(WASHINGTON POST) MIAMI — Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday that the reason he seemed less combative during Thursday’s televised debate was that he was shocked by what he described as rival Mitt Romney’s “totally dishonest” replies to several questions.
In a telephone interview, Gingrich cited Romney’s remarks on immigration, his vote for Democrat Paul Tsongas in 1992 and whether he knew about an ad his campaign is running against Gingrich.
“I think it’s the most blatantly dishonest performance by a presidential candidate I’ve ever seen,” Gingrich said. At several moments during the debate, Gingrich simply leaned away from his lectern and looked down at his feet because he was so stunned by some of Romney’s statements, he said. He didn’t engage Romney at the time, he said, because “I wanted to fact check. I wanted to make sure he was as totally dishonest as I thought he was.”