April 20th, 2009
11:20 AM ET
14 years ago

Gingrich: Obama-Chavez exchange will become propaganda

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/20/art.gingrich.gi.jpg caption=" Gingrich said Monday the president's greeting with Chavez will be used as propaganda by enemies."]

(CNN) - President Obama's friendly encounter with Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas will be used as propaganda by enemies of the United States, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday.

Gingrich, the second high-profile Republican to criticize the president's now-famous exchange with the Venezuelan leader in as many days, said countries hostile toward America will view the cordial moment as evidence the United States accepts Chavez as an acceptable leader.

"Everywhere in Latin America, enemies of America are going to use the picture of Chavez smiling and being with the president as proof that Chavez is now legitimate that he is acceptable," Gingrich said in an interview on NBC's The Today Show.

"What I find distressing is that this administration is opposed to looking for oil offshore, but the president bows to the Saudi king, and the president is friends with Venezuela whose biggest impact on us is that they send us a lot of oil," Gingrich added.

Speaking Sunday to reporters Sunday in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Obama brushed aside criticism of the appearance, saying, "It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States."

But in his interview Monday, Gingrich said there is a "shallowness about how [the Obama administration] analyzes things."

"It does matter to the world if the United States tolerates a vicious anti-American propaganda campaign, and then smiles and greets the person who has systematically been anti-American his entire career," he said.

Gingrich's comments come a day after Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, called the exchange "irresponsible" during an interview on State of The Union with John King. (Video below)

Filed under: Newt Gingrich • President Obama
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Mariann Pepitone

    Although I did not vote for Obama I think he is right in trying to make peace with other countries. I do not like Newt and never did. He needs to stay out of the limelight or retire. Countries need to get together and make peace with each other so we can put an end to wars. I am positive Obama knows what he's doing or he wouldn't do it.

    April 20, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. Jim

    Get off your fear-mongering war-horse, Newt. The only people using it as propaganda is the GOP. In fact, the US uses propaganda as much as any other nation, if not more.

    April 20, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. fc71

    how niave are your people to believe that EVERY action by a US president is not taken seriously by the rest of the world. If this episode means nothing, then showing friendship to are allies with smiles and handshakes are relegated to meaningless puppet gestures also. how is the world to determine where the US stands if not by the actions of the president? that being the case, this president's actions clearly indicate one of two things: (1) his true socialist foundation in warming to Chavez or (2) his incredibly niave lack of understanding of international relationships. either option puts the US on a dangerous path that will reap horrific consequences in the future. I fear this president is on a path to dismantle the Monroe Doctrine, which will put the US in incredible danger in the short and long term.

    April 20, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. w.l. jones

    An ancient historian dont understand modern history. Mr. Gingrich had his chance to be president and blew it so sit back and let our president do what he and cabnet think best for the American people.

    April 20, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. James

    I agree with Gingrich. Chavez is an crooked dictator and you don't improve your image by having your President smiling for photo ops with the tyrant. Imagine Obama smiling holding hands with Hitler. And for those of you complaining about all the negativity from Repubs your are complete hypocrites. Dems criticized every move Bush made for 8 years. So please Dems stop putting yourself on a pedestal.

    April 20, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. Kim

    Why weren't the "fearmongers" (GOP) saying nothing when during the 2008 Olympics, George (the Devil) Bush and Putin were sitting like "pals" while they were envading Gerogia!

    Newt,,,,,You are so ignorant.

    April 20, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. C. Crandell

    The comments above regarding Obama’s performance on the world stage from people affiliated with the Republic party, a political party who gave America (USA) George W Bush. Wow, my guess is these Republican party affiliates still don’t “get it”.

    To help Newt Gingrich and others “get it” may I suggest, “suit up, boot up, shut up, and ship out.” They need to get their posteriors over to a war zone.

    April 20, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. Lori

    So let me get this straight. The Republicans such as Gingrich, Limbaugh and Co. can wish for the failure of the President and the United States but Chavez can't dislike Bush. Hmmmm... do you smell hypocrisy here??? I love this. I hope our President keeps on pissing off the Republicans. It only makes the American people (Dems and Independents) turn on them (as the Republicans disapproval of our President goes up. But who needs them anyways? They're a minority fringe group that weren't ever going to like the black man anyways).

    April 20, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    Newt, the quintessence of propaganda. . .

    April 20, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. Rich

    If Barack Obama saved a woman's life with CPR, some bonehead Republican would take him to task for smearing her lipstick.

