Gingrich: I would lose to Obama in a personality contest
January 20th, 2012
09:37 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich: I would lose to Obama in a personality contest

(CNN) – While Newt Gingrich insisted on Friday he would be the best candidate to compete with President Barack Obama in November, he added there was one match in which he would lose against the president.

“He’s likeable. I would never beat Obama in a personality contest,” Gingrich said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” “But the presidency is not about likeability. The presidency is about are you capable of doing the job?”

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In the interview, Gingrich also argued the recent controversy over his marriage history helps him connect with voters, claiming the timing of a new ABC News interview with his ex-wife has fueled supporters to rally around the candidate.

“I don't believe anybody who's going to vote tomorrow didn't already know I've been divorced and married,” Gingrich said. “It's all been out there for months. It was a sense of 'But why would ABC bring it up now?’”

The former House speaker received a standing ovation after he forcefully chided CNN for bringing up the interview in the first round of questions at the Republican presidential debate Thursday night.

He said South Carolina voters on Friday thanked him for attacking the media, with some supporters telling him he was “in their prayers.”

While Gingrich said presidential candidates should be prepared for conversations that are “amazingly detailed and amazingly open,” he said voters should not focus on his past, but the person he is today.

“Look at who I am now. Look at how close Callista and I are as a couple,” he said.

Also see:

Perry drops out, endorses Gingrich

Judge-drawn Texas redistricting map tossed out by Supreme Court

Gingrich releases 2010 federal tax records

Santorum tries to shoulder past Romney, Gingrich in debate

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • President Obama • South Carolina
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. Ken

    What?? “He’s likeable. I would never beat Obama in a personality contest,” Gingrich said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” “But the presidency is not about likeability. The presidency is about are you capable of doing the job?”

    After all these years in politics and he doesn't understand how looks and personality play into the election? JFK's good looks swung the women's vote his was as the first televised debates went on. Bill Clinton's charms played so well across night time television that he was reelected despite the scandals in his administration. Looks and personality is a MAJOR part of any election. That's just ho people are wired! And if Newt doesn't realize this, he's just proven he's not the man to lead this country or the Republican party.

    January 21, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  2. bullock w

    Gingrich can't beat presdient obama but mitt Roomey can do beat presdient obama 2012

    January 21, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  3. SFRich

    Newt is an arrogant megalomaniac. He complains about "the media" but he's a master at playing them, spinning whatever is said about him to benefit his point of view. He's truly a dangerous man, absolutely certain that his take on the world is the only correct one. He plays dirty, and if he actually goes on to become the GOP nominee... (sorry, can't even fathom that).

    The only other politician in recent history that possesses such traits at a similar level is G.W. Bush's VP Dick Chaney.

    January 21, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  4. HolyChrist

    Part of your personality is also coming off as elitist and racist who doesn't know what is in the best interest for the majority of Americans. That's more than a personality contest.

    January 21, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  5. Vignesh Krishnaswamy

    but being president is about building relationships with ppl in capitol hill and diplomatically...newt would fail at that.

    January 21, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  6. Fluttershy

    He just dug his own grave...oh wait, never mind, that would mean he actually would take effort to do something.

    RON PAUL 2012.

    January 21, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  7. Daniel

    Well, Newt's not a dumb as he has made himself out to be....

    January 21, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  8. anonymoussource

    Sorry Newt...but it's not just a popularity contest you would lose to Obama. We (left leaning) folks are only nervous about Romney....that's why we're attacking him with you.

    January 21, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  9. NoOneHome

    A flea infested incontinent opossum nesting in your mattress would win a personality contest against Newt. If both had their way, the opossum would probably be less destructive to your standard of living, too.

    January 21, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  10. Scott

    Mr. Gingrich, I look at who you are today and I see a man who is willing to do or say nearly anything to gain power. I will never trust you and I will certainly nev vote for you.

    January 21, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  11. Jerry

    Oh Newt. Right or wrong, like it or not, the race for the Presidency almost always IS a personality contest. Reagan was more likeable than Carter and Mondale, Clinton was more likeable than Bush Snr and Dole and Bush jnr was the guy you'd have a beer with vs two boring windbags in both Gore and Kerry.

    January 21, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Newt is an egomaniac and a liar. I won't vote for Obama and I can't vote for Newt.

    January 21, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  13. Tony

    And if he wins the nomination he will lose to Obama in the general election!

    Run Newt Run...Win Newt Win...Lose Newt Lose!

    January 21, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  14. BeverlyNC

    Ya think Newt? Every Republican would and will lose to President Obama in a contest for leadership, intelligence, successful solutions, character, integrity, honesty, family values, and truly understanding the People and working to fix the economic disaster Republicans created with Bush. These Republicans are a disgrace to democracy and shameful to the tenets of real Christianity. President Obama is the only credible and capable President we need to finish restoring our nation for the PEOPLE.

    January 21, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  15. Chris

    Captain Obvious.

    January 21, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  16. mk1

    Ya think? Now there is a no brainer.

    January 21, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  17. sayer

    D*mn straight, Newt. President Obama is more likeable because he is a better person and a better president than you could ever think about being.

    January 21, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  18. borisjimbo

    More than just divorced and married, Newt. Twice cheating on present wife with future wife is more like it.

    January 21, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  19. judith

    Ya Think? Gingrich is arrogant, mean-spirited and repulsive. There are no redeeming characteristics to his horrible man.

    January 21, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  20. Dan5404

    Newt's statement is 4 words too long.

    January 21, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  21. Craig R.

    To be a true Republican you have to: Hope that Rocky loses his fight, cheer for George Bailey to go to Jail for Grand Larceny, Set Steel Traps in the Backyard just in case that Easter Bunny is for real, You have to Believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was just misunderstood, and that Herman Cain would make a great Secretary of State, Uh Libya who?

    January 21, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  22. MoMo

    blah blah blah blah blah blah

    where are your plans and bills for the job???

    January 21, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  23. MoeL

    Newt...if you were not so disgusting, you would be funny. Lose to President Obama in a personality contest...yes, you bet you would...would also lose to President Obama in all categories, especially family Give it up, you will never be elected POTUS, nor should you be considered for POTUS. This is one woman's vote you will never get, I refuse to allow you to take women back decades, and I refuse to allow you to send our children/grandchildren out to work before it is their time. Not even to mention what you want to do to our senior citizens, unemployed, and middle class/poor in this country. You, in my opinion, are a total neantheral, and that is being kind to neantherals.

    January 21, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  24. francis

    It is true , Newts personality is tough,,,,,But he is a much smarter man Then This President , And I believe either him or Romney will beat Obama in 2012...Obama may be happily married and I nice guy...But he is no President Of This US....Not were he taking us....

    January 21, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  25. dina

    Anybody is more likable than New. He is an arrogant and pompus man. He considers himself one of the greatest men to have lived yet he has cheated on wives and treated ex wives badly while talking of family values. He is a disgusting politician and needs to get out of the race for the presidency.He is not of the moral character to lead this country.

    January 21, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
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