Romney camp mocks Gingrich for debate complaints

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich went head to head in the latest Republican presidential debate, held at the University of Florida, in Tampa, Jan. 23, 2012.
Fla. debate a 2-man show between Romney, Gingrich

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Tuesday made it clear he's unhappy that the audience in Monday night's GOP debate was barred from clapping or cheering.

It may be a fair enough complaint from the former speaker -- audience participation has helped him in the past -- but his rival Mitt Romney is nevertheless mocking him as a "cry baby."

In an appearance of Fox News Tuesday morning, Gingrich said he wished he had protested when NBC debate moderator Brian Williams asked the audience to hold their applause.

"I think it's wrong," Mr. Gingrich said, "And I think he took them out of it because the media is terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media, which is what they've done in every debate."

Gingrich won two separate standing ovations in previous debates, but on Monday night, he failed to create any memorable moments.

"We're going to serve notice on future debates," Gingrich told Fox. "We're just not going to allow that to happen. That's wrong. The media doesn't control free speech. People ought to be allowed to applaud if they want to."

Later Tuesday, after Gingrich's remarks, the Romney camp sent reporters a press release with the subject line "A picture is worth 1,000 words."

The email linked to reports of Gingrich's remarks and featured a giant image of a 1995 edition of the New York Daily News. The headline on the paper's front page read in giant letters, "Cry Baby" and was accompanied by a cartoon of a crying baby with Gingrich's head.

Romney has started to campaign more aggressively against Gingrich since the former speaker's victory in the South Carolina primaries. As they head into the Florida primaries, polls show a tight race between the two GOP candidates.