    April 20, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. Mac in Nova Scotia

    President Obama promised us "Hope" He is keeping his promise. I don't understand why the Republicans can't bring themselves to co-operate with this administration for the good of the country.

    April 20, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |

    Old School Gingrich is still stuck in the past with policies that were proven NOT to work then and certainly won't work now. Cutting off all contact and refusing to acknowledge leaders we don't like DOESN'T HELP ANYTHING. In fact, the GOP's hero Regan didn't do that. "Hold your friends close and your enemies closer" is much more effective than cutting your enemies off and acting like a pouting child with a "I won't talk to you until you agree to do what I want" stance.

    STEVE SAYS: "What I find distressing is the continual negativity and single response: NO. The strategy to walk loudly, self-righteously, angrily, and threateningly while carrying a gigantic stick wielded willy-nilly, and the solution to every problem under the sun being cutting taxes, and invading countries with long-term war on our mind….clearly haven't worked and never will.

    The world has moved forward, and changed. The Repubs need to take of their blinders, come up with something better than personal, and political attacks and develop substantive ideas to help ALL Americans, not just the most wealthy. Because they're stuck in the 20th century, and have nothing positive, energizing, hopeful, or even workable to offer, they will remain the party that wishes it had a brain, a heart, and a purpose." ----------------- and I just wanted to say great post! AMEN TO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 20, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. Venia PA

    You republicans are criticizing yourselves out of any future office. To all you right wing zealot bloggers calling President Obama names, is this what you have been resorted to doing? How pathetic.

    April 20, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. State of Tennessee

    Let's face it, Obama has been implementing the Chavez model in the US since Jan. 20th. The only difference is that Obama is doing it on a fast track because he only has 4 years in which to complete the nationalization of all major businesses and quash the few remaining voices of opposition.

    April 20, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. jt

    then Let's Bring back the cowboy again, Bush and his team, Gingrich is a joke, haha...

    April 20, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. Fair is Fair

    I'm all for keeping your enemies close. Close enough to get them in your crosshairs.

    April 20, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. RepubliKLANs Are Plain STUPID

    HELL will freze over the day the GOP-RepubliKLANs and it's right-wing bigots & racists will say anthing nice about president Obama!

    the constant denigrating of the president by Newt-the-wife-cheater and his band of partisan hack after they've run the country aground for 8yrs is downright mean spirited and without merit!!!!

    April 20, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. sngeorgia

    Finally, a grown-up President. Gingrich is what is wrong with America, ask Megan? Fear mongering at best. Someone even suggested that if you 'shake' a dictators' hand, They will tell you how to run the U.S. LOL.

    April 20, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Ted Cahill

    No more talking from the Republicans! Until they come up with some constructive ideas, they should just shut up!

    All they do is criticize everything Obama does which I wouldn't mind if they offered alternatives other than the same old drivel they have spewed for the last 20 years.

    The world has moved on, and the Republican party has not. The Republicans should listen to Meaghan McCain; she apparently has better ideas than her father and his minions. It is unfortunate that a Republican cannot be nominated without kowtowing to the right wing extremists that dominate their agenda. The party is in danger of going the way of the Whig Party, right our of existence.

    April 20, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. smokey

    I think some of these Republucans seem to forget that they are not the President. It seems no matter what r President Obama does they always have some type of criticism or negative comment to put out there..It really is so sad, they are still using their tired old ways and always trying to put a spin on everything..Thank goodness, the American people are to smart to fall for their tactis...They need to start giving our President Obama the respect that he so well deserves..

    April 20, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. Jonathan

    This is the same Newt Gingrich who said that Obama was being weak in his handling of the pirate situation, right?

    April 20, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. banderson

    Newt Gringrich just illustrated what candidate Obama stated during the campaign. Why are you afraid to talk to your enemies. The President shook President Medevev hands and we weren't necessary on good terms with them either. So what is the problem? I tell you what the problem is, these people have nothing so they create something to criticize the president for.

    April 20, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Helena

    It's great to finally have a President who behaves diplomatically with other world leaders instead of behaving like a spoiled arrogant brat!

    April 20, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    I have many very good and decent friends living in a desperately impoverished and repressed Venezuela destroyed by the Chavez regime. Their struggle to overtake and re-democratize their country just had a bus thrown on it - by Obama's naive belief that their is no harm in having a 'cordial dialogue' and talking with thugs and dictators. There is great harm, as Chavez is now using this photo-op to cement and expand his position and influence. Obama remains a useful idiot, and his ignorance is dangerous to the world and the US.

    April 20, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. obama/mama

    Newt Gangrene need to sit down somewhere and let the President run the country....

    April 20, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12