Gingrich: Obama 'talks loudly, has no stick'
March 17th, 2011
06:26 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich: Obama 'talks loudly, has no stick'

(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich launched another zinger at President Obama on Thursday by channeling President Theodore Roosevelt who famously said "Walk softly and carry a big stick."

Of the president, Gingrich said "Theodore Roosevelt said you have to walk softly and carry a big stick. This is a guy who talks loudly and has no stick."

He was referencing Obama's action, or perceived lack thereof, regarding Libya, during an interview with local affiliate WMUR that followed the possible presidential candidate's appearance at an event in New Hampshire.

Gingrich also made other presidential comparisons to Obama, saying, "You can't imagine a bigger gap in effectiveness between President Obama and Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan."

"President Obama said on March 3, 'Gadhafi has to go. If the leader of the most powerful country in the world says that, then he'd better figure out a way to make it happen."

But claiming that Obama, lacked a plan, Gingrich said, "I think Eisenhower and Reagan would have said you know this is a very serious situation, and then they would have said to the CIA, Gadhafi needs to get out of there and it would have happened quietly, it would not have used military force. It would not have used American troops but somehow he would have left."

When asked about his personal life – particularly his two divorces, Gingrich responded that "total scrutiny" of presidential candidates should be expected, but he should be judged on the totality of his life, a similar response to previous appearances he's made.

"I think people have to look at the totality of my life. On balance is this a person that you think has learned enough and done enough and who understands the mistakes of the past and you can trust him and I think people are going to have to render judgment and they should," he said.

And he admitted to facing his own mistakes, stating, "Whatever I've done in the past that was wrong I have both repented and sought forgiveness and reconciliation with God. And I think people have to decide am I now a person who has learned from all that they can trust."

But when asked about whether he can be seen as an establishment candidate if he decides to run, Gingrich claimed the opposite.

"On the one hand I actually know how Washington works," he began. He then backtracked, saying "I was never a Washington insider in the traditional sense… I do think in that sense I'm probably an unusual blend of experience and outsiderdom simultaneously."

The potential GOP contender said he plans to make a decision in 4-5 weeks and acknowledged that he'll be returning to the first-in-primary state at the end of the month.

Filed under: New Hampshire • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Indy

    I bet Obama has a bigger stick then Newty boy. Gingrich is living in the past and his millions of ill gotten dollars have went to his head.The time of going into the middle east and "taking people out" is done and over with and has been proven to bankrupt countries.

    March 17, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Geo

    I thought I saw some place where the Right was attacking TR for being too progressive (liberal) by breaking up corporate monopolies and Eisenhower for creating the largest big gov't initiative in history – the American highway system. And didin't Reagan trade guns for hostages...I guess even a great president flubs one once in awhile. Whether or not Obama turns out to be remembered as a good president is yet unknown, but no president since Lincoln has ever been so vilianized.

    March 17, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. Surpri

    Newt has the brains of a newt. No he the eyes of a newt and the brains of a frog. What a non-candidate. What a frog brain!

    March 17, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. Surpri

    Newt has the brains of a newt. No he has the eyes of a newt and the brains of a frog. What a non-candidate. What a frog brain!

    March 17, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. annie s

    Maybe someone should tell Newt this isn't 1950 – or even 1980. America may have the biggest guns, but our influence has been shrinking since the day George W. Bush thumbed his nose at the international community, and has been even further weakened by our near economic collapse. Barack Obama has this one right – the United States can NOT lead on Libya or go it alone, and the decision to enter the conflict in any way had to come from the UN – both because we can not be seen as an aggressor in that region, and because we just plain can't afford another full blown military action.

    March 17, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. James M

    I seriously cannot believe that Gingrich is indirectly referencing Operation Ajax and the Mujahadeen. The former of which lead to the Iranian Revolution which has rippled across Middle Eastern politics to this day and the latter resulted in the Taliban filling the power vacuum after the Soviet-backed government failed. Not to mention the US arming Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War which lead to the Saddam we all know and hate today. Every time America arms an opposition government or rebellion it seems like 20-30 years down the road it leads to huge ramifications that future generations have to suffer from. I applaud Obama for going through international channels and not simply shipping a couple crates of M-16s just for a short-term political boost. I also applaud the people in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and elsewhere in the region for proving that, sometimes, you don't need America to spread freedom and democracy and human rights.

