Romney: Gingrich 'doesn't understand the economy'
December 14th, 2011
11:54 AM ET
9 years ago

Romney: Gingrich 'doesn't understand the economy'

(CNN) - The ongoing spat between Republican frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich plodded on Wednesday as Romney accused his rival of economic ignorance.

Romney was responding to a call from Gingrich to return the money he made at Bain Capital, a private equity firm he helped found in the 1980s. On Monday Gingrich said Romney and his company were responsible for "bankrupting companies and laying off employees."

"Unfortunately the speaker's way off on that," Romney said Wednesday on Fox News. "In my enterprise, we had the occasion to help build tens of thousands of jobs, and he doesn't understand the economy if he doesn't understand that sometimes businesses succeed and sometimes fail."

Romney quarreled with Gingrich's suggestion that his former profession was bad for the country.

"To suggest that there's something un-American or something wrong about investing in an enterprise that ultimately doesn't succeed bespeaks an extraordinary lack of understanding about how the economy works," Romney said.

Romney also brought up a point his campaign began pounding early Wednesday: comments Gingrich made in 2008 that called on anyone who profited from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to return the money.

Romney's campaign released a video of Gingrich discussing the mortgage giants' failures, saying: "Everybody who was profiting from them should pay the cost of having failed. And the general taxpayer should not bear that burden."

On Fox, Romney followed up his request for Gingrich to return the money he made consulting for the mortgage giant.

"He said anyone who profited from Freddie Mac should give the money back. Well, he profited $1.6 million from an agency that helped bring down the entire economy; he ought to give it back," Romney said.

Romney also went after President Barack Obama for his handling of a downed American drone in Iran, using his harshest language yet to criticize Obama for not doing more to prevent sensitive information from getting into Iranian hands.

"He was extraordinarily weak and timid in a critical moment," Romney said. "This will have severe implications for us, long term, and it was a terrible mistake on his part. I find it incomprehensible that he didn't destroy it, or go get it. I think destroying it would have been a good deal easier. Destroy it immediately, or go get it."

On Monday, Obama said the U.S. had asked Iran to return the drone, but on Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on an Iranian television station that his country "has been able to control" the downed RQ-170 Sentinel drone.

U.S. officials have not confirmed whether or not video released last week by Iranian state media indeed shows the downed drone, and have not commented on the capacity of the drone to self destruct.

Romney said that Obama was making a mistake in not at least attempting to recover the aircraft.

"The idea of letting it fall into the hands of people who will use it against us, use the intelligence capacity against us, is an extremely enormous mistake on the part of this president," Romney said.

Filed under: Economy • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Oregon calling

    Kettle...met Pot.............

    Peace 🙂

    December 14, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. roro

    Rich people like Romney and Gingrich only understand TRICKLE UP economy. They have no clue what the rest of us are going through. No one is taking away their multi-million dollar homes, while they decide which to pay for – food or medicine.

    December 14, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. PaulMATL

    @gg, I read an article a few months back that talked about startup companies in Silicon Valley. One of the first things they work on is an "Asia" strategy. How much of the work can be sent to China and India. The only GOP addressing bringing manufacturing back here is Santorum and his single digit support. Manufacturing needs to be brought here. Don't look for that from Newt Romney. I would love to hear Obama's take on it.

    December 14, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Oregon calling

    ooops, I meant Kettle... meet Pot...

    Peace 🙂

    December 14, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. roro

    How can any ordinary citizen even think about voting for these Republicans who think their pledges to the unelected Grover Norquist supercede their pledges to the people of this country. Exactly who are they working for? Doesn't seem to be us, does it?

    December 14, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Manufacturing needs to be brought here. Don't look for that from Newt Romney. I would love to hear Obama's take on it."

    It's not coming back. The only way it comes back is if the GOP reduces us to similarly priced third-world type labor, which they are desperately trying to do. The only way manufacturing is going to grow here is for it to be generated by innovation...i.e., electric cars, alternative energy like solar, high speed rail expansion, etc. The GOP opposes these thigns that Obama is pushing because reducing us to third world labor to get manufacturing to come back here would reduce costs for the companies that outsourced the country's stability and the American dream in the first place.

    December 14, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. qubee25

    c'mon Mittens, just sit own on a block of ice and chill. Would any SANE President send in military people at the risk of being injured or killed for some hardware that has no strategic value? Only you would, hence the operative word is SANE.

    December 14, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Widobberman

    From all I’ve read, Mitt understands the economy better than the other opponents and apparently better than most commenters on this string.

    I work in a large multinational that cut 25K jobs in December 2008. We didn’t do it because we’re idiots or hate our employees. We did it to protect the company’s financial strength and re-allocate capital effectively within our divisions. Since 2010 we have hired 40K employees. No way that would have been possible if we’d not made the difficult decisions in 2008. No one looks at my company and says “you were poorly run in 2008 when jobs were cut”. Most agreed in 2008 and today my company is incredibly well run.

    Mitt seems to understand the give and take that must exist in a successful business and economy. The fact that he invested in some companies that did not work is interesting, but unimportant when you look at his entire body of work at Bain. Net positive growth and significant net job creation.

    December 14, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    We lost 8 million jobs during the last three years of the Bush administration. The rate of monthly job loss was increasing rapidly the day Obama was sworn in. He bailed out the auto industry, passed The Stimulus, and slowed down the rate of job losses. It eventually slowed to a halt and began a steady climb upwards, breaking into positive territory some 18 months ago.

    What was the Republican prescription for the country? Nothing. Do nothing and let the market work itself out. Mitt Romney specialized in buying up failing companies and those strapped for cash. Doing nothing was right up his alley.

    December 14, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Keyser Soze

    I am getting the impression that, according to Mitt, he is the only person who knows what is going on, by dismissing recommendations of financial experts. He is like the driver going the wrong way on a government interstate, complaining that everyone else should change directions.

    Perfectly stated. Mitt is a legend in his own mind.

    December 14, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    "So Mitt wants Obama to start WW3 over a downed piece of metal junk? Right!"
    First of all, it wouldn't start WW3. Please. Second... piece of metal junk? Are you serious??? Our drone technology is years and years ahead of the rest of the world... there are a lot of undesireables that woul pay large sums to reverse engineer that piece of metal junk you refer to. Get a clue.

    December 14, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Mike

    If you can't make yourself look good, make the other guy look worse. Boy, do I hate politics.

    December 14, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. bobden

    Is Riley the chief repugnant troll. Who pays him to watch the boards and write stupid comments.

    December 14, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Lolo

    I wish these clowns would just go away. I am sick of their lies.

    December 14, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. diridi

    this idiot is smoking i guess. GOP do not understand foreign policy, they are for WARS, Loot the nation, nonsense...Do not forget, just vote all GOP idiots out in next elections. These idiots are for Rich, Corporate Greed, and Oil...nonsense.

    December 14, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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