While reporting on candidate Newt Gingrich "taking a pummeling" from "brutal" attack ads, ABC's Jonathan Karl noted Gingrich's positive response – a "bizarre" Gingrich campaign Christmas video that Karl laughed off as "disturbing." Karl's report aired during the 7 a.m. hour of Good Morning America.
"Uh, it's a little disturbing, let me tell you," Karl scoffed at the festive video. A clip showed campaign workers decked in Santa hats singing a campaign-themed Christmas carol. [Video below the break.]
Karl's report had highlighted accusations and negative ads from the various Republican candidates – par for the course in any election, but which the ABC News correspondent labeled "personal" and "brutal."
"And let me tell you, it is getting personal out there. The once high-flying Gingrich campaign is trying to regain momentum. He's promising still to run a positive campaign, but check out how he is lashing out at his opponents," Karl began his report.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on December 28 at 7:10 a.m. EST, is as follows:
JONATHAN KARL: And let me tell you, it is getting personal out there. The once high-flying Gingrich campaign is trying to regain momentum. He's promising still to run a positive campaign, but check out how he is lashing out at his opponents.
KARL: With his bus rolling across Iowa, Newt Gingrich is trying to get his campaign back on track after taking a pummeling from his opponents.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's about serial hypocrisy.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Newt Gingrich supports amnesty for millions of illegals.
KARL: Gingrich is firing back, hitting Mitt Romney with this.
NEWT GINGRICH, Republican presidential candidate: All I'd say Mitt is, if you want to run a negative campaign and you want to attack people, at least be man enough to own it. That's your staff, and that's your organization. Those are your millionaire friends paying for it.
KARL: Gingrich is talking about these ads run by a so-called "super PAC" supporting Romney, but supposedly independent of his campaign. They have spent $3.7 million, almost twice as much as Romney's official campaign. And the ads are brutal.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Gingrich was fined $300,000 by a Republican congress for ethics violations.
KARL: Romney says he has nothing to do with them, and is forbidden by law to coordinate with the group.
MITT ROMNEY, Republican presidential candidate: My goodness, if we coordinate in any way whatsoever, we go to the big house.
KARL: Romney is attacking on his own, blasting Gingrich over failing to get enough signatures to get on the ballot in Virginia, comparing his campaign to a 1950s sitcom.
ROMNEY: I think he compared that to – what was it, to Pearl Harbor? I think it's more like Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory.
KARL: And Gingrich has other problems. He's clearly worried about Ron Paul, who is on the rise in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN anchor: If he were to get the Republican nomination –
GINGRICH: He won't.
BLITZER: Let's say he were. Could you vote for him?
KARL: But it hasn't all been negative. Over the holiday, Gingrich's New Hampshire campaign released a Christmas-themed video which at best can be described as bizarre.
GINGRICH CAMPAIGN MEMBERS: (Singing) Conservative alternative to Mitt Romney – fa la la la la, la la la la.
(End Video Clip)
KARL: (Laughing) Uh, it's a little disturbing, let me tell you.