In Naples today, a confident Mitt Romney mocked Newt Gingrich for making excuses about what ails the former House speaker in Florida, without noting the barrage of negative ads against Gingrich:
"The first debate, of course the audience was quiet and Speaker Gingrich said that threw him off, he cant debate before a quiet audience. Then the next audience was very loud, very loud, and he said that threw him off, he can't debate before a real loud audience. It's like Goldliocks you know, it has to be just so."
"You know, he's now finding excuses everywhere he can. He's on TV this morning going from station to station complaining about what he thinks are the reasons hes had difficulty here in Florida. But you know we've got a president who has a lot of excuses, and the excuses are over, it's time to produce."
"And I think each of us, if we fail somewhere, if we fail in a debate, if we fail to get the support of people, it's time to look in the mirror. And my own view is the reason that Speaker Gingrich has been having a hard time in Florida is the people of Florida have watched the debates, and listened to the speaker and listened to the other candidates and said, you know what, Mitt Romney is the guy we're going to support."
"And part of that probably has something to do with housing. I know how bad housing is here, how tough its been. You know that one quarter of all the foreclosures in America are in Florida? And you know how much home values have gone down. And one of the greatest contributors to the collapse of housing here and across the country was government, and the intrusion of government into the housing market and the fact that you have Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae guaranteeing mortgages in some cases to people who couldn't possibly pay them back, that contributed to the kind of crisis you've seen here. And at the time some people were standing up and saying we need to reform the system, Speaker Gingrich was being paid $1.6 million to stand up and do what he did, which is to say these programs should continue the way they are. These institutions are fine. The people of Florida have had enough of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and government interference and its time to get back to free market principles."
"So Mr. Speaker, your trouble in Florida is not because the audience is too quiet or too loud. Or because you have opponents that are tough. Your problem in Florida is that you worked for Freddie Mac at a time that Freddie Mac was not doing the right thing for the American people. And that you were selling influence in Washington at a time when we needed people to stand up for the truth in Washington."