November 17th, 2011
05:47 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich contrasts tea party, 'Occupy' protesters

(CNN) - As hundreds of "Occupy" demonstrators across the country take to the streets on the movement's so-called "Day of Action," GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich came out in full support of cities cracking down on the protesters.

"Every city government has an absolute obligation to enforce the rule of law and to protect private property," Gingrich said at a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Florida. "And frankly, they ought to be filming these people, and every person who engages in violence ought to be given a very long vacation from the streets."

Hundreds of demonstrators and police clashed on the streets of Lower Manhattan on Thursday, as supporters of the movement gathered en masse just days after being evicted from their former encampment at Zuccotti Park.

Waves of protesters across the country also assembled in solidarity with those in New York, where more than 175 people were arrested on Thursday.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "some protesters today deliberately pursued violence," but added that most were peaceful and have "caused minimal disruptions to our city."

Speaking to a crowd of tea party supporters, Gingrich described the "Occupy Wall Street" movement as destructive, hostile and filled with "anti-civilization" behavior.

He compared it to the tea party movement, which he called "constructive to get America on track," and said there could not be a stronger distinction between the two groups.

"They want to tear down our country," Gingrich said. "We love and want to rebuild our country. That's the difference."

The movement started out as a group of demonstrators on Wall Street upset over unemployment and the economy. It has since expanded to cover a variety of issues, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Similar protests have popped up in cities around the world, some of which have been marked by violence.

Gingrich, who's now virtually tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in national polls, said he understands why people are angry - but that they're directing their ire toward the wrong people.

"I think it's reasonable for Americans to be angry, but I would say to them, 'Why don't you go to the Federal Reserve building? Why don't you go to the U.S. Treasury? Why don't you visit Chris Dodd and Barney Frank?'"

But Gingrich soon experienced his own "Occupy" force, himself, as a handful of protesters crashed the event at the end of his nearly 90-minute long appearance on stage.

"We are the 99 percent," they repeated, drowning out Gingrich's speech.

But the former House Speaker quickly fired back, saying he wanted to respond right away and spoke loudly into his microphone.

"There is no such thing in America as 99 percent. We are all 100 percent Americans," Gingrich said, as the tea party supporters in the crowd stoop up and cheered. "We are all part of America."

He then handed over his microphone and walked into the enthusiastic audience.

Also see:

Perry says 'privileged' Obama can't relate

Santorum: Republicans 'ignore some realities' on economy

Cain: How do you say that in 'Cuban?'

Gingrich faces more questions about Freddie Mac

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Newt Gingrich • Occupy Wall Street • Tea Party
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Sure Newt. Those "Constructive Americans" who "love and want to rebuild our country" were super duper awesome when they were disrupting Town Hall meetings last year. Do shut up.

    November 17, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. Fed Up

    This guy is so crooked, when he walks he squeaks. This man took 2 million dollars from Freddie Mac lobbying for them, now he lies lies lies what he was paid for. Poor pittiful Republicans.

    November 17, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. Dan

    This coming from a Lobbyist for Fannie May????

    November 17, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Newt Gingrich / Bill O'Reilly

    2012 best in creative writing award !

    November 17, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  5. Sigmund

    "Anti-civilization?" Get a grip, Newt. Your hyperbole is ridiculous. Oh, by the way, isn't ethics part of civilized behavior? And weren't you convicted of ethics' violations while in Congress?

    November 17, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    ""They want to tear down our country,""

    Not really...just the plutocracy the GOP has turned it into. GOPers/Teatrolls like Newtered, of course, simlpy equate the two things.

    November 17, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Lisa P

    "And frankly, they ought to be filming these people, and every person who engages in violence ought to be given a very long vacation from the streets."

    "They" are filming them, as anyone with access to YouTube knows. I just hope Mr. Gingrich is including police among his candidates for a long vacation.