    March 17, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. Marcelo - Los Angeles

    Hey Newt, do you mean like how Reagan asked Gorbachev to step down? Oh wait...he never even asked. Or like how Bush Sr, asked Hussein to leave Kuwait and didn't? Or how Bush Jr. asked Hussein to step down? You get the idea. So basically what you are saying is let's spend lots of money and waste American lives in order to show off our big stick? Isn't that what you tried to do in your past relationships? Unfortunately your you in trouble there too. Think before you act guy.

    March 17, 2011 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. Seattle Sue

    Gingrich is full of methane gas. If Gingrich thinks he has a chance of becoming President, then he is delusional. He has shown his character to be slimy.

    March 17, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. Mtnjim

    Hey Skippy, we are past the "cowboy diplomacy", going in with guns blazing, making enemies left and right and losing legitimacy. Doing things the way Mr. Obama did, we have legitimacy, ARAB legitimacy AND WORLD legitimacy. Doing it this way, we won't be getting people pissed off at us and making MORE terrorists with our actions.

    March 17, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. Thomas

    What a complete fool Gingrich is..

    March 17, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  11. Jeff in Virginia

    Newt Gingrich "do as I say, not as I do"

    March 17, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. Baldrick

    Give it up, Gingrich. You're NOT going to be President - especially not after that last little winner you came out with: "My 'patriotism' made me do it." You're an embarrassment!

    March 17, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. Duke13

    Newt has a bad case of diarrhea of the mouth. He should just slither back under a rock and disappear and take Michelle and Sarah with him.

    March 17, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  14. w l jones

    That is ancient history the !and! all of it people will laugh in your face today.

    March 17, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  15. Tam

    What a sad and evil excuse for a human being. He who is without sin should throw the first stone. But Newt needs to get out of his own pile of rocks.

    March 17, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. KochBrothers

    This guy is so full of it. I would not believe a word he says. Gingich = snake oil.

    March 17, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  17. jokerster

    Newt, Newt, open mouth and insert foot....I have seen NO plan from the GOP on anything.....just a lot of senseless talk....

    March 17, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. Sarah Palin does not speak for me in Ohio

    “When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
    Mr. Gingrich and his GOP comrades are after the unions, teachers, police, firemen, nurses, the poor, the disabled and anyone who does not march to their drummer. People, start listening and standing up for your rights. The Tea Party is not the voice of America.

    March 17, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. Obamacare = Romneycare v1.01

    Of course what Newt doesn't mention is that most conservatives, along with some schoolboooks used in Texas, now refer to TR as a socialist.

    March 17, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. Jim

    this speech seems consistent with previous Gingrich addresses. As do other republicans he wants to run against insider status, against government, against those "politicians." Somehow politics are a bad thing, and we are supposed to forget that he was ever a politician, except, of course, when he chooses to use his past experience as a qualification for higher office.

    March 17, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Mad in MA

    That's rich, Gingrich quoting the guy who gave us those 'evil' socialist programs like Welfare and Social Security in an attempt to put down President Obama's choice to not rush in and attack yet another country. Speak softly , carry a big stick and support programs that help our poor, elderly and disabled is that what you are saying Newt?

    March 17, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  22. Jeffe

    Oh, by all means, Newt, give us your sweeping generalities and shoot from the hip analysis. It's thoughtless ideologues like you who got us into wars we never should have been in, and paralyzed government with blustery shut-downs. Not exactly the kind of leadership this country needs in the complex world of the 21st century. You're blowhard with no new ideas and nothing to offer but wise cracks. Go home and let the country get on with its business.

    March 17, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  23. bobden

    And the grinch talks loud and has no common sense. And no brain.
    Not to mention, no integrity.

    March 17, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. clarke

    Wow, what a very mean and disgraceful person. He really hates our (his) President.

    March 17, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. charles

    Mr. Gingrich you realy believe we should send American Troops to Libya and Die ( Remember Somalia), or interfere in any country's domestic with arms, without international support, remember Iraq, how did that work out!! Some once said you have a PHD, you sound dumb and insensitive. You will never be President of the United States!!

    March 17, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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