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. Randy, San Francisco

    Unfortunately too many conservative talk show entertainers like Limbaugh agrees with Romney. They continue to preach the same old stereotypes, intolerance, and lies that turned off so many voters.

    November 18, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. GloSeattle

    Wow, my comment awaiting moderation? First Disguis, and now CNN, what is going on? "Comments are not pre-screened before they post." (See below) Did someone complain I've been abusive? If so, email me, and I'll be happy to respond, that's preposterous!! I don't even curse on my posts, let alone let slurs fly!

    November 18, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. K. in Miami

    It's ironic that Newt Gingrich ran around refering to the President as the best Food Stamp President in History, the defeat of this President is tantamount to stopping the rise of the third reich in Germany, the same Newt that says Black kids shoud all be Janitors....To hear him say Willard Robme insults voters is kinda like hearing a prositute criticize a Escorts line of work.....

    I say give the Republicans what they want, give them a Island is the South Pacific and they can have their all white WORLD.....!

    November 18, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. AC Summers

    Just think if this person would have won. His truth is really showing. First the voluntary self-deportation, the 47% assumption, then the women in binders, now gifts...he is really out of touch and had a country club mentality. And the GOP backed this person...good luck in 2016. Newt said it best you have to have inclusion and not outreach. The GOP has neither.

    November 18, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Let's Move Forward

    The whole republican party is nuts. They ran off the moderates like my family. They let the tea party take over. They were willing to back a spineless, inept, fraud like Romney. They were willing to sell our country to the 1%. They threw the middle clas and poor under the bus. Republicans there are not enough racists and rich people to elect you anymore.
    Forget reaching out to miorities because republicans lost them a long time ago. As for my family we will never vote republican again we are just not into the hate and racism.

    November 18, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Squigman

    To bad the republicans didn't recognize the lack of leadership ability in Romney to begin with. Then again why would they recognize this trait when so many of the republican rank and file seem to thrive on controversy, and remarks that are generally hateful. Not one time did the republican political machine reign in some of their more camera hogging people, when remarks were made that were lies. The only reason for any change in these so called leaders is pure and simple. They're worried about their incomes, nothing more.

    November 18, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. dave

    Of course he gave them gifts. Thats how washington works. Obama just had more people to give to. Now the few makers that are left need to work harder for the takers.

    November 18, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. Johnny

    8% unemployment, 23 million people unemployed, $16 trillion debt, $4 gas/gallon, rising food prices, no explanation of 4 dead Americans in bengazi, CIA scandal and the lst goes on and on; but Obama has a good vision for our country. And if noting goes right, he can blame Bush. I wish my boss would allow me to blame others when I can't fix something!

    November 18, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. AC Summers

    Romney would have been good for big business and upper incomers they continue to keep their gifts but not the hard working middle class would have been &crewed.

    November 18, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. Vence

    So, now gifts for the 47% Mr Romney and you lost the election for president of the United States. I love the GOP and it's candidates for everything.

    November 18, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  11. usualone

    Plenty of us older whites also voted for President Obama. For instance, why would any woman vote for the GOP when they have women's issues on their platform which do not benefit women. I cannot imagine any woman voting for Romney (I actually knew some lesbians who voted for him) except women who have to follow their husbands' leads or they are rich women who feared their taxes will go up. Again, I'm generally talking, not trying to nitpick the thinking of ALL women.

    November 18, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. Vence

    But Mr Romney with gifts for the 47% you still had the 53% to win elections. What happened then?

    November 18, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. RobK

    Give me a break! Everyone knows Mitt is right. He lost the election because there were enough moochers voting for Obama, that it tipped the balance. "I'm voting for Obama because he gave me a phone" – remember that? Food stamps are up by a huge amount. Romney only lost by 350,000 votes out of 120,000,000.

    November 18, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. More of the same

    Quite surprising comments, no? Gifts? Free stuff? Maybe Obama care ain't so bad?

    November 18, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. More of the same

    do other poster's comments await moderation???? Or, is it just me???? Thanks for the 1st amendment rights, CNN.

    November 18, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. Tina in Tempe

    This man, was the worst offender of all the gop candidates; how dare he. Now he's attempting to play the role of an inclusive politician. Obama won; thank God.

    November 18, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. david

    so if the republicans knew mitt was bad...why did they support mittens as outr president??? its like a good friend of yours asking you to buy expired bagged apples, when they know they have started rotting in side the bag and could make u sick, but encourage you to buy the bag of apples anyway! the republican party leaves a sour taste in my mouth, with friends like these.....

    November 18, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. migeli

    Do not give in to Republicans this time.Tax the wealthy as they were before Bush.Tax cuts for the wealthy don't t createjobs obviiously.

    November 18, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. Carlos

    The scary part is that 48 million plus voted for this man (Mitt), It troubles me to think that the hate for Obama, or what ever is that would drive any average American to vote for this rich (moneywise) but poor (in substance) man, was so blindly strong.

    November 18, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  20. migeli

    We don't need no stinkin moderaters.We dn't need no stinkin Mitch McConnell.We don't need no stinkin Mitt Romney.We don't need no stinkin John Boehner.We don't need no stinkin Eric Cantor.We don't need no stinkin Tea Party.

    November 18, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. yogi

    Jindal was right: The GOP will not succeed by “just having better PR folks”. If they don't change the content it doesn't matter whatever the color you give the package. The problem will remain the same for the republicans: They don't know how to listen, or how to govern, or how to live in reality, and on top of that the GOP glorifies stupidity, and you cannot fix that either.
    So.....have a nice party!

    November 18, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  22. noteasilyswayed

    Marco Rubio will not be able to get the "Latino" vote if he continues to spouse right wing extreme ideology..... the GOP will have to change a lot to convince anyone other than old white males and southern rednecks to vote for them in 2016. Take a look at the expression on the faces of Boehner and McConnell when they are talking about the so-called "fiscal cliff" on national TV and one can easily see how angry they are and how they are not going to really compromise on anything major.

    November 18, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. Jimbob

    Wow, did C N N edit out every conserv post? You dopes would follow this admin right over a cliff. Obama would stop and say I'll be right behind you and ALL the lib's would jump saying c'mon he said he was coming, he would NEVER lie.

    November 18, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. chill485

    Even if what Romney said was true, and it isn't. How would that be different from millionaire's supporting Romney who promised huge cuts to their taxes?

    November 18, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. pflatman

    "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." The Mormon dweeb needs to go back to the time and land of Joseph Smith. Just stay out of politics, dipwad, and keep shuttering American companies.

    November 18, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
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