Gingrich embraces 'lifelong politician' label
November 30th, 2011
01:48 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich embraces 'lifelong politician' label

Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich defended his professional record and embraced being labeled a "lifelong politician" by frontrunner rival Mitt Romney Wednesday.

"You know, I haven't been as successful as Mitt Romney," said Gingrich. "I've had a long work record in many different jobs and some of them have been really profitable and some of them didn't pay much."

Speaking to reporters at Tommy's Country Ham House, Gingrich pointed to babysitting at Fort Riley in Kansas and being a pinsetter at a bowling alley as low-paying jobs he held in his early teens.

Gingrich mentioned being a small business owner but the White House hopeful but did not mention the lucrative paid speaking circuit or the millions of dollars he earned from clients that included mortgage giant Freddie Mac, after serving for decades as a top House Republican.

Romney's critique of the former House Speaker comes after Gingrich took a swipe at the former Massachusetts governor's conservative record. The exchange follows a recent shift in the GOP presidential race, pitting the two candidates in a heated competition for the top spot in national polls.

Gingrich dismissed the notion that Romney was attacking him. "People get to do what they want to do. I'm going to stay positive," he said.

That didn't stop him from calling fellow presidential contender Michele Bachmann "factually challenged" and likening her to a misguided student.

"It's unfortunate. In the eyes of a teacher, occasionally I'd have a student who couldn't figure out where things were or what things were or what the right date was. When that happens you feel sorry that they're so factually challenged," said Gingrich.

Gingrich was chiding the Minnesota congresswoman for distorting his position on illegal immigration saying Gingrich favors amnesty for the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States. He added, "What I will say is voters will be pretty good over time at distinguishing between people who know the facts and people who don't know the facts."

Wrapping up a three-day campaign swing through the early southern primary state, Gingrich would not speculate whether his campaign might benefit if businessman Herman Cain ended his presidential campaign.

"I don't think you think in those kind of calculus at this point. He's got to do what he thinks is right. All the different candidates will do whatever they do in response to his decision," he said.

– Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • South Carolina
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    He has also been al lifelong sleezy person-His autobiography ,familar to everyone, is enough to turn off the whole country. This is your pick Republicans and tea party-REALLY!!!!

    November 30, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    from the article:
    Gingrich defended his professional record and embraced being labeled a "lifelong politician" by frontrunner rival Mitt Romney
    ----------------
    Of course being labeld as such is indefensible in his case. It seems like "the smartest guy in the room" is being outsmartd to me. What do you think? Romney is going to paint him as a "status quo politician" while simultaneously distancing himself from that stereotype. I think the strategy is brilliant because it will defang Obama from branding him as typical conservative with the same old, ideologicially driven policies.

    November 30, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. BeverlyNC

    Yes, his life as a lifelong politician is evident. Say anything, tell any lie to the audience before you, switch positions depending on which state you are in, have no principles, beliefs you stand by, and want all your past corrupt convictions to be ignored, your adutlerous affairs to be ignored, your support of the President's current policies in the past to be ignored, and suddenly find religion when it suits your need. Calista is a bimbo mistress who is what number wife now? Really, her as First lady? She and her husband Newt are both a joke. All you are is a career liar and adulterer

    November 30, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I keep telling you to watch this slimebucket.
    He's so smooth he'll turn ethics violations and cheating on one's spouse into coveted olympic events!
    Although I have to admit up and until the Tea Party there was nothing wrong with being a lifelong politician, so Romney set himself up for that one.
    Nice slam on bug-eyed Bachman.

    November 30, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I've had a long work record in many different jobs and some of them have been really profitable and some of them didn't pay much."

    [Snort... Coffee up the nose... Gagging.]

    November 30, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. SuperD

    When Ginrich is President, they are going to pass a bill out lawing the Democrat Party since it's basically run like organized crime on taxpayer dollars.

    November 30, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. joe

    amazing! the GOP is now favoring a candidate who has been a career politicain, flip-flopper, 3x married hypocrite! thanks, but i will stick with president obama.

    November 30, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. ST

    Slowly am starting being tired of this man. He is boasting himself too much. I have been successful, I have a long record in a lot of jobs, I have been really profitable, and so on and so forth!

    November 30, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. IDEAS and IDEALS not ideologies

    Wow! I thought I would never live to see this day. While the tea party or the so-called influential wing of the GOP is pushing its anti-immigrant agenda Gingrich, the leading GOP candidate has taken the opposite course on the issue. The tea party has not been shy expressing their disgust for lifelong politicians but Newt has embrace the label. I suspect Newt's strategy is appealing to the moderate and independent GOPers. If he can hold on to that voting block he'll give Obama a real run for his money. More importantly, Newt is doing a great favor to the rest of us. He's ushering the extremist candidates ( the rest of the field), the tea party and their sympathizers into irrelevance where they truly belong. Even if Newt wins next November, the tea party will lose seats in Congress and therefore influence because voters have realize that they are synonymous to gridlock. Either way the tea party loses.

