The best place to start is with the lead Newt gave in his post-Nevada press conference. Newt referenced a story in the New York Times. It's not hard to find exactly which article he's talking about. The article details some of the tactics of the Romney campaign to turn-around his loss in S. Carolina to a victory in Florida:
- Find lines of attack that could goad Mr. Gingrich into angry responses, particularly his ethics problems in Congress and his relations with corporate clients after he resigned from the House.
- Paint him as an erratic, unreliable Washington insider in mailings and television advertisements.
- Air a new ad featuring a 1997 news segment in which Tom Brokaw reported that the House had “found him guilty of ethics violations.”
- Get Romney allies to infiltrate Gingrich campaign events and offer instant rebuttals to the crowds and media.
- Feed large numbers of negative stories to the Drudge Report.
- Coach Mitt to attack in debates.
- Pack the Florida debates with vocal Romney supporters.
The attacks hit a nerve, because Gingrich has started saying this about Romney:
"Frankly I was stunned... I have never before seen a person I thought of as a serious candidate for president be that fundamentally dishonest. It was blatant and it was deliberate, and he knew he was doing it."I'm not sure why Gingrich is attacking Romney so much, since Romney isn't only one of the candidates to have launched attack ads against Newt. In the Iowa contest, the best known attack ads came from Paul's campaign, but Romney, Perry, and Santorum all got in their licks. Perhaps it is the other tactics (ambushing him at his own campaign events), or maybe it's besting him in two debates, which had been a point of pride for Gingrich.
Another reason the attacks sting so much could be that they are true. Gingrich has a web page devoted to answering, refuting, or explaining the attacks on him. It contains 28 separate entries. Here are some of the topics for which he mounts defenses: TARP, global warming, praise for FDR, Freddie Mac, and personal life (parts I, II, and III). Mitt evidently hasn't live nearly as full a life, because he doesn't have such a page on his website.
Gingrich doesn't usually specify the exact lies that Romney tells about him. Regarding his $300,000 fine by the House, he likes to point out that an IRS investigation three years after his resignation cleared him of wrongdoing. Perhaps he feels that anyone accusing him of ethics problems is lying. However, he was sanctioned by a 395-28 vote after what was called at the time a "plea bargain negotiation." It definitely has the look of a plea bargain. Or as a commenter wrote: "Those that made you speaker do not desert you in droves if you haven't done anything wrong."
Why does Newt hate Mitt so much? I don't know, but there is plenty of grist for speculation.
Gingrich wife number 2, personal life defense number ??