Obama is checked out, Gingrich says
March 18th, 2011
08:27 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama is checked out, Gingrich says

(CNN) – President Obama has checked out, Newt Gingrich says.

Appearing on Fox News Thursday, the former House Speaker and likely presidential candidate kept up his criticisms of Obama for appearing on ESPN earlier in the week to reveal his NCAA tournament bracket.

"The administration has just sort of checked out," said Gingrich. "You know, the president has this fixation with the Final Four. Spent time on ESPN giving us his version of what really mattered to him, which is the Final Four."

"What's strange is - with all of these crises - how can you focus that kind of time and attention as President of the United States? Not as a private citizen, not as a spectator, not as a hobby," he added later.

The comments came the same day Gingrich tweeted that Obama is ""hiding from his job behind NCAA picks."

Still, Gingrich didn't shy away from offering his own analysis of the tournament:

"[Obama] may well be right about Kansas, although I must say I have a personal affection for Duke, where my best friend from high school went to school and where they have a great coach, and I kind of have a soft spot in my heart for Duke winning. But Kansas is a great school, so maybe the president is right," he said.

The comments capped off a busy day for Gingrich in the key early-primary state of New Hampshire, where he attended St. Patrick Day-themed events in three separate towns: Nashua, Salem, and Manchester.

Filed under: Newt Gingrich • President Obama
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Emerson

    Distortions, misinformation and outright lies. The GOP playbook par excellance. I guess that Gingrich has no issues to talk about. He and his party have "checked out" on their promise to make the economy and jobs the number one priority in domestic policy but instead they have spent three months grandstanding and feeding little goodies to their radically conservative constituents like trying to kill funding for NPR. Newt you can lie, but you cannot hide.

    March 18, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Jon

    OMG, Gingrich is hiding from his job as a fat, ugly, irrelevant troll by talking about basketball. Get back to work, Gingrich!

    March 18, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. MrsDemocratGirl

    I hate to agree with such an idot, but Gingrich is 100% right.

    March 18, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. MikeyH

    Newt, if you really love America, donate all that campaign money to charity. There's no way you're winning.

    March 18, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. G4

    Very sad. President Obama is not engaged in the Libya issue, the Japanese Nuclear Issue or the budget battle. Seeing him the other day, I thought perhaps he was depressed or fatigued. I know that being president is a stressful job, perhaps he isn't up for this challenge?

    March 18, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. Andrew

    You can't criticize the guy and then make picks.

    lol. Leaders who are quick to point out all the flaws of their own opponents but miss their own faults are poor leaders.

    March 18, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. chelle

    In the words of Bugs Bunny (how apt) "What a maroon"

    March 18, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Fran

    Gingrich is full of it. This idiot never learns. Back in Clinton presidency, he was criticizing Clinton from having an affair. He sounds so pure when actually he had a mistress on the side. President Obama is smart enough to have fun with the basketball game and still focusing on the big things. Unlike Gingrich is not an idiot who can't walk and chew gums at the same time.

    March 18, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Really? Given that he had visited the Japanese embassy and had a press conference recently doesn't strike me as being "check out." I would suggest that Gingrich is selectively looking at things just like O'keefe who made selective edits for all his "liberal hunts" that he has been on as of late.

    March 18, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. sean

    Last i checked it didn't require immense brain power to fill out a NCAA bracket, I guess Newt must think it does?

    This is something the president has done every year and his affection for basketball is well documented, if thats thats what he prefers to do to relax as opposed to reading a book, going to the theatre, or hanging out in the wilderness, what makes the rest of society so arrogant to think they know how a president should relax

    I would rather him work hard at an issue, take a break by watching a half of a basketball game and coming back with a fresh perspective as opposed to him working to the point where he doesn't do as good a job as he would otherwise.
    One could argue that taking a break so you can clear your head before you make major decisions for the country is actually a reasonable and responsible thing to do

    I have issues with this president but him spending a few min filling out a bracket and showing it on ESPN, what'd he lose maybe half an hr out of his day? , is not one of them

    If this is the worst thing hes done, i would say his presidentcy must be riding high

    March 18, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. roro

    Newt, you're despicable. The man has a right to take his family to a basketball game, or share his picks. This president can actually multi-task, unlike you, who apparently can't love his country and be a good husband at the same time.

