Gingrich to gay man: Vote for Obama
December 21st, 2011
03:23 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich to gay man: Vote for Obama

(CNN) – Asked how he plans to engage the gay community in his bid for president, Newt Gingrich on Tuesday told a voter he wouldn't be the right choice for those basing their decision on the issue of same-sex marriage.

"If that's the most important (issue) to you, then you should be for Obama," Gingrich told Scott Arnold, a man who identified himself as gay.

"Okay. I am, but thank you," Arnold replied.

The comment ended a rather cordial exchange between the two at a campaign stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Arnold, an adjunct professor at William Penn University, approached the former speaker, asking Gingrich how he would sway voters who disagreed with him on same-sex marriage.

"How do you plan to engage and get the hope of gay Americans and those who support them?" Arnold asked.

Gingrich replied saying he doesn't expect to get the backing from voters solely focused on changing the definition of marriage.

"And I accept that that's a reality," Gingrich said.

Gingrich has frequently taken a conservative line on the issue. Last week, he signed a pledge with the National Organization for Marriage, promising, among many things, to back a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and woman.

"On the other hand, for those for whom it's not the central issue in their life –if they care about job creation, if they care about national security, if they care about a better future for the country at large-then I think I'll get their support," Gingrich said.

Also see:

Iowa faith leader asked Bachmann to consider dropping out, campaign says

Poll: Paul in top spot in Iowa GOP battle

Romney defends negative ads

Gingrich: Super PAC hypocrisy

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (554 Responses)
  1. Unicorn1824

    I don't agree with a lot of what Newt says, but he's right on this one. You can't be everyone to everybody, and he has made the decision– whether based on belief or political calculation– to be on what many people (inclusing me) believe to be the wrong side of this issue. As a Rudy Giulani Republican I'm disappointed with the lot of them except Huntsman. He's as socially conservative as the others but at least he's not pandering to the know-nothings that run the Republicans these days.

    December 22, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. pod

    his point was...there are bigger issues facing this country and the world than the gay agenda...thats all...doesnt mean he hates gay people. He is prioritizing the gay agenda well below far more important issues currently facing this country like, the economy, JOBS, TAXES...and the broken down government led entitlement can all twist what he said as much as you like but he nailed it on the head...minority issues are not going to be issues for him if president. He will focus on the MAJORITY FIRST...

    December 22, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. ShawnDH

    It's really stunning that Newt has any defenders on this issue. If marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman, why has Newt cheated on all of his many wives? Then he says gay people are responsible for destroying marriage? It's insane. Divorce rates are lower in states where gay marriage is legal, and of course your personal religious views about marriage are IRRELEVANT in a free country in the 21st-century. Stop mindlessly oppressing people. It's wrong.

    December 22, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Newt should be given points for honesty, if nothing else, rather like when he called the Ryan plan " Conservative Social Engineering". However, in this instance, he won't be forced to recant his " error".

    December 22, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Murali

    pity the gay republicans (and independents) who are still going to vote for this guy (or any of the other repub candidates)

    December 22, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. James in Columbia

    I'm no Newt supporter, but it sounds like it was a polite exchange, and Newt was straight up (heh) with the guy. They weren't angry, so why are we?

    December 22, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. Lucy

    As long as you care about every other aspect of your life besides who you are allowed to spend the rest of your life with as your loving partner, you're cool voting for me! Yeah, whatever, Newt.

    December 22, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Dan J

    I can't stand Newt Gingrich, but I have to say, that was a very honest, very non-politician answer. What is sad though, is that there are other republican candidates, Jon Huntsman in particular, who also stick to their guns and don't pander, AND their views are consistent with most Americans across the board, yet they don't poll well at all.

    December 22, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. lucy2

    Well, I appreciate his honesty, at least, though I disagree with his opinions on the issue.
    However, the idea of someone who has dumped and divorced his way to marriage #3 feeling qualified to telll people who can and can't get married is downright laughable.

