Romney: Gingrich 'doesn't understand the economy'
December 14th, 2011
11:54 AM ET
3 years ago

Romney: Gingrich 'doesn't understand the economy'

(CNN) - The ongoing spat between Republican frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich plodded on Wednesday as Romney accused his rival of economic ignorance.

Romney was responding to a call from Gingrich to return the money he made at Bain Capital, a private equity firm he helped found in the 1980s. On Monday Gingrich said Romney and his company were responsible for "bankrupting companies and laying off employees."

"Unfortunately the speaker's way off on that," Romney said Wednesday on Fox News. "In my enterprise, we had the occasion to help build tens of thousands of jobs, and he doesn't understand the economy if he doesn't understand that sometimes businesses succeed and sometimes fail."

Romney quarreled with Gingrich's suggestion that his former profession was bad for the country.

"To suggest that there's something un-American or something wrong about investing in an enterprise that ultimately doesn't succeed bespeaks an extraordinary lack of understanding about how the economy works," Romney said.

Romney also brought up a point his campaign began pounding early Wednesday: comments Gingrich made in 2008 that called on anyone who profited from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to return the money.

Romney's campaign released a video of Gingrich discussing the mortgage giants' failures, saying: "Everybody who was profiting from them should pay the cost of having failed. And the general taxpayer should not bear that burden."

On Fox, Romney followed up his request for Gingrich to return the money he made consulting for the mortgage giant.

"He said anyone who profited from Freddie Mac should give the money back. Well, he profited $1.6 million from an agency that helped bring down the entire economy; he ought to give it back," Romney said.

Romney also went after President Barack Obama for his handling of a downed American drone in Iran, using his harshest language yet to criticize Obama for not doing more to prevent sensitive information from getting into Iranian hands.

"He was extraordinarily weak and timid in a critical moment," Romney said. "This will have severe implications for us, long term, and it was a terrible mistake on his part. I find it incomprehensible that he didn't destroy it, or go get it. I think destroying it would have been a good deal easier. Destroy it immediately, or go get it."

On Monday, Obama said the U.S. had asked Iran to return the drone, but on Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on an Iranian television station that his country "has been able to control" the downed RQ-170 Sentinel drone.

U.S. officials have not confirmed whether or not video released last week by Iranian state media indeed shows the downed drone, and have not commented on the capacity of the drone to self destruct.

Romney said that Obama was making a mistake in not at least attempting to recover the aircraft.

"The idea of letting it fall into the hands of people who will use it against us, use the intelligence capacity against us, is an extremely enormous mistake on the part of this president," Romney said.


Filed under: Economy • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Food stamps for billionaires.

    I am getting the impression that, according to Mitt, he is the only person who knows what is going on, by dismissing recommendations of financial experts. He is like the driver going the wrong way on a government interstate, complaining that everyone else should change directions.

    December 14, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. Wyobob

    Do you really believe obama told the army to fly that drone over iran? I'll bet that he didn't even get an email.

    December 14, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    I see the infant is now trying to get past his latest gaffe ... problem is, the more Romney talks, the less sense he makes. Just watch his bobbling head. The more angry or upset he gets, the more his head starts wiggling. Rather funny, actually.

    December 14, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Riley

    Mitt Romney will do a great job at getting this country back on track. Obama has been a disaster.

    December 14, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. beevee

    Of course the only aim of the GOP leadership is to cut taxes to the wealthy and let the middle and low incomes suffer it is not surprising that Gingrich and recent republican presidents in the WH, it is not surprising that they do not have clue about the economy. That includes Romney as well. He is all talk.

    December 14, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Max

    Grappling

    Romney is now grappling for ideas...obviously. He's jumping and chirping like a cricket from one subject to the next without any substance. This is the mark of a man who's getting nervous as he realizes that the American people have had enough of his filp-floppings on major issues. After all, 'What is Mormonism all about'?

    December 14, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. GT

    Hmmm, how does Romney justify his blather about Solyndra when he makes statements like "To suggest that there's something un-American or something wrong about investing in an enterprise that ultimately doesn't succeed bespeaks an extraordinary lack of understanding about how the economy works."

    December 14, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Food stamps for billionaires.

    Mr. Romney, other than 20% of the republicans, you got nothin'. For what it is worth, Mitt isn't even going to win the "Miss Congeniality" award in this years republican presidential clown show.

    December 14, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Peace

    Mitt, you are getting it wrong. This is not the time to go after the President. What you need to do is to go after Newt though I do think your efforts will not give the results you want. No one can be baptised in a church they do not believe in. Conservatives do not believe in you. To change their minds now, is beyond anyone's thinking!

