The Washington Times - December 15, 2011, 10:27AM

Looking to seize the political high ground in Iowa, Newt Gingrich is releasing his second television ad in the state, calling for solutions to the nation’s challenges and accusing his rivals of being more interested in slinging mud at one another than moving the nation forward.

The former House speaker says in his 30-second “We Deserve Solutions” ad that these are challenging and important times for the country, and voters “want and deserve solutions.”

SEE RELATED:


“Others seem to be more focused on attacks rather than moving the country forward. That’s up to them,” Mr. Gingrich says. “I believe bold ideas and new solutions will unleash America’s creative spirit. When I was speaker, our budget was balanced and 11 million jobs were created. We can do it again and rebuild the America we love.”

The Georgia Republican has instructed his staff not to initiate attacks against his GOP opponents, while keeping the door open to counter false accusations leveled against him. His rivals, though, are employing different strategies as they gear up for Thursday evening’s debate in Sioux City. The event marks the 13th debate of the campaign and the final debate before the nomination contest kicks off with the state’s caucuses on Jan. 3.

Many candidates have targeted Mr. Gingrich as he has surged to the top of national GOP polls and polls in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida — the states that host three of the first four nomination contests.

Former front-runner Mitt Romney, who is running first in New Hampshire and second in Iowa, has gone on the offensive. The former Massachusetts governor has ditched his hands-off approach in recent days and used a series of interviews to drive home the message that Mr. Gingrich is “zany,” doesn’t understand the economy, and is an “unreliable conservative.”

“When Republicans needed a leader to stand up against cap-and-trade, Speaker Gingrich did an ad with [former Democratic Speaker] Nancy Pelosi about global warming,” Mr. Romney said on Thursday, alluding to the 2008 commercial Mr. Gingrich made with Mrs. Pelosi. “When Republicans took one of the most courageous votes I’ve seen in at least a decade to call for the reform of Medicare under the Paul Ryan plan, he goes public and says this is a ‘right-wing social engineering’ plan.’ Recently he even called it ‘suicide.’ I know it can be popular with some people to use extreme language, but we’re talking about the presidency of the United States.”

The Romney camp is also using Mr. Gingrich’s words against him, pointing out contradictory remarks he’s made about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the mortgage housing giants that taxpayers had to bail out, while highlighting the former speaker’s praise for Mr. Romney’s record on job creation in a new Web ad.

“Gov. Romney in his business career created more jobs than the entire Obama Cabinet combined, so he could actually talk about it,” Mr. Gingrich said in a speech at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference.

Reps. Ron Paul of Texas, and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, also have criticized Mr. Gingrich for $1.6 million he received consulting for Freddie Mac and for previously supporting a federal health care mandate similar to the one in President Obama’s national health care law.