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. Grand Oil Party

    As part of the establishment themselves, why are tea partiers even protesting? "Oh, our lives are so fortunate. boo hoo hoo."

    November 17, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  2. PatSJ

    Reminds me of the anti-war protesters during the Vietnam war. Glad some people still have a passion for fairness.

    November 17, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  3. seriously???

    Out of touch much Gingrich??

    November 17, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. LegendRx

    The shot heard around the world and now they are coming for and your kind. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, BAHRAIN and yes, the U.S of A. Do not undermind "Occupy" here they come, here they come. Period!

    November 17, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. Liz the First

    Of course Newt is down on the OWS folks, he's part of the one percent! is this enough proof of which party represents which percentage of the American people??? come on, OWS, get your act together and help us throw these bums out of government!

    November 17, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Spoken like a true lobbyist for Fannie and Freddie!

    November 17, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. gate

    "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"

    The VAST majority of the violence is being perpetrated by the police. They are being filmed. Let's just hope the animals that are ruining our police forces will be given vacations from the streets.

    November 17, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. Magda

    hahahahahahhaha so funny! thank you newt! good bye.

    November 17, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. Tired of the nonsense

    Occupy protesters – good guys.
    Tea Partiers – bad guys.

    There's your contrast.

    November 17, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  10. Gerald

    Gingrich not up to the mark

    I am an ardent tea party member and I also sympathize with the 'peaceful' demonstrations across the country. As far as I know the tea party values family commitments and obligations. Gingrich would never get my vote and certainly Sarah Palin and the majority of our members do not see Gingrich as a man with family values. He does not represent the tea party.

    He's courting the tea party support, but will never get it. The tea party will not stoop so low as to endorse an 'infidel' like Gingrich as the republican party nominee. His personal history guarantees that he will never win against president Obama who has excellent family values.

    Gingrich is not up to the mark and many republicans have already rejected him as the nominee. All his efforts in courting our support is literally in vain. I know I speak for many in our group.

    November 17, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Gingrich is a perfect representative for the uber-rich. He has no morals and would rather lie than tell the truth. He is the Tea Party.

    November 17, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  12. dreucalypt

    Somehow in their dreams all Republicans imagine themselves swinging truncheons.

    November 17, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  13. Jon

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

    You want to rebuild this country... by tearing down the federal government. Suuure. Keep spinning that spin, kid.

    November 17, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It seems that Gingrich isn't paying attention. If he had, then he would say that you could work hard and make it to the 1% instead of saying we are all Americans. He also needs to understand the concerns those that don't have enough to make it. There are few people who control a large amount of the wealth/capital. That leads to bad things like an oligargy.

    November 17, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  15. GaryB

    Let's face it, Gingrich is and has always been an errand boy for the country's financial elite. Of course, after his sweetheart deal lobbying for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he now is one of the country's financial elite. So I can't expect him to sympathize with people who haven't seen a pay raise in eight years while their bosses have raked in multimillion dollar bonuses, or recent college grads who can't find a job because hugely profitable emloyers have taken advantage of the recession to make their current employees work more and more for less and less. As for the tea party, many of them are already retired and living off government social programs, so I can't expect them to understand either.

    November 17, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  16. manhandler

    What else do you expect from this bought and paid for overblown air bag. We out here in occupy land will make sure this guy never gets anywhere near the Whitehouse. There are millions of us and we're goona send a big message in 21012.......Not that he has half a chance, anyway

    November 17, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  17. Lenny Pincus

    Newton Leroy Gingrich's Center for Health Transformation is a "think Tank" that provides "access" to the former Speaker for the Health Care industry. It has collected 37 million dollars from that industry over the past eight years. Ahh, all you principled patriots. Your great leader is a shill for anyone with a buck and will govern not in your best interests but in his client's best interest, just like he always has. Quickly now. Bring up Obama's "57 states" then go to sleep self-assured that your world is AOK.

    November 17, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  18. Southerner01

    He's right, as usual. It amazes me that people are not taking Gingrich more seriously. If you've seen even one of the debates, you know who the real candidate is.

    November 17, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  19. Debi

    Why do we take a house from a guy who lost his job!!! Then give it to someone who has never worked.?If we are going to pay there rent, why not just make his house payment?

    November 17, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. EJ in Tacoma

    Am I living in the Bizarro world! Newt surging in the polls? What an insult to the American people to have this phony baloney like this man running . Why does the GOP dislike Romney so much?
    EJ in Tacoma

    November 17, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  21. mfx3

    To me this reads like a dictatorial regime's handbook...forced crackdowns with video propaganda to boot. Let's film all the rallies, then select out the worst offenders and air those on Fox nonstop to convince the country that's what OWS is all about. This guy is scary. Those who think his ideas are good are scary.

    November 17, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  22. skarphace

    Of course Gingrich would not support OWS. The OWS is the backlash to the Tea Party. To endorse them would be to turn his back on the Tea Party, and that just doesn't make sense for a Republican candidate to do. Therefore, no Republican candidate will support OWS.

    You want the true distinction between the Tea Party and the OWS? The OWS is not owned by the Koch brothers. This is the only distinction that matters to me.

    November 18, 2011 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  23. top of the mark

    sickening opportunist....

    November 18, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  24. race_to_the_bottom

    Yup, we're all 100% Americans; the sleep-under-the-bridge Americans and the Penthouse Americans. One big happy family.

    November 18, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  25. Greg

    Thank you Newt.

    November 18, 2011 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
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