November 18th, 2012
01:23 PM ET
1 year 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. Wilson

    It is a shame that you get persecuted in this country for telling the truth. Romney might not have been 100% correct, but the basic premise was accurate. Did Obama win because of his "gifts," to the voters? Maybe, maybe not. Were there people that voted for him because he gave them a "phone." Absolutely. Did he get more latino votes because of his backdoor amnesty? Absolutely.

    November 19, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. GI Joe

    Romney's gift was a 20% reduction in taxes - that would have afforded some of his buddies multi-millions every year - quite a gift there.

    November 19, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  3. Wilson

    @Tabeth
    Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women
    "So GOP says young college-aged women in USA are promiscuous"
    ------------------------------------
    Well duh,,,of course they are promiscuouis, otherwise why would they want/need free contraceptives? They want to be able to have all the s$x they want with no consequences. Hmm, let's see,,,what kind of woman is that?????

    November 19, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  4. Steve

    To all you Obama supporters: Do you not realize gas prices where half of what they are today? That the average household income has gone down by 8%, The unemployment rate went from under 5% to 8% under Obama and his policies, Obamacare forced many companies to fire or layoff massive amounts of people in just the lsat couple weeks, and the Middle East is exploding and Obama does nothing but blame others, like the film maker that had a total of 200 views prior to the attacks in Libya. Obama's Libya cover-up, Sylindra's bailout then bankruptsy, running guns to Mexican drug-lords via Fast and Furious debacle, covering up voter intimidation in 2008 by the Black Panthers, and all his non-approved Czars along with his executive orders when Congress won't do what he wants; these things should amount to an impeachment if it was a Republican or a white guy. But because he is a BLACK DEMOCRAT it's all ok, like his buddies Charlie Rangle and the Marion Barry the Mayor of DC.

    November 19, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  5. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So Romney has "Sore Loser Syndrome" and the rest of the Republicans are now going out of their way to make sure everyone else in America knows it.
    Considering these same Republicans (Newt included) only gave lukewarm support to Romney once he secured the nomination, I am not too surprised that the vultures started circling before the body was even dead.

    November 19, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. Steve

    To GI Joe, a 20% across the board tax cut is a gift for all. Do your math and you will see it's a fair share thing. When you all say fair share you mean the rich give up all and the poor give nothing, how is that FAIR? % tax raises and cuts alter everyone EQUALLY. I say get rid of all credits, exemptions, and brackets and tax ALL at the same percentage. Then it is fair to all. If you make a dollar give say 5 or 10 cents to the government. That way the more you make the more you give but it is the same percentage of income.

    November 19, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  7. FactCheck

    Were there people that voted for him because he gave them a "phone." Absolutely.
    -----–

    Were there people who voted for Romney so they could keep their billions hidden in off-shore accounts, pay zero taxes on their multi-billion earnings and have the middle class pay for it all with higher taxes. You betcha.

    November 19, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. FactCheck

    The unemployment rate went from under 5% to 8% under Obama and his policies,
    ---–

    You officially win dolt of the day award. Please go to wikipedia and look up what the UE rate was in Jan 2009. Then go look up the following words "George W. Bush", "war in Iraq", "war in Afghanistan", "Medicare Part D", "Bush tax cuts" and "housing bubble".

    November 19, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  9. david mann

    I used to think Donald Trump won "Blowhard of the Year" award, but I may have to change my vote to "I'm so bitter I can't stand it" Romney. What a pathetic loser you guys nominated. He will NEVER be elected to ANY public office. To have all that money and still be so unhappy. "Loser of the Ages" award definitely to Romney

    November 19, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  10. CDs

    During job interviews the common saying is, "when in doubt, don't". There was a subtle fact that hung over some voters that they "might" lose something. Obama talked amnesty, loan forgiveness, health care coverage. No doubts there! Romney talked about pulling your own weight, paying your own way, and getting out if you didn't belong! Hmmmm gifts might have been the wrong words, how about fear. Like the hiring manager... "when in doubt, don't". I'd be afraid Romney was going to much up a good they. Now the goose is in the cross hairs. Now is the time to be afraid!!

    November 19, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. abby1

    The recent domination of the conservative Republicans have ruined my perception of their entire party. The hate filled and divisive rhetoric they have spewed have severely damaged the unity within our country. Also, it appalls me that they publicly announced they will do anything to destroy the President. Their hatred towards the President, put the American economy and people at risk. The conservative Republican impeded the progress of the economy by obstructing every potential move that could have helped the economy and the American people. If the conservative Republicans really cared about this country, they would not have started their campaign of hate. I doubt if I will ever trust a Republican politician or the Republican party again.

    November 19, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -Wilson

    It is a shame that you get persecuted in this country for telling the truth. Romney might not have been 100% correct, but the basic premise was accurate. Did Obama win because of his "gifts," to the voters? Maybe, maybe not. Were there people that voted for him because he gave them a "phone." Absolutely. Did he get more latino votes because of his backdoor amnesty? Absolutely.
    ***********************************
    And the promises by Romney to repeal the ACA and to get rid of the regs Obama put in place to prevent the economy from cratering again was not a gift? What about all the other promises Romney made that favored his supporters? Once again, the Right acts as though they are as pure as the driven snow as they depict millionaires as an oppressed class. Where were Romney's plans for encouraging companies to come back to our shores, and to have people ready and able to work? Answer, he had no plans. Everything was geared towards turning us into an oligarchy along the lines of Mexico or Chile, with himself and Ryan as the architects of that plan. Gingrich was right in labeling Ryan's ideas as right-wing social engineering, and they would have divided our country even more.

