Newt Gingrich demanded Friday that Mitt Romney stop the barrage of TV attack ads that badly damage him and Rick Santorum each time they seemed poised to make big strides in the GOP presidential race.

Admitting to Louisiana voters that he can’t match Romney and a pro-Romney super PAC in fundraising, Gingrich repeated a plea that thus far the front-running Romney has ignored.

“I challenge Gov. Romney and his super PAC to pledge to take every negative ad about every Republican off the air, because it dishonors them, it weakens the Republican Party, and it helps Barack Obama,” Gingrich told a cheering outdoor crowd of more than 200 in Covington.

Romney has said he doesn’t control the super PAC, Restore Our Future, which has aired most of the hard-hitting ads.

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