Romney to Gingrich: Wait until Obama team 'turns up the heat'

Mitt Romney responded to GOP rival Newt Gingrich's complaints over negative ads on Wednesday, telling his rival that if he coudn't "stand the heat" now, he would be unable to handle much tougher criticisms from Obama's campaign and Democrats.

"This is politics, and if you can't stand the heat in this little kitchen, wait until the Obama Hell's Kitchen turns up the heat," Romney said on "Fox & Friends."

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Newt Gingrich has urged his fellow candidates for the Republican presidential nomination to stay positive in their campaigns, vowing he will do so himself and suggesting this week that Romney can call off the attack ads funded through a pro-Romney super-PAC.

Romney reminded the Fox News hosts that he cannot coordinate with the super-PAC. "I'm sure I could go out and say, 'Hey, please don't do anything negative,' " Romney said, but indicated he would not. 

There's nothing in any of these ads about Gingrich that President Obama would not bring up later on down the road, Romney added. 

"It's probably a good time for people to see these things, make up their minds," he said.

"The Speaker, by the way, has been pretty critical of me, too, and has laid out a whole series of attacks on me," Romney said later on MSNBC.

"I've been the subject of some pretty tough attacks" from both Gingrich in the debates and a pro-Obama super-PAC, Romney pointed out.

"We have to show that we as a Republican Party and as a candidate can stand up to the barrage that's going to come from the Obama world," he continued.

Romney has criticized the campaign finance laws that allow unaffiliated super-PACs to raise unlimited funds so long as they do not coordinate with a candidate.

"I think a campaign ought to have all the funds and run its own ads as opposed to these independent expenditure [groups]," he said.

Romney also responded on Fox News to his supporter, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's, admission that he has asked Romney to be a little "edgier and bolder" as a candidate. 

"I'm hoping to become president of the United States, not a talk show host," Romney said. "There are times when I have to be tough, and you can remember a few times during the debates, I'm willing to be tough. I'm not willing to be a bomb-thrower and go over the top and say outrageous or outlandish things, incendiary things, simply for the purpose of getting people excited."

— This post was updated at 9:19 a.m.

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