Written By: Anatole Ashraf
Despite mounting campaign challenges, Republican candidate for the 2012 presidency Newt Gingrich continued to aim criticisms at New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg for a second day while Bloomberg chuckled at the jeers.
At a “Mom’s Matter” forum in Des Moines, Iowa on Dec. 30, Gingrich cited Bloomberg as a reason for wanting to overhaul the entire electoral system, claiming he did not have the mayor’s personal wealth to buy a seat.
“The current system is a disgrace,” Gingrich said. “When Bloomberg can buy the mayorship of New York and nobody can compete with him because they’re all under various contribution rules, when millionaires go out and have huge advantages, there’s something profoundly wrong with the system.”
Bloomberg in turn brushed off the comments at a press conference designed to advertise New York City’s efforts to increase pedestrian and bike safety on Dec. 29. When asked about the comments, Bloomberg laughed and replied, “What, did he say something?”
“My job is have more events like this to be able to say that bike safety has gone up dramatically,” Bloomberg said, “[that] crime has gone down, deaths by fire, deaths by traffic, that schools are improving, and that is what I am going to focus on.”
Gingrich’s criticisms come at a time when the candidate’s campaign is facing increasing challenges. According to a CNN poll of 452 Republicans conducted from Dec. 21 to 27, Gingrich ranked fourth among voters likely to caucus on Jan. 3 with 14 percent. A similar poll conducted from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6 found the candidate enjoying a 13-point lead over current front-runner Mitt Romney with 33 percent. The issues plaguing Gingrich’s campaign are attacks from other campaigns which the candidate has called “negative,” or super PACs which are supporting other candidates such as Romney.
Following Gingrich’s surge in the polls a month ago, rival candidates Romney and Ron Paul launched several attack ads that some estimate costing as high as $10 million worth. One point of attack has been Gingrich’s mid-1990s affair with Republican staffer Callista Bisek while still married to his second wife Marianne Ginther. The pressure resulting from these ads have led Gingrich to say, “I can’t do modern politics.”
The forum in Des Moines, Iowa also found Gingrich “becoming emotional” about his mother.
“My whole emphasis on brain science comes indirectly from dealing with…the real problems of real people in my family,” Gingrich said. “So it’s not a theory, it’s in fact my mother.”