    March 18, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Sandra, Atl

    Newt, we all know that you are a person who doesn't live in a real world. You have no clue about whether the President has 'checked out' as you put it. That man does more work in one day (except for talking) that you do in a week (possibly a month). Keep in mind that I let out the talking bit...especially how you are such a 'God' and omnipotent.

    March 18, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    The picture makes me dizzy. No, he has not checked out. He is working everyday and night for the American people. CNN, you really like to push this meme. I tried to watch you this morning. You had Al Jazera on and your news anchor could not have been ruder. The minute the Arab world says he is doing this right...you try to cut him off,

    March 18, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. mike

    I am far from an Obama fan, but come on – it takes what – 10 minutes to do this. Newt find something a with a little more substance – he gives plenty of opportunity to bash him – but this is nothing to waste time on.

    March 18, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Doc

    Just so much more hypocrisy from the Grinch, do as I say, not as I do. Perhaps if he understood just how smart and analytical our President is he'd realize that picking the bracket was a mere momentary distraction which I think we can allow the Pres. I think Gingrich could also be rightly accused of some racism here as he is saying that the President (an African American male) can't/won't do his job because a big basketball tournament is on. Grow up Grinch!

    March 18, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    By the way Newt, whether the Prez is "checked out" like you say, or checked in, MY CHECK to his campaign is in the mail. Get ready to turn colors you slimy lizard because we will make sure that the President's campaign "war chest" surpasses the billion dollar mark. You betcha, wink, wink.

    March 18, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. Tom Tx

    Nice try, Newt! That kind of story line only works on Fox Noise lemmings, sorry.

    March 18, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. Obama Leads

    Old newt will try anything and everything in the book to bring Pres Obama down. never happen.
    Newt checked himself it years ago. He should take a look at himself.
    I want my president to look relaxed from time to time. Afterall, he has the world's weight on his shoulders.

    Pres Obama knows exactly what he is doing. Pres O has everything under control. Pres o is a master politician.

    March 18, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. Surpri

    Newt is a out of line. Unsafe at any speed. Cancel that candidate. He just doesn't make the cut.

    March 18, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. Joey2009girl

    Personally, I'm glad to see our President has enough confidence in his abilities, plans and decisions to take short breaks now and then to clear his head – sort of like gardening for an hour a day. Do any of the rest of us slave away 24/7, or even close to it? Totally focusing on something different for a short time can have an amazingly positive effect on one's ability to collect, assimilate, and process information as necessary to do the kind of work Mr. Obama has to do. One thing I DID have a hard time with , with the previous administration, were all the frequent and often lengthy trips to Texas, as opposed to an hour or two in or near Washington D. C. to fill out brackets and discuss them – probably a lot less time than the rest of America! Does our country really want a man [or woman] in charge who runs everything into the ground 24/7 because he/she thinks total devotion of time and energy means that's the only way to get things right and guarantees it? That's a one way ticket to a nervous breakdown – not a good thing in the White House. If this is all Newt can come up with to complain about, that about seals his fate!

    March 18, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. Tony in Maine

    Newtie, Newtie, Newtie...

    You aren't good enough or smart enough to play with the big boys. In a debate situation where you aren't allowed to use the Republican tactic of just talking over your opponent, Obama would eat you alive.

    Go back to chasing women. At least that's where you've had a little success.

    March 18, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. They'reallthesame

    That's pretty funny. My how times change. Dick Nixon appeared on "Laugh-In" in the 60s, but I bet Newt thought Dick was just fine, probably wanted him to stay in the White House.

    March 18, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. MNBhoy

    GOP Dream Ticket – Gingrich and Bachmann in 2012. At least that's what Democrats are hoping for!!!

    Please Newt – you're a DC insider and veteran politician. Certainly you can come up with something better than NCAA Pools and their impact on the White House!!!

    March 18, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. Republican's are fraud's !

    Okay, Newt the Grinch can now be officially called an idiot ! Newt has finally lost it ! He say's the President has checked out because he took part in an annual tradition that only took about 10 minutes to fill out ! Newt, you really reached on this one , but I noticed you didn't hesitate to give your pick's as well ! Hypocrite ! All this phony outrage from the republican's is starting to become laughable ! Hey Newt did you pay attention to the start of the video where he gave people information about where they could donate money to the people in Japan ? You forgot to mention that didn't you !

    March 18, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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