    November 17, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. BK

    Yes, support police crack downs on protestors. That'll get you elected for sure durrrrr

    November 17, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Charlie

    NOTE: "America contrasts Gingrich, real presidential condidates."

    November 17, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  10. John Bryans Fontaine

    The huge irony here is that many of Gingrich's fellow Conservatives ( Joseph Farah ) consider anarchists to be far-right politically. Yet as many of the protesters could be described as anarchists, none of them are far right.

    November 17, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. RINO Bil

    I am surprised that Gingrich, with his rich interest in history, did not say of the protesters, "Let them eat cake!"

    November 17, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Debbie

    Hmmm: ". "And frankly, they ought to be filming these people, and every person who engages in violence ought to be given a very long vacation from the streets."

    Just taking a guess here that Gingrich's statement means he will not be getting those peoples vote! LOL Somehow he thinks none of these people vote or could be Republicans. Too funny!

    November 17, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. unsub

    they should have picked his fat butt up and rolled him up!

    November 17, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. FM HIlton

    Spoken like a true 1%er! Go home, Gingrich, you've overstayed your welcome-and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    Hopefully you'll crawl back under the rock from where you came. You still haven't learned any lessons.

    November 17, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. cisco4

    Well Newt .. with all the money you got for a few words of advise to the Mortgage giants fannie and Freddy..and what was her name?. you oughta be caged for awhile..And of course not to mention your illustrist career in your marraiges.. that ouaght to appeal to your religious right people doncha think ...Hey Newt?..Now go get a job someplace...will ya?

    November 17, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  16. Orchid333

    Where was he when the Tea Party was acting out, huh? Did we forget the woman who was forced to the ground by a couple of guys stepping on her neck? Did we forget about all the gun threats if Obama's healthcare bill passed? Did we forget about all the racist remarks and signs made by THAT group? Every protest will have crazy and violent people – why don't you take the time to address the OWS message instead of firing up a crowd of haters.

    November 17, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. John

    That a Bunch of Crap ,the Tea Party Is no better than the Occupy party. They are both showing there side. The only thing that different between the two Is The Tea Party got Millionaire and Billionaire backing them to so It would benefit them. And the People In the Occupy party are just normal people trier of being screw by the Big Business and the Rich and by the Government ,In this case by the Republican.

    November 17, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Mr. Gingrich says that stuff because he resembles their complaints.

    November 17, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. liberaliar

    Newt's the Man

    November 17, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  20. aaron, i can't stand boehner

    Can we PLEASE have politicians stop dividing the country. Both OWS and Tea Party want less of corporate america running our government. They both want to put people back to work. They both want to protect social security and Medicare. They both want smaller government. Let's come together and let's not vote for anyone with divisive language. That means no more voting republican or democrat. It government is broken and two parties are controlling the broken government, maybe it's time to vote someone else in? Just a thought....

    November 17, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. Bobby Ray

    The biggest difference between the Occupy movement and the Tea Party is that Newt agrees with the Tea Party which is enough for me not to.

    November 17, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  22. Former Republican, now an Independent

    If the police arrested the people inciting the violence, and dug deep enough, they might find them on the Karl Rove (Crossroads America PAC) payroll.

    November 17, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. Emperor Norton

    "Hey, guys I will be relying upon to vote for me," Newt Gingrich said. "You're different and also better than these other guys who have very similar goals to what you had. I'd like you to ignore the fact that you have a lot of common ground long enough to get fired up by my speech, if that's cool.

    "By the way, you're essentially constructive despite being sock puppets for the Fox media empire and despite the massive number of signs and behaviors that amounted to an implicit threat against politicians and fellow citizens you don't like. Just keep that in mind: you're better because I say so. Go back to sleep."

    November 17, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |

    If this economy keeps going south and Congress keeps doing nothing about jobs and helping keep their homes there will be alot of people joining OWS.

    November 17, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. Sasha

    I swear ... it's like the entire GOP field is actually competing to win the Upper Class Twit of the Year Award.

    November 17, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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