    November 19, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. Wilson

    @FactCheck
    Were there people that voted for him because he gave them a "phone." Absolutely.
    -––
    Were there people who voted for Romney so they could keep their billions hidden in off-shore accounts, pay zero taxes on their multi-billion earnings and have the middle class pay for it all with higher taxes. You betcha.
    ----------------------------------–
    You win the nom de plume oxymoron of the day award, There are no "facts" in your statement. "billions hidden in off-shore accounts," if there were you would not know about it since they would be "hidden." "Pay zero taxes on multibillion dollar earning," wrong again, Romney's plan was to close loopholes so more taxes would be paid. "middle class pay for it with higher taxes," wrong again, taxes on middle class would have been lowered. Dude, way to spout socialist talking points with no actual facts. Your credibility.....zero.

    November 19, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. penny

    So, Romney has his list of excuses about his loss, and, as he whines all of his "becauses", will someone ask him to explain his other 2 losses? He's run for public office 4 times and lost 3 of them.....and when he did win one, the people of that state (Mass.), didn't want his as President? Bottom line: he lost because that's what he does best.....he's a loser.......and his record proves it!!

    November 19, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. Just a thought

    CDs said; Romney talked about pulling your own weight, paying your own way, and getting out if you didn't belong! Hmmmm gifts might have been the wrong words, how about fear. Like the hiring manager...

    -----

    Wow.....can you say vapid and vaccuous? Its almost as if you missed the entire election or didn't have your hearing aide turned up. "paying your own way??? LOL" Robme had no intention of having millionaires pay their own way. He was talking about LOWERING TAXES on his rich buddies....How is that paying your own way?

    Listen, go lay day and quit watching so much Faux news. Every Rank And File GOP member knows your party stinks. Its time the knuckle draggin' followers like you figured that out

    November 19, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  16. ru serious

    The American people have spoken and they elected Obama. He ran an ugly divisive campaign because he could not run on his record. Hope the next four will be better than the last but somehow, I doubt they will be. We do get the president we deserve.

    November 19, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  17. Don

    I'd have to say Romney was pretty accurate, sadly. I suspect sour grapes on Newt's part.

    November 19, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. JB

    The whole system encourages the wrong type of person to go into politics. It does not encourage people who have real solutions and who really want to better the lives of all of the people in this country, Instead it encourages power hungry, greedy, hyper image conscious individuals who will lie or do anything just to get the office for their own narcisstic needs. There are plenty of solutions out there that don't involve cutting benefits (medical, social security etc...) to anyone or raising taxes. At least start with some of those solutions- see how far it goes before cutting benefits or raising taxes. But they would rather focus on divisiveness and keep to their established petty tricks. All while raking in big bucks for themselves. Of course, a few good people get in somehow, but certainly not the majority.

    November 19, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. Facts don't Lie

    sorry Newt but your comments of going after Romney right now don't float with me because what he said sounds like something you would have said yourself. Now all you former Romney surrogates are trying to distance yourself from him because he lost so bad. Well look at your right wing base, read some of the stuff posted here by right wing supporters, they AGREE with Mitt and could care less he insulted over half of the nation with his tantrum. Go on FoxNews and right wing talk radio and tell them that what you said you you may not be invited back.

    November 19, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. chattykathy101

    They??(democratic party??) were bringing non-speaking immigrants who couldn't repeat the name, address, zip code to the voting officer that was on the card. Obvious - card did not belong to them. They were given bags of groceries, of all things. Can you imagine to sell your vote for a bag of groceries. Are conditions so bad in this country.......

    November 19, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Joe

    Keep it up you Repubs Killing your own party!!!!

    November 19, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. Puddin

    Romney and all those people who do not invest in and support this country are traitors. I wish they would all move to the Cayman Islands where most of their money is stashed. These people are just "takers" and are not interested in this country except for what they can take for themselves. I've been saying Romney is one arrogant male. "What, me lose to a black guy?!!! Wah, wah, wah! He isn't very wise, or he would just keep quiet and not make himself look worse. The ones who are backing this country need to do all we can to get our reputation back after such a mess-up by the prior administration.

    November 19, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. Tina

    I think that perhaps the GOP needs to examine some telling numbers: of the states that pay OUT more in taxes than they receive BACK in federal funding, most voted for Obama. The reverse was true for Romney in that the states receiving more than they paid out were predominantly red states. So, guess the 47% DID vote for him, it's just that the 53% preferred Obama.

    November 19, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Rosslaw

    Another "gift" from the Democratic party included substantially increasing GI Bill benefits for veterans when they took over the Congress in 2006, against the straight party line opposition of the Republican party. I guess that makes veterans "moochers" to the chickenhawk right as well.

    November 19, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  25. noodles2loud

    Perhaps part of the reason Romney lost is the possibility that maybe enough voters actually looked at his record. He has held only one elected office, which is the experience that counts the most, as governor of Mass. Yes, it's a blue state, but they often elect Republican governors (and had a Republican senator for two terms, way back in the '60s). Romney didn't even contest his home state. If the state where he held his one and only public office did not want him as President, then I think it is possible that message resonated with voters across the country.

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