March 28th, 2012
10:18 AM ET
3 years ago

Top Obama aide calls GOP charges 'despicable'

Washington (CNN) - Deputy Campaign Manager to Obama's re-election bid, Stephanie Cutter, called Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich's backlash over the president's comments on the controversial Trayvon Martin shooting "despicable."

On Wednesday, Cutter told Soledad O'Brien on CNN's "Starting Point" that the Republican candidates should "watch their own words."

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"I think it's abysmal, despicable that people like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are trying to make this a divisive issue," Cutter said.

On Friday, Obama broke his silence on the Florida shooting of the African American teen, shot in February by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

"If I had a son he'd look like Trayvon," said Obama, promising a thorough investigation into the case.

Following Obama's comments, former House Speaker Gingrich brought the political heat on Sean Hannity's radio show when he called Obama's comments "disgraceful," insisting it was not a matter of what the teen looked like. Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, followed suit when talking to conservative radio host Scott Hennen. He accused the president of unnecessarily injecting race into the discussion.

Cutter is not the first Obama official to speak out against the GOP presidential candidates in defense of the president. David Plouffe, Obama's senior adviser, called Gingrich's comments "reprehensible," saying they came from someone who was "clearly in the last throes of his political career."


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Republicans • Stephanie Cutter
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Independent Voters

    Newt and Santorum are the most disgrace politician in america. President did the right thing to unite everyone because a kid was kill. Newt trying his best to have blacks angry with white people. Trayvon do favor the president.

    See how the republican destroying our country.

    March 28, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. al in memphis

    What's the difference in Obama making that statement versus Will Smith or Tony Dungy or any person of color. If it had been a tragedy related to an Asian american, then Jackie Chan could have made the same statement and emphasize the point that we can't have kids doing normal, routine activities in harms way because of bias culture in this country.

    March 28, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Meanwhile, as Rome burns, Nero fiddles.

    March 28, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Tired of GOP spin

    No Newt, you made that suggestion.

    March 28, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. CBR

    The GOP would like to politicize every action that the President takes. The actions taken by a Neighborhood Watchman against one young man led to the murder of that young man. The gentleman was specifically told by the police not to confront the young man. Because he decided to act on his own the result was a tragedy, The President was commenting on the fact that a life had been taken. The fact is that the young man was Afro-American and thus would resemble a child of the President is plain and simple. Too bad the candidates did not understand what the President was saying. They would like us to believe this country is in constant turmoil when in fact the candidates are the very people who are making the accusations and making the outrageous statements. Definitely turns me away form the GOP.

    March 28, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. king

    When did the repubs party got so gutter, these folks have no dignity or respect for the office they're trying so desperately to get. These folks act worst than me little neices and nephews, "immateur". Its all about spinning and degrading, its like they think the whole united state is a kidnagarden school or something. I admit there is a lot of gullible folks out their that allow their hatred for Obama, that will believe the sky was black if anyone of the repubs would tell them so, but common you've got those people already, you've got to be a little more rational to get the rest of us.

    March 28, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The entire republican party is despicable.

    March 28, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. Orchid333

    I watched that little speech from Obama and in NO way, as a white person, did I take his comments as "divisive" or "driving a wedge" in America. On the contrary, it was a stark reminder that Obama is very first, a father, and that this is a tragedy. We have our first black president, for heaven's sake. Shouldn't that say something about most americans? That we can respect someone regardless of race or color? Newt and Rick ARE despicable for suggesting this was anything political.

    March 28, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. Thinkstr8

    THEY ARE despicable!!!

    March 28, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. steven harnack

    You don't have to have taken a class in logic to know that nothing that the President said resembled, implied, or in any way had anything relevent to what Gingrich, posing the big lie as a question of course, tried to twist it to. Simply shows once again that Gingrich has only what a stupid person thinks is intelligence, and not one little bit of integrity.

    March 28, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. PJ/TX

    What do you expect from a irrelevant, self-absorbed, losing primary candidate that has to sell pictures of "himself"
    for $50 just to keep swimming with the sharks. He is on a book tour with his wife, at the expense of his
    "campaign" donors. Newt knows despicable, he lives it every day.

    March 28, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. WireweirdinSF

    But they agreed with the comments of Bill Mahers comments about Sarah Palin and David Lettermans about Palins daughter, such is the hypocrisy that is democrat liberalism.

    March 28, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    First they insulted this President (yet again) by KEEPING THEIR CHILDREN from school early in his Presidency when he wanted to address them, now they are pissed off because he didn't include their children in his statement. Are you freaking kidding me with this b.s.?!!
    Some of you hate this President but he will prevail, and he will have his second term. There greater forces than yours at work here.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America

    March 28, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. Dave

    Bottom Line, Racial profiling is alive & kicking in This Great Country, We have a ways to go. Bigotry has no place 236 years after America was created. Time to have an open discussion on C-Span. A long, long one. Blacks, whites, asians, Hispanics, Muslims, & all the rest of the Muts, thats me & 50 % of all america. Look, in 100 years, the workd is going to be 1 color. Its not the 60s anymore. lets stop acting like it is. Thank you & God Bless America!

    March 28, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  15. rightytighty

    Much like his "Police acting dumb" comment, Obama, his media collaberators and their public supports have all rushed to judgement without bothering to reasearch the known facts of the case.

    March 28, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    On Friday, Obama broke his silence on the Florida shooting of the African American teen, shot in February by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.
    ---------------------
    It needs to be pointed out that the remarks were a response to a direct question from the press corps.

    March 28, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  17. rs

    It is simply amazing that GOP candidates are actively embracing racist behavior- and actively playing race in trying to advance their cause. Whether it is Gingrich denying the events in Florida, or Arizona's "birther" GOP legislature they are playing with fire- and they will get burned.

    March 28, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Sniffit

    Let's just translate Netwered, shall we: "The POTUS is black and you hate that...please be angry, resentful and hateful based on your underlying irrational feelings about having a black POTUS."

    March 28, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. demwit

    But why would Obama say that if not for the color of his skin? Who is injecting race again?? I'm so confused...

    March 28, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. GI Joe

    It's not about poltics. It's the face that a man that shot a boy walked with no deep questioning.

    If the boy had shot the man, he WOULD have been arrested immediately. ANY time a black kills ANYONE, that black is arrested and questions asked later. Stop making it politics.

    March 28, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. demwit

    Hey, If I had a son he would look like that too! Well, not exactly...

    March 28, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Steve- Illinois

    Obama made this a decisive issue by, once again, sticking his nose into a situation without having the facts! This President needs to get himself some new advisors, and quickly. Instead of Harvard degrees, he needs some people with a little common sense!

    March 28, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. rightytighty

    If I had a son, I would teach him to respect the police, security guards and his elders. My son would have simply ask Zimmerman to walk him home..

    March 28, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. gr8usa

    No, Newt, that is not what the president was suggesting. Anyone who thinks so is a complete moron. Go lay off more campaign staffers. Great leadership – he is responsible for job losses in his OWN CAMPAIGN! Can you imagine the damage he would do with an entire country?!?!

    March 28, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. out of step

    Newt likes to call the President the "Kenyen" in his remarks... and you will normally hear him say these things when campaigning in the south... hmmmm... I wonder why he would do that? Gingrich sounds more and more like he is only after the white vote... and doesn't mind dividing the country in doing so.

    March 28, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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