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One day after hammering former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for "bankrupting companies and laying off employees," GOP presidential frontrunner and former Speaker Newt Gingrich sent a letter to campaign staff and supporters vowing to run a positive campaign unless attacked.
Gingrich was responding to an attack from Romney, who said Monday that Georgia Republican should return the money he earned as an advisor for Freddie Mac given his criticism of the government sponsored enterprise and its Congressional supporters. But Gingrich's response garnered the most media attention because it parroted Democratic talking points that have sought to undermine Romney's private-sector business experience from his tenure running the investment firm Bain Capital.
"I am instructing all members of my campaign staff and respectfully urge anyone acting as a surrogate for our campaign to avoid initiating attacks on other Republican candidates. It is my hope that my Republican opponents will join me in this commitment," Gingrich wrote in his letter. "Running a positive solutions-based campaign is the only way to guarantee President [Barack] Obama is not re-elected."
Gingrich also vowed not to run negative attack ads, a pledge that has been well received by voters on the campaign trail but may also be the result of the former Speaker having less in cash on hand than Romney. Romney has released several anti-Gingrich web ads that played frequently on cable television, and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) also has attacked the former Speaker.
Gingrich has asked supporters not to donate to so-called super PACs that would aim to tarnish any Republican, saying it is better to focus on Obama's record.
Monday's exchange between Gingrich and Romney occurred in New Hampshire, the lone early state where Romney has maintained a lead. The latest polls show Gingrich leading among Republican primary voters nationally and in the key early nominating states of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.