November 18th, 2012
01:23 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich: Romney ‘gifts’ comment ‘nuts’

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich had harsh words Sunday for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s suggestion that he lost the election because President Barack Obama offered “gifts” to African-Americans, Hispanics, and young voters.

“I just think it’s nuts,” Gingrich said on ABC. “I mean, first of all, it's insulting.”

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“The job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can't offer a better future that is believable to more people, we're not going to win,” said Gingrich, who launched blistering attacks on Romney last spring while seeking the presidential nomination himself.

Revelation of Romney’s comments drew criticism from others within his own party, such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – who said a winning strategy does not involve “insulting (voters) and saying their votes were bought” - and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who said, “Rhetoric like this keeps digging a hole for the Republican Party.”

Romney was quoted by several news outlets as having made the comments on a call with top donors Wednesday, and CNN confirmed he made similar arguments in a separate call earlier in the day.

"What the president, president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote," Romney said in the later call. Portions of audio from the call aired on ABC that evening.

The New York Times quoted Romney as having said, "With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift."

"Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women," he continued, according to the Times. "And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."

Romney has stayed out of the public eye since losing the election nearly two weeks ago, and his longtime spokesman did not return a request from CNN for comment about his remarks.

Jindal spoke out against the comments at the Republican Governors Association meeting earlier in the week, and on Sunday described Romney as “honorable and exceptional” but said the comments do not represent his party.

“I'm proud to have campaigned for him across the country, but I absolutely reject what he said. Look, we as the Republican Party have to campaign for every single vote,” Jindal said on Fox. “If we want people to like us, we have to like them first. And you don't start to like people by insulting them and saying their votes were bought. We are an aspirational party.”

The GOP will not succeed by “just having better PR folks,” he said.

CNN exit polls showed Romney won white voters, while Obama carried 93% of African-American voters, 71% of Latino voters, and 73% of Asian voters. Obama outperformed Romney among voters under 39 years of age, while Romney carried a majority of voters over 40.

Graham said Hispanics “voted for (Obama) because he's the lesser or two evils.”

“We're in a big hole. We're not getting out of it by comments like (Romney’s),” Graham said on NBC. “When you’re in a hole, stop digging. He keeps digging.”

Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra said on ABC that the comments show the Republican Party did not “read the tea leaves from November 6, and I think they're still harkening to yesteryear. It's a new day in America, and they should be catching up.”

– CNN's Ashley Killough and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report


Filed under: Latinos • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • President Obama
soundoff (397 Responses)
  1. Mrs b

    Love the Repubs! They think my child voted for Obama to get her birth control pills! Try asthma and inhalers she can not afford! I have paid insurance premiums for 35 years, have remained healthy, and am delighted to have my 25 year old on my insurance. I think our insurance cos. do quite well. Give me a break, Mr Ignorant Gingrich!

    November 18, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  2. meetings with not-so remarkable men

    see America this is the soul of an empty man.

    November 18, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  3. JDM

    "Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra said on ABC that the comments show the Republican Party did not “read the tea leaves from November 6, and I think they're still harkening to yesteryear. It's a new day in America, and they should be catching up.”

    Truth x1000. I stongly think this election changed America for the better. Had Romney won, there was, in my opinion, a very strong possibility that the Republics wiuld have been able to turn things back to

    November 18, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  4. John Stockton

    I suspect Rmoney will fade away into obscurity much quicker than Sarah Palin. Both are embarrasingly sore losers in every sense of the word!

    November 18, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  5. 4spdstick

    it's just funny, that's all. mitt can't stop saying stupid nonsense when it's all too apparent to everyone but him that remarks like that cost him the election. and it's all on tape for next time.

    November 18, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  6. mat

    Why its so hard to accept the fact what Romney said is plain truth!!!!

    November 18, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  7. Chrystal

    It's like being in quicksand. The more they wiggle the deeper they sink!!

    November 18, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  8. Cros

    Romney's done with politics so he can call it like it is. Those who are still pandering for votes need to pretend to be insulted. Their faux indignation is their own gift to the voters they hope to win over.

    November 18, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  9. deebama

    Let them eat crow; or each other.

    November 18, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  10. Sodaflint

    Had Romney not been so far in left field, so to speak, he would have had my vote. He also would have had the vote of many of my gay, black, and latino friends as well. I hope this is a wake up call that it's not 1950 any longer. Face it, Romney was in LALA land... and from this article, apparently still is.

    November 19, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  11. Hugh Mann

    PLEASE, just let this all go away...18 months of Republican insanity is TOO much

    November 19, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  12. mike

    Fee foodstamps...Free housing...free medical...freeeducation...What Romney said is true,,,Just come to California and see for yourself. Hispanics are are destroying this once beautiful state!!!!

    November 19, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  13. 47%madashell

    No, I think the Repubs are doing a great job! They should stick to their principles forever and not change a thing!
    Hatred and bigotry are cool in some demographics! Exclusion, except for people identical in every way, especially
    in the bank account. We need the Repubs to keep chanting and singing kumbayuh for another two years and get the house back. Tea Party obstructionism is the death blow to the repub Party! Let the fools have their way! If you think the 1950s was the best decade in American history and are constantly trying to recreate the social inequality of that era, vote Repub.
    Remember we couldnt drink from the same water fountain or ride the same bus., though. The Repubs have a nightmare social agenda based on slave conditions for half the population (hint, not their half).

    November 19, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  14. Iowaeyes

    Gee, a republican cheater calling a republican liar out of touch. Hmmm. Will, they please take McCain ( another out of touch sore loser) and Graham to the retirement home. Maybe, congress could compromise and get some business done.

    November 19, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Newt ,
    how dose it feel to drive your mini bus over Mitt ?

    With friends like Mitt , who needs enemies ?

    November 19, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  16. 47%madas....

    No, I think the Repubs are doing a great job! They should stick to their principles forever and not change a thing!
    one for you, two for me , one for you, three for me, one for you, fouteen for me...

    November 19, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  17. Stan

    Mitt the Hypocrite. Okay then let's talk about churches and religious organizations that are built on tax free money. The religious right overwhelmingly voted for Romney. Sad thing is by Mitt saying this, he thought his donors were as gullible as the voters were.

    November 19, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  18. Stan

    What about churches and religious organizations that are largely built on tax-free money? And the religious right voted overwhelmingly for Romney.

    November 19, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  19. MasterOfSparks

    If Republicans believe that "gifts from the gub'ment" is such a bad thing how come most of the them are on Social Security and Medicare? But I notice they are willing to take those benefits away from their own children. They're like a plague of locusts stripping everything of value from the land.

    November 19, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  20. Hey

    Time for a new party to come in let's shake it up a little.

    November 19, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  21. Dave A

    Boo hoo we lost. Tried to cheat andthat didnt even work. OMG! We may kave to finally pay our fair share

    November 19, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  22. This Guy

    At this rate, the GOP is going the way of the Whig Party. They will have to rename and rebrand their party to come back from the hole they've collectively dug themselves in.

    November 19, 2012 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  23. Anania

    I am looking forward to Moderate Republicans in the forefront and leading the GOP. This should have been done 10 years ago.

    November 19, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  24. bp

    It's equally nuts to have a confessed serial adulterer being a contender for the Presidential nomination of the Family Values Party.

    November 19, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  25. Derek

    This is tasty desert right here.

    November 19, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
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