents (after Newt attacked moderates in his attack ads). Also, many in his own party would rather not vote than vote for Newt. Two things could happen. 1) Newt wins and the Republicans are denied the white house 4 more years. 2) Newt doesn't win- but causes a fracas and damages the winning candidates bid (probably Romney). I'd hate to see four more years of Obama- but I think that is much more preferable to Newt. (I'm a centre-right moderate, FYI.)"

We also saw people talking about the Florida race after reading a commentary from opinion columnist David Frum.

Why GOP leaders don't trust Gingrich

This person, who said they were voting in Florida, indicated they were supporting Gingrich. They wrote that Gingrich's "nasty" reputation was a plus for them.

lili1234: "This morning I voted for Gingrich in Florida. I am not an Evangelical or tea party member, don't own a gun. I voted for his experience to get something done in Washington and that takes a nasty man to accomplish something."

In this post, a reader gives a tough appraisal of Gingrich's personal values. The post was one of the most-liked in the comments section; many readers were upset about Gingrich's success, calling him a polarizing figure.

katahdin62: "I remember Newt on the floor of House, his voice vibrating with moral outrage as he denounced President Clinton for immorality. At the time he was having an affair with a Congressional aide, whose salary he tripled at taxpayer expense while she was serving under him, in a variety of positions. He wants to make her First Lady."

But not so fast, says former White House press secretary and CNN contributor Ari Fleischer. He contends Gingrich's powerful style could be the best thing for the Republican Party. The article really got commenters talking.

What James Carville doesn't get about Republicans

This commenter begrudgingly accepted Fleischer's point that Gingrich is a force to be reckoned with. (There was a fair amount of opposition to Gingrich in the comments area.)

flabarple: "Writing as a Democrat who dislikes Gingrich especially, I grant Fleischer's point. Gingrich appeals to a more emotional than analytical voter base that has deep wellsprings in the current GOP electorate. There is such a thing as American anti-intellectualism. And Gingrich is enough of historian to know that people vote on emotion. Just witness how readily his supporters overlook his professorial posturing when at the same time they nod when people complain about the much more accomplished professor Obama and his supposed elitism."

Some talked about voters' regional tendencies, and this poster said it's hard to say what will happen on a national level.

wes1975: "Newt appeals to the a base that is going to vote Republican anyway. It's just silly to think, or worse write, that he stands a chance in a general election. He'd lose all the swing states but firmly win the Southeast. Uh, that's like saying the Democrats are going to do well in the Northeast! Just because a Democrat wins the 'New England' states doesn't mean they are a solid contender on a national level."

At one point, Fleischer suggests people would switch parties if they really understood Republican ideas. That particular part of the commentary was a sticking point for some readers.

Markb3699: "I agree with Fleischer that a victory dance is premature, but I disagree with the contention that if Democratic pundits really understood Republican thinking they would switch parties. i think if most Republicans understood Republican thinking they'd switch parties. Here's a party that consistently blocks regulations to protect the average person because they'll hurt businesses and rich people. Here's a party that celebrates it's defense of the 1%. It's a party that would deny health care to poor people and little kids. And it's a party that blocks equal rights for gays and denies the fact that racism still exists. Great party. Why don't you switch parties Mr. Fleischer?"

But regardless, some readers were clear that Obama has to go.

Indipen: "What James Carville doesn't get about Republicans is we're going to make Obama a one term President."

What do you think will happen in the Florida race, and why? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Kandi

    Nothing natural about any of the GOP candidates. The republican party couldnt have picked a worse bunch of clowns if it was their intention.

    January 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Light1Up

    Ron Paul is the only respectable "republican candidate" he will get my vote for the nomination.

    January 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Indy Pendant

    Newt Gingrich = Benito Mussolini !!

    January 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Russian Federation

    HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! United States of America, with its two-party system. You are laughing stock of world. Democrats vs. Republicans. You vote for so-called best candidate. Best candidate does nothing to improve US nation's economy. House is Republican / Senate is Democrat and no one wants to work together. HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! What a screwed up government you have. HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! US Government is controlled by lobbyists and lobbyists are more corrupt than the KGB here in Russia were under old Soviet Union. HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! USA and its people is funny nation. HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !! HA !!

    January 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. kyle788

    Based on his record of extreme dishonesty, it sickens me that anyone can take seriously the possibility of newt as president. YOU DONT HAVE TO BE HONEST BUT YOU WANT YOUR POLITICIANS TO BE, Ron Paul 2012!

    January 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    Let's all focus on Gingrich's se xcapades and 60 lb. colon and pretend that Ron Paul doesn't want to audit the fed.

    January 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    ...odd how people think that the president controls the economy.

    January 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    Ron Paul knows that he doesn't stand a snowballs chance in the mythical greek hades, yet he is still running for office. Why? To call attention to the fact that the federal reserve system/central banks doing business in the USA are nothing but branch-banks for one single foreign bank located in Basel, Switzerland. Beither Congress nor president's Obama or Bush will allow an audit to be conducted. Ron Paul's reason for running...knowing the media would ignore him....was to call attention to any who would listen. If you want control over the economy you must have the fed audited. If you are happy with foreigners controlling it, pretend like it isn't fishy that they won't allow an audit, and don't cry when they take you to the cleaners again.

    January 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @Philip, would that also mean the senate and the congress would have to okay the audit also? Or if Paul is president he can just call for an audit?

      January 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. @CNN

    Are you really that afraid of Ron Paul? Has CNN ever uttered the phrase "audit the fed"...ever?

    January 23, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. **cosmicVox *

    ... politics = Circus Maximus and a necessary evil...

    January 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. saywhat

    @ cosmicVox
    aptly put. Circus albeit a necessary evil.
    Unfortunately after that anti-Democracy " Citizens United" decision by the Supreme Court two years ago, the process has also been mortgaged to big money.
    The Super Pacs, lobbies, special interest and other assorted nuts would make sure that the lone voice of sanity in all this din and jingle – Ron Paul doesn't win the nomination.

    January 23, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joseph


    January 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Ah, hello, Jj.
    Long time, no see.
    I trust you have been well.
    What does Jj stand for?

    I don't know if I ever asked you this or not:
    Who are you *for*?
    You have made it abundantly clear who you hate, but who do you *like*?

    And I get the gist of what your trying to say (I think!) about Gingrinch and his 60 lb colon (up 10 lbs from your original posts about it, and how do you measure *that*, anyway)..., but unless his colon is attached to his head, I highly doubt people will give a flying &*97& about it at all.

    January 23, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scottish Mama

    Just saw Paul interupt the host and say he wanted to get in on the discussion. He then continued on the comment on the question asked of Mitt, Newt and Santorum.

    January 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Correction

    Typo. Should read Gingrich "an" offense.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
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