Campaign Carl Cameron is out on the trail in full force. He caught up with Newt Gingrich on his campaign bus in Sioux City Friday and asked about everything from what some say is a break with his positive campaign pledge, to why he says Ron Paul sits to the left of President Obama politically.
Here is a sample of the back and forth. You can catch the full interview on Special Report tonight at 6pm ET including Gingrich's clever answer to whether being asked the same questions over and over bothers him.
Q - Are Iowa republicans right to fear a Ron Paul win here, could that hurt this state's political reputation? A - Sure... His primary youth backers are for him because he wants to legalize drugs. He has said that he doesn't care if Iranians get nuclear weapon. I think it was Dick Morris who said he is to the left of Obama, and whole series of issues. Ron Paul is a good protest candidate. He would be impossible as a serious presidential candidate.
Q - Was it premature on Dec 1st to predict you'd win the nomination?
A - Sure a little bit premature. I should have said with a lot of hard work and the votes of the American people. But I think this race is going to come down to a Massachusetts Moderate and a Georgia Conservative.
Q - When Mitt Romney calls himself a conservative and you say he's a Massachusetts Moderate, you're not questioning his integrity?
A - I'm quoting from MR as a candidate for gov in 2002.
Q - Are question the integrity of his conservativism?
A- A real conservative would hardly have signed Romneycare... I'm suggesting he's a moderate
Q - When you say Ron Paul is out of the mainstream of Americans, that's not a criticism?
A - It's a judgment.
Q - What happened in Virginia [failing to make the Virginia ballot]?
A - Our lawyers are working that problem and I'm focused on Iowa. It helped make our case when Governor Perry filed suit, because you have a situation where Virginians are being denied the right to vote for Bachmann, Santorum, Huntsman, Perry or Gingrich. So, there are five us who found it very difficult.
Q - Was your trip to Greece a sting operation?
A - It wasn't a sting operation. We had a group of consultants who said 'look this is how you have to run for president.' And I had a model that is much closer to Ronald Reagan. And I said 'actually, this is how I am going to run for president'. And they said 'oh my gosh, you can't do that, you have to be like us.' And so I said 'I'm going to be like me.' At the end of that processes they said 'we can't do that', and I said 'you're right.'
Q - Since when are there 4th tickets out of Iowa?
A - How did McCain do here? Not very well. Iowa has enormous capacity and Iowa will have an impact. But it is also true that this is a unique test case, where nobody I know has had $8M of negative ads and still been competitive. we're learning. We'll be better in New Hampshire and South Carolina. SC has always been our best case for a win.
Q - In any one of the debates, you said all of the Republicans on the stage would be a better president than Obama. You now have said you can't vote for Ron Paul, any others?
A - There is a very specific disqualification.. The longer I listen to Ron Paul says Iran didn't matter, that it was okay for them to get nuclear weapons. The less I can understand as someone who worries about safety of America. How can you take seriously that attitude?
Q- Does it put Ron Paul to left of the President?
A- No, legalization of drugs puts him to the left of the president. Being unwilling to deal with Iran, puts in a totally different box that has no relation to any coherent American position.
Q - Three Congress persons, suggest they lobbied them on the medicare deal? Are they making it up?
A - I wasn't lobbying. I'm a citizen. I had an active pubic position in favor of the medicare bill. I talked about it publicly, I wrote about it publicly. That's what citizens are allowed to do. That's not lobbying... They just didn't understand it. I was invited to come up and talk about what I thought as a Senior Republican. We had lobbying experts in and we did training every year