    November 30, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama (who commented) "I keep telling you to watch this slimebucket.
    He's so smooth he'll turn ethics violations and cheating on one's spouse into coveted olympic events!"

    Just caught my breath from laughing at the original article and here you come bringing more laughter!!!!

    November 30, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. Ray

    Draft dodger

    Dead-Beat Dad

    Family Values? Pressing Wife for Divorce in the Hospital

    House Banking Scandal: Newt Bounced 22 Checks

    Book Deals: Murdoch's $4.5 Million wasn't the first

    GOPAC sleaze: Taxpayer subsidies for his partisan campaign course.

    Corporate reward: $2,500/month to Newt's wife

    Who Owns Him?

    November 30, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "When Ginrich is President, they are going to pass a bill out lawing the Democrat Party since it's basically run like organized crime on taxpayer dollars."

    Oh? Do tell. Would you like to explain to the class all the underlying factual evidence for this statement that was no doubt beamed to yuo through your tinfoil idea reception device?

    November 30, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. IDEAS and IDEALS not ideologies

    After all the tea party has no other choice but to vote for Newt. This election cycle had made on thing clear. Although the tea party can affect local races they are a weak and fading national entity.

    November 30, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Chipster

    Gingrich has a Ph.D. in history. He also has a history of being forced to step down as Speaker of the House by his own Party because he violated House ethics rules. He paid $300,000 in fines for using charitable donations to pay for political events! Romney and Perry sliced and diced phrases out of context from Obama's comments to make it sound like he said something totally different from what he actually said – in one case he was quoting McCain! This is the type of dishonesty and lack of ethics that the Republicans support now? How low can they go? I guess we're sure to find out soon.

    November 30, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "Even if Newt wins next November, the tea party will lose seats in Congress"
    ------–
    I wouldn't bet on that – the party of the winning presidential candidate typically also picks up congressional seats as well.

    November 30, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Max

    Lawbreaker

    Gingrich is basically a 'lawbreaker' I hope he is expecting to be impeached as soon as he becomes president, in the same way he was expecting Bill Clinton to be impeached as president. After all. ain't they both guilty of committing the same crime against their wives and families as public officials?

    In the respect, ain't Gingrich a lawbreaker who's seeking to fix the laws to suit himself?

    November 30, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Don't forget, Newt is also a lifelong member of the republican culture of corruption. Newt/Lady GaGa 2012.

    November 30, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Sorensen

    He is a corrupt, dishonest, mentally seriously damaged little sleazeball with a Napoleon complex.
    Is this "the new GOP"? Corny, irrelevant and totally outdated.

    November 30, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. The Other Michael in Houston

    Oh Sniffit, cut Super D some slack. You know how the Teapublicans are, they throw anything at the wall to see what may stick. We all know that Republicans dont like things like, women rights to chose, education, clean air, anyone not caucausion and facts. Well, not all Republicans hate non caucausions, I do know a few sane, open minded, tolerant Republicans here in Houston, but only a few

    November 30, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. GOP TeaParty Clown Car Last Men Standing...Myth the Flip Flopper vs. Newt the "Family Values" Bumble Bee

    Newt is a lifelong corrupt politician...ethically and morally!

    He should be PROUD to wear that label as a lapel pin instead of the US flag!!!

    November 30, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Yikes!

    I don't mind a life-long career politician as long as they serve the people who put them there, this one has not.

    November 30, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Romney, he changes his positions as often as his magic underwear.

    No thanks, you can keep the liar and flipping floppy, ill stick with the Kenyan.

    November 30, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. MTATL67

    As I've said before Mr. Gingrich is extremely full of himself and he will never occupy the Oval Office unless it is as a guest.

    November 30, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. Reasonably

    He's a politician just like the rest of them. Has his sleazy past, his hand-out taking, his multiple mistresses, his hypocrisy over Clinton's affair while at the same time having one – where to start? Will a REAL republican please show up?

    November 30, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Can you picture Pres. Gingrich climbing in/out of Marine One?
    Can you picture Pres. Gingrich biting his tongue while attending one of those international summits?
    Can you picture Pres. Gingrich trying to keep right on teaching his classes (over the internet) like he promised?
    Can you picture Pres. Gingrich prioritizing his party to do something that helps you?
    Can you picture Pres. Gingrich showing restraint with the nuclear option when it comes to Iran?
    Can you picture Pres. Gingrich winning a Nobel Peace Prize?

    November 30, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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