Nightly News | December 08, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now to the campaign trail, where Newt Gingrich 's opponents in the race for the GOP nomination have had enough of his surge in the polls, apparently, and are bringing out the heavy guns on the subject of family values. Our report tonight from NBC 's Chuck Todd .
Mr. NEWT GINGRICH: And the only opponent I have is Barack Obama.
CHUCK TODD reporting: Front-runner Newt Gingrich under fire from several Republicans . Rick Perry took a direct shot at Gingrich over his two divorces and three marriages.
Governor RICK PERRY: I made an oath to God when I -- when I married my wife, so, yeah, I think it's a -- it's an important issue. But the American people will figure out these issues.
TODD: Mitt Romney was less direct in this new TV ad .
Former Governor MITT ROMNEY: I've been married to the same woman for 25 -- excuse me, I'll get in trouble -- for 42 years.
TODD: Romney supporter New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went to the character question in Iowa last night.
Governor CHRIS CHRISTIE: When you look at these candidates, say, 'Is this the kind of person always going to make me proud in the Oval Office , I'm never going to have to worry will embarrass America ?'
TODD: Gingrich shrugged off the attacks.
Offscreen Voice: Do you think he's attacking you on a really personal level, though...
Mr. GINGRICH: No.
Voice: ...that's beyond the pale?
Mr. GINGRICH: No, no. He's fine.
TODD: The Romney campaign's more direct attack today, the former speaker's criticism of popular conservative Paul Ryan 's Medicare plan.
Mr. GINGRICH: I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering .
TODD: An old Gingrich adversary, former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu , led the charge.
Former Governor JOHN SUNUNU: I don't think Newt Gingrich cares about conservative principles. Newt Gingrich cares about Newt Gingrich .
TODD: Gingrich again resisted going tit for tat.
Mr. GINGRICH: All I'll tell you is I'm going to stay positive, I'm going to talk about how we solve the country's problems, and I have one opponent, Barack Obama.
TODD: And while in Iowa for Romney , Christie turned an Occupy Wall Street protest into his own attack on the president.
Gov. CHRISTIE: You know what? We're used to dealing with jokers like this in New Jersey all the time. Don't you worry about it. Their anger is rooted in the fact that they believed in this hope and change garbage.
TODD: And others hit a common theme to attack the president's Mideast policies.
Gov. ROMNEY: Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy.
Mr. GINGRICH: Consistently engaged in appeasement.
Representative MICHELE BACHMANN: Appeasement.
Former Senator RICK SANTORUM: Appeasement.
TODD: The president had a ready response today.
President BARACK OBAMA: Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al-Qaeda leaders who've been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement.
TODD: Chuck Todd , NBC News, Washington.