Gingrich compares Romney, Perry to 'kids,' plays up econ. ideas
October 24th, 2011
09:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich compares Romney, Perry to 'kids,' plays up econ. ideas

Davenport, Iowa (CNN) - On Monday, the only history professor running for president offered stern lectures on economic policy, against President Obama - and even attempted to school Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

"I literally felt like, the other night, I was the recess monitor on the playground, watching these two kids," Newt Gingrich said at a town hall in Davenport, Iowa. The former House speaker was referencing the bitter back-and-forth between the former Massachusetts governor and current Texas governor at last week's Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, sponsored by CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference.

Gingrich also warned "that bickering is not going to be the road to the White House," adding, "There's nothing wrong with policy debates...Policy dialogue, handled with civility, is exactly what politics should be."

As if to set an adult example, Gingrich highlighted his own policy ideas while dutifully picking apart those of others. Saddled with stubbornly low poll numbers, Gingrich hopes his message will catch fire with more voters in the key early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The candidate played up key elements of his recently revealed "21st Century Contract with America." Among the proposals: zero capital gains tax "so we have hundreds of billions of dollars poured into the country to create new jobs and to create new opportunities," 100-percent expensing for new capital equipment purchasing, a 12.5-percent corporate tax rate, and abolishing the so-called "death tax."

"I believe it is fundamentally immoral for a society to say to somebody: 'If you work hard, you save, you're frugal, you do the right things, we have the right to take half of it away from you to give to people who didn't spend their lifetime doing what you did,'" Gingrich said.

The former House speaker also reiterated his proposal for an optional flat tax of 15 percent or less.

During his speech, Gingrich trained most of his fire on obvious political targets: President Obama, Democrats and liberals.

"I've been trying to figure out how to explain in clear language how fundamentally wrong the Left is," the candidate said. "They're wrong about ideology. They're wrong about the nature of America. They're wrong about our foreign enemies. And they're wrong about the economy."

He continued: "And people say to me, 'How quickly could you turn the economy around?' This economy will start to get better late on election night when people realize Obama is defeated."

But the former history professor also laid into his own Republican rivals.

On Ron Paul's debt reduction plan for cutting $1 trillion in the first year of a Paul administration, Gingrich said: "I doubt very much if you can cut $1 trillion in one year." He noted the devastating impact it would have on many agencies across the country. And on Herman Cain, Gingrich said it's right for the conservative businessman to be forced to defend his 9-9-9 economic plan.

Gingrich used his most colorful language for the movement known as Occupy Wall Street.

"Look, I identify with their anger. I just think their solutions are really stupid," Gingrich said.

"The tea party goes out and studies the constitution, studies the Federalist Papers, studies the Declaration of Independence. The folks I've been watching on TV don't study anything. They just use foul language and explain that they're basically anarchists and nihilists. That's what's wrong with the Occupy Wall Street crowd," Gingrich added.

"[Former House Speaker] Sam Rayburn used to say: 'Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one,'" Gingrich added.

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. wanderer

    "I literally felt like, the other night, I was the recess monitor on the playground, watching these two kids," Newt Gingrich said at a town hall in Davenport, Iowa.

    For some reasons, Mr. Gingrich, I think you are right about Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry. You are one of the GOP you should know the other GOP better. Perhaps, you are speaking out for the mind of the majority of Americans who feel the same way bout Romney and Perry.

    October 24, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. Name king

    Gingrich is way more articulate than both perry and Romney. He has ideas that are far fetched but are doable. Romney's best policy his healthcare venture is off the table. The Obama version is better because it gives way more goodies and it regulates the insurance companies to spend 80 percent of their earnings back to the recipient. This is what making the insurance companies and the repugs going bleeping mad. I wonder when these repug kill the Obamacare and give it to the private insurance industries. I wonder if they're going to push middle class grandmas off the cliff as well.

    October 24, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. Malron

    Gingrich who is the enemy the abroad, I would like to know. If you want to be Pres. I think you should be able to say why the idealology of the Democrats is wrong, In clear language, that the electorate can understand an educated man like yourself should see the rantings of his fellow candidates could only help him. Only if you could express in a clear language how fundamentally wrong the Democrats are about , Foreign enemies , Jobs , Nature of America, God and who a real american is.

    October 25, 2011 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  4. Ricky

    Not that discerning to the educated American.

    October 25, 2011 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  5. sky

    Independent 1st time voter will vote for Obama you publicans are on the wrong track. Pass something if you love America

    October 25, 2011 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  6. BD70

    Sorry Newt..the dems and the liberals are not wrong and neither are the republicans and tea party. Neither are any of you completely right. That is why we are suppose to be working together united. As for the OWS people..not sure who you were watching but I haven't heard any foul language. Their message is loud and clear...they are SICK of the way they are being treated....from Congress to corporate greed. That message comes in the form of many messages....and is not stupid. Pay attention or you may find yourself right in the middle.

    October 25, 2011 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  7. juaquin mann

    Gringrich, the voice of sagacity in the repub party. What a joke. What a scary joke!

    October 25, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  8. Bob

    It is our moral obligation to keep the wealthy from obtaining as much powers as they now have. We have the right, and moral obligation to tax them to the extent that they no longer have the control as they do now. Tax the rich. Tax them to death. And when they die, tax them some more.

    October 25, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  9. the truth!

    Gingrich has been under rated since these debates have started. He is probably the smartest guy up there and is just trying to keep everyone on point. He would make a great GOP nominee and could win against Obama. He would definetely win any debate against Obama because his thinking is so clear and has decades of experience and knows history all too well. Too bad he has some personal character issues.

    October 25, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  10. Allan Erickson

    We need a statesman. We need Gingrich.

    October 25, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  11. David

    Newt doesn't even know the meaning of devastating impact is. Devastating impact will come when he bankrupts the country if he gets into office. Ron Paul will cause an impact, however he will avoid a devastating impact. Newt's plan will just guarantee one when we go bankrupt. I can never vote for anyone who wants to hand our children and grandchildren a completely bankrupt country. Sorry Newt, no unlimited power for you.

    October 25, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. true liberal

    Holy cow, lets hope the Repubs self destruct because this guy is brilliant. He'd wipe the floor with Obamma in a debate. Strange why he hasn't gotten better poll numbers – any ideas?

    October 25, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  13. Ourkie

    As a historian and former professor myself, I can tell you that listening to Newt's economic views, it is clear he slept through history class. This kind of junk didn't work for Herbert Hoover and it is not going to work for Newt.

    October 25, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  14. SAI

    As a follow-up to the Sam Rayburn quote: Newt, I have seen carpenters; I know some carpentry; you certainly are no carpenter Newt. You are the other option – great at kicking it all down. That pretty much is the talent set of the entire bunch of leading contenders. The better candidates seem to be languishing, which is very unfortunate for the Republican party.

    October 25, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. AntiFringe

    "If you work hard, you save, you're frugal, you do the right things......"

    Sorry're describing the working class people, not the wealthy.

    October 25, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |