Gingrich to GOP pres. candidates: Stop fighting and 'get over it'
September 30th, 2011
08:51 AM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich to GOP pres. candidates: Stop fighting and 'get over it'

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - The college professor who's running for president put out an instructional message for Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and the other Republican presidential candidates: Stop the "seventh grade recess" fighting and "get over it."

"I have one opponent: Barack Obama," said Newt Gingrich Thursday evening at the Iowa GOP headquarters in Des Moines. "And frankly, I wish some of my good friends – especially the ones who have the most money – would adopt a little more of Reagan's 11th commandment and get over it," Gingrich added, referring to the 40th president's oft-quoted rule that Republicans shouldn't speak ill of other Republicans.

"There shouldn't be a seventh grade recess argument. Because the media loves it. Every time we fight, we're not hurting Obama."

Gingrich made the comments during a question-and-answer exchange with the friendly Republican crowd gathered at the Iowa GOP's base of operations just across the street from the state capitol. The former House Speaker began the meeting by reiterating the points of his new "21st Century Contract with America" that he'd unveiled  just hours before.

That Gingrich urged his fellow presidential contenders toward civility is not new. In the NBC News/Politico debate earlier this month, the audience applauded Gingrich for advising fellow debaters not to play into what he likened to a well-laid trap from the news media.

"I for one, I hope all of my friends up here, are going to repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other to protect Barack Obama who deserves to be defeated," Gingrich said in response to a question regarding a health care individual mandate.

But what appears bolder now is the tone of Gingrich's language: Instead of simply advising that Perry, Romney, Bachmann and the others not harshly criticize each other, Gingrich now seems to acknowledge the ongoing political combat, uses strong language to admonish it, even invokes a Reagan rule revered by many Republicans.

Gingrich explained further: "I'd like to see a campaign in which we offer, each of us, our strengths. And we each offer our solutions. And then, in our team, you know, people in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and so forth are all going to make a choice. One of us will end up the nominee, in all probability. But we should do it in a way that we could all rally on the same team. Defeat Obama and his team [in the] Senate, House, et cetera."

- Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Jim

    I would be afraid to think this man was teaching my kids history. Reagan DESTROYED his opponents in the primaries. As for Newt, maybe he should have a different opponent. The bad economy. It's not going to get better just because you and your "friends" talk about it. Instead, DO something about it by presenting real plans and ideas, not the same old tired, proven wrong ideas. Maybe then some people might actually take the time to listen. Instead, all we hear is "blah blah blah". Not unlike sitting in this guy's history class, I would imagine.

    September 30, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. Mike from MN

    If everyone played nice, then it's an automatic win for Perry.

    Mitt and Bachman wants to win too!

    You really think they are going to stand around and not put up a fight?

    Get real Newt!

    September 30, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. 2cents4free

    How about trying to HEAL America instead of trying to HURT Obama?
    The GOP strategy is fatally flawed.

    September 30, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. rs

    Newt is right to a point. The most unappealling thing about the GOP/TP aside from their ardent rejection of reality, is their inate ability to attack, lie, and slander each other- So much so I wouldn't consider voting for just about any one of the "name" candidates. The problem is with what Newt says- Yes, stop fighting, yes, act like adults- that is what we (the American public want)- a huge demonstration of this might be a civil acknowledgement that we have a President, and his agenda and the agenda of Americans needs to be addressed. Barring that however, how would Newt whittle down the dozen or so losers currently running (with calls out to NJ Gov. Christie to be their next false messiah, and plump the field?).

    The complete lack of discipline on the part of the GOP/TP ("Over-reach" in political terms) will be their undoing. So far, from all evidence laid out, all I can say is "good ridence"!

    September 30, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. texan

    Hey! devoutly Christian Republicans !!!! Where is your outrage?? This guy has cheated thru his first two marriages and now on his third and not a peep from you??? ........... You were all practically "falling on your swords" over Clinton`s office escapade and offended beyond comprehension.............. I suppose it`s just a matter of which side of the fence you`re on, eh !!!!!!

    September 30, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Robert

    um, so in other words, none of you are different? That's what the arguments, mud slings, and arrows for hearts have been for: To tell us which of you is the best AMONG YOU. We all know you want to bring down the president. But, seriously, we want you to show us which of you will do that best. And if you're all slamming Obama, and not showing those differences, then you ARE all the same, and we want none of you.

    September 30, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. yuri

    It is an upheaval task for us to listen to Gingrich preach or say some sense, against the backdrop of his bad baggage of yore. He has been unfaithful, not just once, but thrice, to his wives. Internally he might be a good person, otherwise, but his philandering problems act as a smoke screen to us whenever he opens his mouth.

    September 30, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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