November 17th, 2011
05:47 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich contrasts tea party, 'Occupy' protesters

(CNN) - As hundreds of "Occupy" demonstrators across the country take to the streets on the movement's so-called "Day of Action," GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich came out in full support of cities cracking down on the protesters.

"Every city government has an absolute obligation to enforce the rule of law and to protect private property," Gingrich said at a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Florida. "And frankly, they ought to be filming these people, and every person who engages in violence ought to be given a very long vacation from the streets."

Hundreds of demonstrators and police clashed on the streets of Lower Manhattan on Thursday, as supporters of the movement gathered en masse just days after being evicted from their former encampment at Zuccotti Park.

Waves of protesters across the country also assembled in solidarity with those in New York, where more than 175 people were arrested on Thursday.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "some protesters today deliberately pursued violence," but added that most were peaceful and have "caused minimal disruptions to our city."

Speaking to a crowd of tea party supporters, Gingrich described the "Occupy Wall Street" movement as destructive, hostile and filled with "anti-civilization" behavior.

He compared it to the tea party movement, which he called "constructive to get America on track," and said there could not be a stronger distinction between the two groups.

"They want to tear down our country," Gingrich said. "We love and want to rebuild our country. That's the difference."

The movement started out as a group of demonstrators on Wall Street upset over unemployment and the economy. It has since expanded to cover a variety of issues, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Similar protests have popped up in cities around the world, some of which have been marked by violence.

Gingrich, who's now virtually tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in national polls, said he understands why people are angry - but that they're directing their ire toward the wrong people.

"I think it's reasonable for Americans to be angry, but I would say to them, 'Why don't you go to the Federal Reserve building? Why don't you go to the U.S. Treasury? Why don't you visit Chris Dodd and Barney Frank?'"

But Gingrich soon experienced his own "Occupy" force, himself, as a handful of protesters crashed the event at the end of his nearly 90-minute long appearance on stage.

"We are the 99 percent," they repeated, drowning out Gingrich's speech.

But the former House Speaker quickly fired back, saying he wanted to respond right away and spoke loudly into his microphone.

"There is no such thing in America as 99 percent. We are all 100 percent Americans," Gingrich said, as the tea party supporters in the crowd stoop up and cheered. "We are all part of America."

He then handed over his microphone and walked into the enthusiastic audience.

Also see:

Perry says 'privileged' Obama can't relate

Santorum: Republicans 'ignore some realities' on economy


Cain: How do you say that in 'Cuban?'

Gingrich faces more questions about Freddie Mac


Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Newt Gingrich • Occupy Wall Street • Tea Party
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. pam

    Cont...do wells? with the money backing these people who are like nats rising from wrotten fruit... could they have, instead purchased the solar company in cali that went bankrupt and puts these..people..to work? (at least the ones protesting but not working in that area)? just a thought.

    November 18, 2011 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  2. enuff

    Said the man who has his hand out to big business for "consulting fees".

    November 18, 2011 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  3. Squigman

    What a crock. The stomach on this pig, indicates no meals lost. Wonder if all of the OWS protesters, and their children, if they have children, can say the same. What a joke he is.

    November 18, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  4. Not fooled

    How could he twist the truth 360 degrees. The Tea Party wants to tear down our country(eliminate social programs and agency's) and the 99% wants people to go back to work and build it again.

    November 18, 2011 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  5. Doyle Wiley, MI

    It makes since based on Gingrich past behavior that he would support greed over morality.

    November 18, 2011 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  6. Don in Albuquerque

    Kind of like the vacation Newt should have been given for all his game playing?

    November 18, 2011 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  7. Chris

    The true measure of someone's devotion to freedom is how much they'll defend the rights of those they disagree with.

    November 18, 2011 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  8. onefootinthegrave

    Newt's got a bit of Giuliani in him, and I like it.

    November 18, 2011 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  9. Don

    Easy Newt. One side = Rich. The other side = Not Rich

    November 18, 2011 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  10. JP23

    Ah Newt, the new Sheriff of Nottingham, ready to crack down on those peasants and protect that 1% nobility he works for.

    November 18, 2011 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  11. SPLAT!~

    "Let them eat cake!"

    November 18, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  12. Peikovianii

    OWS has taken whatever message there was and demoted it to the same level as protesters at a funeral. From this point onward they are electing more of the opposition than they are electing those who support them.

    November 18, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  13. Haiku Guy

    The difference between the TEA Party and the Occupy Movement is that the TEA Party is comfortable criticizing the Republicans, and seeks to force the Republicans to adopt small government/low tax positions. The Occupy Movement, on the other hand, assiduously avoids any criticism of the Democratic Party, even as the Democrats engage in the crony capitalism and wealth concentration they are allegedly protesting against.

    November 18, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  14. JR White Bear Lake MN.

    Yes you 99%ers...... You need to just take what the 1%ers are shoving down your throats and like it. Whats wrong with you. Your upsetting Newt.

    November 18, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  15. Yuri

    Hypocracy and hubris has been personified as the neutered Newt and this guy is so massively machiavellian that his sayings and musings have started to irk and annoy a lot of voters. He may have his henchmen and some stooges to shadow him, but he rapidly is becoming a pest and a gadfly. A catnip, he is Not!

    November 18, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  16. New Age Independent

    The "Occupy" group is by far the most lawless of the two. Liberals would scream about names that they claimed were coming from Tea Party, yet they say nothing about the physical violence of Occupy why? They would appear to me more of a gang of thugs who have nothing better to do than to cause damage and distress to everyone. They are not a group to be supported in any way with the things I have seen.

    November 18, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  17. Mike

    Really Newt? We are all Americans? HAve you heard some of your own speeches? You were guilty of ethics violations and now you a guilty of lies. The nomination will not be yours and you will be defeated as yopu should be.

    November 18, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  18. Bill Brannen

    This is an every year occurance. Why do they get paid for doing nothing?

    November 18, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. FBMarky

    If you want to be president, Newtie, you have to do better than that. We are not 100 percent Americans – you made it so that some of you are better than the rest of us. You made millions of dollars helping the banks and corporations destroy the country you claim you want to re-build. You were the destroyer. Good luck in your pursuit of the White House. You'll need it.

    November 18, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. Patriot Awesome

    "And frankly, they ought to be filming these people, and every person who engages in violence ought to be given a very long vacation from the streets."

    They are being filmed and most of the violence is done by the police.

    November 18, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  21. Max

    You sound like a very old nasty man! Shame on you!! Now go eat your spinach.

    November 18, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. roro

    What a load of hooey! It's perfectly okay for the teapartiers to disrupt town hall meetings, shout down and spit on Congress members, show up with loaded weapons, threaten the administration, etc... because they're being "constructive". But the OWS supporters are "destructive" and want to tear down the country. You and your kind just want to keep the status quo by making sure the rich get richer and the middle class gets poorer. Newt, the jig is up. Prepare to be the next arrogant Republican to go down in flames.

    November 18, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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