Republican White House hopeful Newt Gingrich barnstormed the key state of Iowa Tuesday, ripping his rivals' attack ads and declaring himself the best candidate to beat President Barack Obama.
Scarcely two weeks before Iowans cast the first votes in the party's nominating contest, Gingrich has been asking his supporters here to help him fight back as the barrage has battered his once-surging poll numbers.
"The next time you see one of the candidates who's running the negative ads, ask them to take it off the air," he implored some 200 people packed into the warehouse-like space of a clothing maker in Hiawatha, Iowa, on Monday.
Asked about a brutal campaign against him by the independent "Restore Our Future" group aligned with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Gingrich replied: "If you see Romney, ask him to take them off the air."
At an earlier stop in Davenport, Gingrich bemoaned that other candidates for the Republican Party's nomination were blasting "so much negative junk" to tear him down that they were "in effect doing Barack Obama's work."
The former House speaker recently clawed his way to frontrunner status on the strength of a series of well regarded debate performances, drawing sustained fire from the other candidates ahead of Iowa's January 3 caucus.
But his support here has dropped by nearly half over two weeks, from 27 percent to 14 percent among likely caucus-goers, dropping him from first place to third behind second-place Romney and first-place Republican Representative Ron Paul, whose campaign has also been taking shots at the former speaker.
White House hopeful Gingrich rips rivals over attacks