Gingrich proposes presidential forums akin to Lincoln-Douglas debates
October 22nd, 2011
10:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich proposes presidential forums akin to Lincoln-Douglas debates

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Saturday that, if he wins the Republican nomination, he'll challenge President Barack Obama to seven forums akin to the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Gingrich announced this intention while speaking at a presidential forum in Iowa sponsored by the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The former Georgia congressman described the 2012 election as the nation's most pivotal since 1860, when Abraham Lincoln - a Republican - defeated three opponents, including Stephen Douglas, to capture the presidency.

Two years earlier, in a race for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois, Lincoln squared off against Douglas, a Democrat, in seven debates. They were marked by philosophical arguments about slavery and the role of government.

Gingrich said that the 2012 debates he's proposing will be as "historic and decisive" as those debates in 1858.

As for ground rules, the GOP presidential candidate said he'd want the debates to be three hours long, with "a timekeeper and no moderator."

Gingrich joked that he would let Obama have a teleprompter so he could have some help defending his health care reform law.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich • President Obama
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. the shooter

    "I have a good shot"– Romney. "I am a big shot"– Cain. "I am a good shot"–Perry. And none of them has a shot...

    October 22, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. Ancient Texan

    Great Idea! And I'm loving the thought of Obama and Gingrich debating. Newt is the best i've seen in being able to think on his feet and stating facts, no generalities.

    October 22, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  3. steven harnack

    I keep expecting Newt to just spontaneously burst into flames at one of these "we're so moral and you're not" affairs.

    October 22, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  4. Tony Torres

    Dreamer, He is lucky they still let him in the debates. Why is he still hanging around, I think someone can't let go and leave the stage. Good luck, fool!

    October 22, 2011 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  5. Jan in Wa. state

    Gingrich knows he will never be president so he can spout his mouth off all he wants. He talks down to fellow republicans and is rude & disrespectful to the press and to the office of the President.

    October 22, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. rafael

    Apparently he is living completely inside his own head.

    October 22, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. DENNA

    Go away Newt! You are not a viable candidate. Oh, wait . . you fit right in with the rest of the Republicans running. Never mind. Carry on.

    October 22, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    The gas bag is so full of himself. Can anyone imagine listening to him rant about his conservative values. He needs to take his Stepford wife and exit stage right.

    October 22, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Prisons are full of smart people with no morals. We don't elect those people President of the United States.

    October 22, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  10. macallen23

    This is pointless, since Newt won't be the nominee. Plus, how many Americans could watch a 3 hour debate? Really. What Newt left out is that he's planning to use the last hour and a half of the debate to sell his exciting historical fiction book and some of his wife's jewelry, a la QVC.

    October 22, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  11. Michael

    "Gingrich joked that he would let Obama have a teleprompter so he could have some help defending his health care reform law."

    hahaha very fully. NOT!
    And we'll get you a teleprompter too, when you try to defend your "moral values".

    October 22, 2011 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  12. Slightly Left of Center

    ... if he wins the Republican nomination, he'll challenge President ...

    That is one big "IF", Newtie. And tough playground talk from a guy who will never get a chance to make good on what he is proposing.

    You will be history because 'we, the people' are decisive ... and we don't want you.

    October 22, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  13. Moe NY

    Actually would pay to see that debate, President Obama would chew him up and spit him out. Too funny! Give it up Gingrich, no way are american citizens going to elect you to the highest office in the land...for obvious reasons I won't even go into, we all know the reasons.

    October 22, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  14. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Gingrich joked that he would let Obama have a teleprompter so he could have some help defending his health care reform law.◄

    Well ginGRINCH, the joke is on you because you will not be the nominee!! Also, President Obama NEVER used a teleprompter during debates so what makes you think he would need one now....LOSER!

    Obama 2012

    October 23, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  15. GOP = Greed Over People

    Gingrich give it up. I am a liberal and even I find the 2 divorces and the way they were handled appalling.

    Those vows were "death do us part" not until a newer model came along that I pole after dangling some Tiffany bling in front of her,

    You have no ethics, as you change vows like most folks rotate winter coats, and if you cannot keep a vow with someone you are SUPPOSED to love, how are you ever going to keep a vow to the American middle class which you and the GOP tea baggers HATE?

    Just keep peddling the books and DVDs and leave the campaigning to the adults, make that adult.

    October 23, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  16. TM

    So the guy running fourth or fifth in the Republican polls, pulling in support from less than 10% of likely voters, wants to debate the President directly? Yeah, that will happen.

    October 23, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  17. Bill in Florida

    He can challenge President Obama to debates on the moon if he wants; doesn't matter. There's no way Newter will be the GOP nominee. You need more than 11% support to be the nominee.

    October 23, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  18. Little Jimmy Truth

    That's fantastic idea. Great Lincoln was great Republican.

    October 23, 2011 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  19. thomas

    This would have better ratings .And Rick Perry has the pistols !

    Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr's Duel On July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met on the dueling grounds at Weehawken, New Jersey.

    Appeal the dueling law !

    October 23, 2011 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  20. Paul


    The only way Obama should agree to such debates with Gingrich, if he's the nominee, is if the major debate top is relating to morality and values. Family values are very important in any American President. Can Gingrich really stand the test of scrutiny?

    October 23, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  21. Donkey Party

    Newt is an arrogant shltweasel who has zero chance of ever holding another politcal office again.

    October 23, 2011 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  22. madmadda

    Message to newt You got no shot at the nomination Somebody get this guy a teleprompter so he can read the bad news

    October 23, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  23. Anthony

    This is funny. If he can get a lead in any state in the Republican primary, then maybe he can plan ahead for the general election.

    October 23, 2011 07:33 am at 7:33 am |