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CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript


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SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this, I mean, are you worried about the law of unintended consequences? I think you have made Mitt Romney a pretty good debater. He was not bad in these debates. GINGRICH: Well, he has gotten better because he has gotten a coach, but the problem he has, I think you will see in the next day or two, is that it is really useful in a debate to use facts to win, and I think it is really dangerous in a debate to use non-facts to win, because you win a tactical victory, but you strategically begin to destroy your own credibility.

SCHIEFFER: There were a couple of times during the last debate in Florida where you seemed to just stop for a moment.


SCHIEFFER: Why was that?

GINGRICH: Because what he was saying wasn't true.

SCHIEFFER: But I mean, you are never at a loss for words. Were you just shocked or what?

GINGRICH: Yes. I mean, look, when somebody says to you, I have always voted for the Republican when the opportunity existed, and Larry Sabato tweets within minutes that what Mitt said wasn't true, that, in fact, he could have voted for George H.W. Bush or Pat Buchanan on the day that he voted in the Democratic Primary for Paul Tsongas.

Lincoln once said if a man won't agree that two plus two equals four, you will never win the argument because facts don't matter. Romney is the first candidacy who fits the Lincoln description.

SCHIEFFER: You are running a pretty tough ad down here now. Basically it starts off with Mike Huckabee saying, if a man is dishonest in getting a job he will be dishonest on the job. Are you saying that Mitt Romney has a character flaw here, that he is just dishonest?

GINGRICH: You and I had this conversation before.

SCHIEFFER: Yes, we have.

GINGRICH: There are a series of things that happened in the debate that are factually false. Now this is a smart man and as you point out, he was well-coached. He came into the debate prepared to say things that are false. I will let you decide whether that is clever or whether that is really bad.

I think somebody running for president has a unique requirement to be honest, because the only way you lead the American people is by having them believe in you. And just take one example I gave you, it is a fact in 1992, he gave money to Democrats for Congress, he voted in the Democratic Primary for Paul Tsongas who was the most liberal candidate.

He could have been said, yes, you know, I was in Massachusetts, he could have admitted. And this is why several times in the debate if you go back and look at it, I am standing there controlling myself because I didn't want to get into a running fight at that moment when I knew what he was saying was so false that the better way to handle it is get the data, lay it out, and let people make a judgment on their own.

I mean, the election wasn't going to be the next morning.

SCHIEFFER: If you don't win Florida, what happens? Do you keep going?

GINGRICH: Oh, sure. I mean, I think when you are ahead 52-39, why would you quit? But I think there is a high likelihood we are going to win Florida because I think when people understand how many different times last night he said things that weren't true, his credibility is going to just frankly collapse.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you.

GINGRICH: Good to see you, Bob.


GINGRICH: Thank you.


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