    December 22, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. joco

    Great example of how to disagree while respecting one another...unlike a lot of the comments here.
    Government should govern, not cater to one very small but vocal minority. If Gay's think the number one issue this country faces is marriage, they are way off base, not in touch with reality, and very self centered

    December 22, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. A. Goodwin

    Newt must not know that 10% of the US population identify themselves as being gay, bi-sexual or transgendered. But yes, most of us will be voting for Obama. SOME of us wouldn't if the GOP had a few bright ones running for the presidency...sadly, that is NOT the case.

    December 22, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Chris Goldfinger

    They edited the rest of his comment, which was: "Oh and also, if you care about environmental issues, you should vote for Obama, and umm if you care about civil rights issues, you should probly vote for Obama, and if you care about the US getting along in the world, you should vote for Obama. On the other hand, if you care about giving tax cuts to rich white men, then I'm your man"

    December 22, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. bscasc

    The Republicans "anybody but Romney" campaign clearly isn't working. Take hear conservatives, rumor has it that Sarah Palin still hasn't completely ruled out a run. LOL!!

    December 22, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. D

    Newt has a point, and for once I agree with it. As voters, we have to identify the issues that are most important to us and support a candidate that shares those views, and will act upon them. You're never going to have a candidate that makes everyone happy. Unfortunately, the candidates each successive election cycle seem to be getting more and more out of touch with the centrist voter, which really represents the majority of Americans. We're not all gun-toting, baby killing, evangelical hippies, regardless of what the extremests say!

    December 22, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. snowdogg

    Good to know that Newt has alienated most of the gay population in the US

    December 22, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. paulbark

    While I disagree with Gingrich on this issue, there's something amazingly honest and refreshing about his response. When someone is solely focused on one issue, then their vote should go to the candidate that supports them on that issue.

    December 22, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. Jason

    I've noticed that those who support Ron Paul do not live in fear. This is his greatest asset. Fearful people always want war and to spend problems away. Neither are productive to our fundamental values. The people who live in fear live a brainwashed life, and sadly, some are ok with that. The massive egos, false wealth, and ignorance that accompany this constant subconscious fear are truly massive in this country. This is not freedom. It’s self-isolation.

    December 22, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Legalize Industrial Hemp

    How can any politician hope to win an election when they exclude a significant portion of the population? Aren't they supposed to work for all Americans?

    December 22, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Saboth

    Let's phrase it another way. "If you are for equal rights for all Americans, I am not the guy for you. I favor certain people over others, based on my outdated religious views." I applaud his honesty, but out of this crop of Republican candidates, the only one I would even think about supporting is the "radical" Ron Paul. At least he leaves his religion at the door step when deciding matters.

    December 22, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Lynne

    I saw part of an interview with the gentlemen asking Newt the question and an addition part that isn't covered according to him in the interview was how is he going to engage gay people and their families 'IF" he becomes President, and his answer was the same.....which is just odd! If he becomes President he has to be President to everyone, not just those people he likes or agrees President you don't get to pick and choose who you represent every American!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 22, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. cman

    Wow, finally a man with true conviction and knows what he truly believes in and sticks to it. I like his approach on not giving the fake or political answers. Shoot it straight and as it is! Vote for Newt!

    December 22, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. ruff

    Everyone has basically learned to hold the Newtster to a lower standard. We know he will never be president, so revel in the bizarre behavior that is Newt Gingrich – entertainment at its best. Enjoy!

    December 22, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Jeff--Tacoma WA

    I'm gay, and definately against DOMA. In my opinion, there are about a thousand reasons not to vote for Newt. But I do respect that he took a position on an issue and clearly stated it and he's willing to let the people decide.

    December 22, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. Jay

    This is the failure of the Primary system: to win nomination to your party, you must win the affection of the extreme end of it. To win the general election, you must win the moderate middle that makes up the vast majority of Americans. Winning both is mutually exclusive, and so the candidate, by definition, has got to be lying to someone. The trick is to figure out which one he's lying to.

    December 22, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. J

    Haha every other time Newt opens his mouth he campaigns for Obama. No wonder The White House has put out anti-Romney ads. They want to run against Newt.

    December 22, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23