    December 14, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. jon

    Romney is tearing down a house in LaJolla, California which is said to be worth about 3 million dollars, so that he can build a new house on that property overlooking the ocean. The new home is said to be costing around 12 million dollars. Don't you just love these guys wanting to represent us, the middle class, who can barely makes ends meet from check to check? Let's just elect the Mittster so he can promptly rip us a new one like the rest of the Republican Presidents have done. Great.

    December 14, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. vic , nashville ,tn

    Romney’s economy bankruptcy and job killing

    December 14, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. Indy

    If Romey knows so much about the economy why hasn't a big corporation offered him a job ? If the economy is Romneys best subject why hasn't he created a company and employment in the past eight years ? Mitts is a silver spoon boy that thinks he is entitled to be the Republican nominee even thought people don't like his warm fuzzy personality.

    December 14, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Emma

    This is just like 2008 when Romney fell behind and then started the negative attacks – how'd that work out for him? It will have the same affect this time time around. Watch Romney start to plummet in the polls now that he's begun attacking Newt. Romney is like the worst kind of politician – he changes positions & statements to suit the situation. Nobody believes anything he says, that's his problem & why he can't get more than 20% of GOP support. Romney will NOT be the GOP nominee, I'm sure of it. Also goes to show that he didn't learn any lessons from watching Hillary's "inevitable" campaign in 2008....nobody is inevitable. For me, this shows a lack of judgement on Romney's part, not good when you are running for president. Newt on the other hand has shown good judgement in his campaign, staying positive & focusing on substantive issues....he clearly better understood the mood of the electorate...something you DO want in a president.

    December 14, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Food stamps for billionaires.

    Mitt's only hope to win the republican nomination is that all the right wing extremists who make up the GOP, have ADD.

    December 14, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. PaulMATL

    Gingrich and others in the GOP have for a few years erroneously made Barney Frank and F & F the face of the financial crisis. Now we find out that Newt had been profiting from them. He didn't give them advice as was his lie during the debate last month. He was paid to get support in the GOP for Fannie and Freddie. What a two faced liar Newt is. I think the democrats are hoping Newt is the GOP nominee, but that probably isn't gonig to happen.

    December 14, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Romney: Gingrich 'doesn't understand the economy'"

    "...And I should know because we're saying a lto of the same silly crap."

    December 14, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Common Sense

    Mitt, did you ever wonder why the ENTIRE Republican party is looking for someone that IS NOT YOU to get nominated for President? LOL

    December 14, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. Bobby

    Mitt would be an utter failure as president. Mitt knows how to make money, he doesn't know how to creat jobs.

    December 14, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "I find it incomprehensible that he didn't destroy it, or go get it. "

    You know who doesn't find it incomprehensible? The soldiers who are just coming back from Iraq, who are still stuck there or in Afghanistan and their families...that's who doesn't find it incomprehensible that Obama chose not take actions that would, wihtout any argument, constitute committing an outright act of war with Iran. Why don't you stop by a military base and visit with some of our recent veterans to get their take on whether they'd like to spend a few tours of duty in Iran in the very near future, eh Mittens? Be sure to ask their children and sopuses too.

    December 14, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Bart

    I don't think Mitt really understands the economy either. Other than his general comments to lower taxes (which has already been tried) he has nothing.

    December 14, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    "In my enterprise, we had the occasion to help build tens of thousands of jobs, and he doesn't understand the economy if he doesn't understand that sometimes businesses succeed and sometimes fail."

    He sure loves to throw out the number 10 and thousands doesn't he? What he doesn't tell you is how many people LOST their jobs under his job creation plan. The man is brilliant at one thing – deception.

    December 14, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. gg

    china did not send american jobs to china –people like you did

    December 14, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. NRC

    Bobby

    "Mitt would be an utter failure as president. Mitt knows how to make money, he doesn't know how to creat jobs."
    -
    What are you talking about?? Why in the world would anyone create a job without the goal of making money? That has to be one of the silliest comments I have ever heard in my life. You either make money in the private sector or you go out of business. He is successful because he took significant risk, worked hard an profited.

    You can dislike his policies or even him, but how could you possibly say he doesn't understand the economy? The dude is a proven winner there. He has created more jobs than all the other candidates combined.

    December 14, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. ted

    Yo Mitt, stop calling NEWT speaker. He hasn't spoken for anyone but himself in a very long time. Call him NEWT.

    all the GOP candidates are out of touch. only one choice

    Obama/Biden 2012

    December 14, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Marley

    So Mitt wants Obama to start WW3 over a downed piece of metal junk? Right!

    Anybody who claims Obama has been a disaster for this country is plain ignorant. You have absolutely nothing to back up your assertion.

    Obama inherited an economy from Bush and the GOP that had an UNEMPLOYMENT TRAJECTORY of 25-30%!

    If Obama had done nothing and left all the GOP economic policies in place, we would had another GREAT DEPRESSION. Instead, Obama has stopped the bleeding to only 8-9% UNEMPLOYMENT.

    December 14, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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