Gingrich to GOP pres. candidates: Stop fighting and 'get over it'
September 30th, 2011
08:51 AM ET
10 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. Tex71

    A decade from now, pundits will be referring to the "Tea Party Syndrome": if you create a political climate in which a pack of hyenas become presidential candidates by virtue of being loud and vicious – why then they will eat each other alive while their human opponent sits back and watches in horrid fascination.

    September 30, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  2. Jeetu

    Did Newt forgot that he should speak thne truth? Th fact is that he is such an hypocrat that he would say anything to advanc ehimself. When did he care for others and the country. If the republican candidates are not going to be honest and differentiate themselves from each other, how would people know in the primaries who to select as the republican candidate?

    Also, if the goal is just to beat Obama, then it is the wrong goal and hence all republoicans should be fired from the very start. Show me what you got for the country and what are your policies and your plans and how you intend to carry them out. Then, I may listen to any of these republican candidates (or for that matter any republican in Congress).

    September 30, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  3. nagrom

    Wouldn't it be nice if Gingrich followed his own philosophy and finally pointed out where there could be radical changes made to clear up the demise of this country? But alas another tongue lashing from an out of touch Repuke. Says not to criticize each other in one cheek and speaks out of the other cheek and criticizes everyone. Flip Flop Sound familiar?

    September 30, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  4. GJ

    He's so disgusting. The most shamelessly political man alive.

    September 30, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  5. Colorado

    Gingrich says, " Now ya,aal grab your credit cards, and lets all meet at Tiffiny,s with "The "Trumster" , so we can get our "Lies Straight" ???? Come on ??? Blimpbaugh is paying for the pizza!!!!

    September 30, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Good for him.

    Picking at petty points is meaningless. Tell us how you intend to change things in the future, and stop talking up your "record" because that 's nothing but history anyway.

    September 30, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Gingrich explained further: "I'd like to see a campaign in which we offer, each of us, our strengths."

    Newt is showing his age. GOPers don't want "strengths" anymore, they want sound bites - re: Cain, Christie, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Ingram, and Perry (until he was silly enough to direct his sound bites against his own party faithful, that is.)

    September 30, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Newt, you may want to remind your opponents who keep invoking Reagan's name of his actual legacy. These folks, especially those folks claiming to be Tea Party types. They appear to want to undo all that Reagan accomplished in his tenure.

    September 30, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Reagan cited that rule for the same reason that Gingrich is citing it now. Reagan had the larger name recognition, but he also had the most flaws. By turning the conversation away from his flaws, his opponents were left with nothing.

    Mr. Gingrich is trying to pull the same stunt. I find it amazing that a man with Gingrich's record can be taken seriously by his party as a candidate for POTUS. He's was a disgrace to this country and our political system, and time has not changed the facts.

    September 30, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  10. Indy

    Regans 11th commandment has proven to be a failure just as much as personal tax breaks for the wealthy has been proven to NOT create jobs. Putting party first has been proven to be a failure. Republicans banding together and holding the economy hostage has proven to be one of the biggest failures in American history. Republicans have 100% proof that when they are in charge everyone other than the rich and corporations suffer and that is a failure, so dont try and tell us Regans 11th commandment has anything to do the good of the country. Just say no to Newts.

    September 30, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  11. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    He can follow Ronald Reagans commandment, but none of Gods!

    September 30, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. Donkey Party

    Defeat Obama at all costs, eff the country, eff the world. And they don't like being called "domestic terrorists"? Wonder why? It's precisely what they are.

    September 30, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  13. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    This is the same Gingrich that used to rail against Bill Clinton and how he was going to "take this guy down" over and over in the press. And in the end.................Clinton served out his term, will go down as one of the great POTUS, is still respected worldwide and in demand for speaking and appearances; while Gingrich had to resign in disgrace and now emerges as some self-important, self-involved, self-proclaimed savior of the GOP. You gotta be kidding!!!

    September 30, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Gingrich is right about one thing: there will only be one nominee at the end... but it won't be him.

    September 30, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. Tom

    Ahh, so in the republican world, criticism of another, is supposedly banned. I guess out goes the first amendment too.

    September 30, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I guess it is easier to bash Obama right now since he really can't defend himself at least at the moment than it is to go after each other. What they are really doing though is giving the DNC more ammo when whoever the RNC picks and one thing is for sure it won't be Newtie.

    September 30, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. GonzoinHouston

    The man who championed negative campaigning is now calling for civility, at least in the primaries. And it's all the Media's fault, as usual. If Gingrich truly wanted to make a useful contribution to the political discussion he would drop out of the race and retire quietly. He's done enough damage for one lifetime.

    September 30, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. MTATL67

    Only one of the GOP candidate may have demonstrated Presidential leadership qualities. Perry's needs to work on Texas $27B debt and its many other issues. Rep. Bachmann repeating comments from strangers as if they were fact (HPV), definitely not Presidential. Mitt Romney, does not have the skills to take what he did with Mass. health care and turning it into a positive. Ron Paul taking stimulus money and then complaining about it. John Huntsman could create a by-partisan working atmosphere. Unlike the other GOP candidates he does not seem to be courting and encouraging the extremist group called the Tea party. He has actual ideas and not just extreme rhetoric as the others. It is too bad he does not have the support of Republicans.

    September 30, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. Stop the Charade

    "I have one opponent" said Newt Gingrich Thursday evening. "and that is Truth."

    September 30, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. Jaywing

    Sorry Newt, but it's too late - we see all you GOP wannabes for what you are, and it ain't pretty. Petty, mean, thoughtless, borderline racists and bigots, blind to the poor, disabled and disengranchised, pollitics that reek of the worst of our country, lies and catering to the rich. For all intents and purposes, you've already lost the election. Nothing's gonna change.

    September 30, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Auzzie

    So the weakest candidate of the bunch now demands compliance from the strongest. This guy is delusional bordering on senile. Looks like the old man needs another shopping trip to Tiffany's

    September 30, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  22. bb

    What a windbag this guy is - He's got zero chances of winning anything, other than several calls from Tiffany's collection department.

    September 30, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. V in Chicago

    Newt – get off the Regan thing already. We all know Regan was a front man stooge who did what he was told to do. You, on the other hand, are a danger to this country and the working class. Your time has come and gone so get over yourself and go back to wherever you crawled out from to enter this race. I actually thought you had more intelligence, but it seems you lack common sense. One without the other is still stupid!

    September 30, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Gingrich may try to appear as the "adult" amidst all the GOP wannabes, but no one will forget how he shut the government down because he got his panties in a knot over seating arrangements on an airplane.

    September 30, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. DA

    Oh so this is what who ever is paying for Newt to stay in the campaign wants him to do, be the parent for all the others when they start in-fighting amongst themselves. Newt: Now, don't any of ya'll bash the others failures, we want to look like one big happy family. What a bunch of Bull!! The RNC election tactics gets more transparent each year, I just wonder at what point the media will call them out for it. Heck for that matter when will their Republican supporters call them out!!
    THE GOP IS THE BIGGEST JOKE IN AMERICA!! A party of hypocrites!!

    September 30, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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