Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Wednesday renewed his pledge not to run any negative ads in the closing days of the campaign for the Iowa caucuses. But campaigning in Mason City, Gingrich said that won't stop him from personally attacking the record of his opponents.
Gingrich spoke at a mall in Mason City and afterward grabbed a skim milk café au lait from the Jitters coffee bar.
He was asked about a direct mail flyer sent by a Super PAC that's supporting him that calls his Republican opponent Mitt Romney "the second most dangerous man in America."
Gingrich said it was wrong and he'd discourage the PAC, Strong America Now, from sending out that kind of negative information.
But at the same time, he defended his comments on CNN that he wasn't sure he could bring himself to vote for another opponent, Ron Paul.
"I think Ron Paul's views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American," Gingrich said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
In speeches, Gingrich also has repeatedly taken aim at Romney, saying voters have a choice between a supply-side conservative and a Massachusetts moderate.
Later Wednesday, a campaign stop in Algona gave Gingrich an opportunity to strike back at Romney more directly, too. Gingrich held a campaign event at The Chocolate Season, an artisanal candy shop where owner Erika Jensen gave him and his wife, Callista, a lesson in hand-dipping chocolates.
Gingrich took full advantage of the photo op. "Gov. Romney had a cute line yesterday about my team resembling Lucy in the chocolate factory. I just want to say, here I am in the chocolate factory," Gingrich said.
Gingrich said since he had the courage to go to the chocolate factory, he hoped Romney had the courage to debate him one on one — a challenge he issues daily.