January 26th, 2012
02:39 PM ET
2 years ago

Dole assails Gingrich in plea to conservatives

(CNN) - Bob Dole, a Mitt Romney supporter and former Republican presidential nominee, issued a scathing statement Thursday blasting Newt Gingrich for being a "one-man-band who rarely took advice."

In an open letter to conservatives distributed by Romney's campaign, Dole said he personally took steps to assist the former House speaker pay off a penalty levied by the House Ethics Committee.

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"In 1997 a number of House members wanted to throw him out as Speaker," Dole wrote. "But he hung on until after the 1998 elections when the writing was on the wall. His mounting ethics problems caused him to resign in early 1999. I know whereof I speak as I helped establish a line of credit of $150,000 to help Newt pay off the fine for his ethics violations. In the end, he paid the fine with money from other sources."

Gingrich has characterized the penalty from the ethics panel as reimbursement for their investigation, which centered on a college course he taught that was misclassified as tax-exempt.

Dole drew on his own experience with the former House speaker to paint the candidate as lethal for the Republican Party.

"If Gingrich is the nominee it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state, and federal offices," Dole said. "Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway."

Dole, who served in the U.S. Senate when Gingrich was House speaker, harkened back to Gingrich's style during his time in Congress.

"Gingrich had a new idea every minute and most of them were off the wall," Dole said. "He loved picking a fight with Bill Clinton because he knew this would get the attention of the press. This and a myriad of other specifics helped to topple Gingrich in 1998."

Dole endorsed Romney in December, and made calls to allies in Iowa urging them to support Romney ahead of the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses. Dole won Iowa in 1996, but ultimately lost the general election to Bill Clinton.

In his letter, Dole placed a measure of blame on Gingrich for the loss.

"In my run for the presidency in 1996 the Democrats greeted me with a number of negative TV ads and in every one of them Newt was in the ad. He was very unpopular and I am not only certain that this did not help me, but that it also cost House seats that year."

Dole pointed to a particular eccentricity of Gingrich's, saying the former speaker's style was as puzzling as it was harmful.

"Newt would show up at the campaign headquarters with an empty ice-bucket in his hand-that was a symbol of some sort for him-and I never did know what he was doing or why he was doing it," Dole wrote.

Also see:

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Filed under: 2012 • Bob Dole • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    People who support any republican clown are dumber than a . . .a jariv.

    January 26, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. reggie patrick

    Just look at all the "fence-walking" mild,waspy, pasty, moderates coming out of the woodwork, for the"MANNEQIUIEN from MASS"– Check out George H , Loser Dole, Shrub W wasted our treasury, Waspy McCain and now Moderate Mitt is being annointed to follow their lead! As a hard right conservative i will vote for Obama over Mild Mod Mitt. I would rather see our country go down at the leading of an obvious enemy that perish at the lead of these pathetic middle of the road "luke warm elite republicans. Nothin in the middle of the road but dead skunks and yellow stripes.

    January 26, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. mfm321

    "His way or the highway" Newt is just like Ø

    January 26, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Wes

    Dole a loser, who still at the republican party for not making him president. shut-up and sit down has been you had your turn

    January 26, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. B. Golan

    IT IS NOT your TURN Mitt Romney!

    January 26, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. v_mag

    Anti-coffee, I'm telling you! No wonder the Tea Party doesn't like him! (I've gotta go now. I'm feeling jittery.)

    January 26, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Blipnil

    Because Dole was such a good candidate himself.

    January 26, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. Wes

    Dole a loser, who still mad at the republican party for not making him president. shut-up and sit down has been, you had your turn
    sorry forgot a word

    January 26, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. John Sheridan

    If Dole and Delay are speaking against Newt, maybe there is some value to his candidacy after all. These two former long time Globalist Republican establishment operatives are a true pointer to the Republican Establishment 'favorite son'.

    January 26, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Steve

    yes, because Bob Dole was so good for the GOP ticket! The Dems picked up 9 seats in the House,a s Dole went down in a huge defeat, garnering less than 41% of the vote and losing in 32 states!

    January 26, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. John

    Having pundits criticize Newt for never wanting to compromise is not a good way to get people to turn against hm. Most conservatives' biggest criticism of the other candidates is that all they do is compromise. I'm not fond of any Republican candidates, btw, but saying Newt is bad for not backing down is a misguided, self-defeating pitch.

    January 26, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. nutz nvise

    Dole is just like McCain – A LOSER, A SELLOUT, A RINO. Having the likes of Dole and McCain criticizing Gingrich only makes me like him more. If they hate him so much, then he can't be like they are .... GOOD!!

    January 26, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. rob

    If Bob Dole does not like Newt that is enough for me. The inside the belt way crowd is scared to death that Newt will win and put an end to their party. He will bring fiscal resposiblity to the goverment and that is what they fear. No more feeding at the trough with tax payers money. I will vote for for Newt. Go Newt Go.

    January 26, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. Keith Coates

    Thanks Bob your candidacy was wonderful...you got whooped by Bill Clinton. Your next job was a Viagra pitchman...need I saw more? Don't be so hard on Newt, Bob... pun intended!

    January 26, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Keith Coates

    Thanks Bob your candidacy was wonderful...you got whooped by Bill Clinton. Your next job was a Viagra pitchman...need I say more? Don't be so hard on Newt, Bob... pun intended!

    January 26, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Keith Coates

    Thanks Bob your candidacy was wonderful...you got whooped by Bill Clinton. Bob's next job was a Viagra pitchman...need I say more? Don't be so hard on Newt, Bob... pun intended!

    January 26, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Frank Hunt

    Bob Dole "it's my turn" cost us the Presidency...he was hated and dispised by Conservatives,,,the McCain of his time

    January 26, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. S Norton

    I still have hope that the Republican ticket is Romney and Perry. I think that would be a winner!

    January 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    SouthTexan - God please protect this great country
    =====================================
    Yes, we need all the help we can get with Obama in the Whitehouse.

    January 26, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. Red

    Dole. McCain. Romney. All RINOS. All unexciting and cut from the same mold. Obama beat McCain smartly and Obama will beat Romney... maybe not so smartly. Remember that the ONLY thing that gave McCain a boost was choosing Sarah Palin and HE still got pretty much of a shellacking. I look for the Romney race to be about as exciting as the pre-Palin choice. Oy!

    January 26, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. logicnLA

    Interesrting that Dole isn't concerned that a morally depraived man wants to run the country, just that he would have an adverse effect on other Republicans.
    I love the Republican parrty more and more everyday.

    January 26, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Vince

    You mean RINO Dole who lost miserably to Clinton in 1996 doesn't support Gingrich? Well, that settles it. Now I'm definitely going to support Gingrich.

    January 26, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Hey Wire, you made my day! (I'm laughing with you, friend!)

    January 26, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. Maxwells

    Now all the players that couldn't get the public behind them ...are attempting to knock-out Newt?

    I guess Mitt has been making a lot of deals behind the scenes to keep the Washington status quo and stop Newt from turning things upside-down.

    January 26, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Doug

    Since when was Bob Dole a Conservative? He, like McCain, were Republican nominees for president who lost because they campaigned like LOSERS.

    Republican House Leaders before Gingrich were smugly content to let the Democrats rule. Gingrigh bucked these worthless Leaders and was responbsible for gaining the first election of a Republican House in decades.

    Dole is of the same cut as those former Senate and House Leaders who went along to get along, and the Democrats walked all over him and them. Give Gingrich some credit for bringiing the Republican Party to prominence for the first time since the Thirties.

    January 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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