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. kman821

    There's nothing like stating the obvious ... who isn't more likeable than that gelatinous mass??? He's never shown the ability to even be successful at leading the GOP House let alone the nation, since GOP members did lead a successful rebellion against Newt's leadership, which of course he never mentions. He's a historian alright ... a revisionist historian. As for his 3rd wife ... she has the charm of a snake.

    January 21, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  2. journalism

    truth of the matter is theres so much lieing that it all has to come to an end BOOM

    January 21, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  3. Ethan

    Mr. Gingrich,

    Of course, President Obama is more likeable than you. He's happily married, and who cheated on your first wife when she had cancer to have an affair with you would-be second wife. You then cheated on your second wife when you found an attractive woman 20 years younger than you.

    But I do not recall you distinguished between personality and governing when you chastised President Clinton about his indiscretion.

    January 21, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Why dont Newtie boy move to Utah and marry two or three dozen women and have a heart attack?

    January 21, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  5. blaze562

    Clinton round #3 coming right after we take this important commercial break, So stay tuned.

    January 21, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  6. PAQuaker

    Newt's acute awareness of the obvious. EVERYONE is more likable than Newt. Than again, what's not likable? He shuts down the government, harming countless government workers, because he did not like his seat on Air Force One. Or was it the way he treated his first two wives. What part of "sickness or in health" did he not understand?

    My question to Calista? What makes you think he won't kick you to the curb when the time is right?

    January 21, 2012 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  7. newt

    "Why should the 'liberal media' be allowed to bring up true bad press about me at an inconvenient time for me?" What a whiner. I knew was married and divorced. Not divorced after trying to stave off a public divorce w/ an "open marriage". That's something different entirely.

    January 21, 2012 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  8. Mike

    "Capable", Newt, I think you meant that Obama is more "capable" than you. If you think for one moment that you will be able to take office and the world will change to match your fantasies, and respond to your misguided solutions, your nuts, but we already know that. Like all other presidents before, your popularity would slip away rapidly as reality sets in, that the problems we face are complex and need intelligent solutions based on evidence, non-conventional solutions that don't pander to extremists within your party, and collaborative solutions that put results and the good of the country before political victory or revenge.

    January 21, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  9. jimnot999

    Obama is more likeable than you Newt? Honestly, that's not news. I can't think of a single person who is less likeable than you.

    January 21, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  10. Ricky

    @newt real talk!

    January 21, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  11. JFB

    he is just too fat to be a president

    January 21, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  12. The Left Wing

    Obama is more likable., AND...
    Obama has better family values.
    Obama has more empathy for the middle class.
    Obama is more consistent in his positions.
    Obama has better emotional control.
    Obama makes more rational and less emotional arguments.
    Obama is steady not erratic.

    January 21, 2012 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  13. winstonsmith

    He's also more honest, less of a psychopath, more faithful, and a better leader.

    January 21, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  14. Dennis

    good thing it is not a popularity contest....oh wait, sorry Newt , it is

    January 21, 2012 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  15. psk

    Obama is also more secure, since he doesn't have to lord his talents over others, be there first, or pretend that he's God's gift to the world.

    January 21, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  16. Macmaven

    “But the presidency is not about likeability. The presidency is about are you capable of doing the job?” Wrong! Newt needs a good gut check with the true American voter. It doesn't matter if you had lightning shooting out of your hind parts, if they don't like you as a person, both physically and morally, then you don't get voted for, period.

    January 21, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  17. Anonymous

    He's more likable an definitely more competent.

    January 21, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  18. omally

    No, he would never beat Obama in a personality contest, and yes that is how millionaire politicians are elected. A very expensive, hideous expenditure to prove one's popularity. The republicans rely on and promote the idea that those with a lack of education will be stupid enough to fall for their incessant lines of crap, the democrats blame every wrong on the republicans when they themselves were largely complicit in creating the legislation that has destroyed the country, and the tea partiers are scarier than all get out because they are willing to toe a line that makes no sense in the overall scheme. Stick to a destructive theme and shove it down the throats of Americans is the name of the game.

    They all suck. Republicans worst. Tea partiers second. And Democrats least of all it seems. And that, my fellow Americans, is what you get to choose from. Good luck.

    Independent OMally

    January 21, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  19. Rick

    The presidency is absolutely about being likable. It is a political position. It is a position that deals with foreign leaders. It is a position where you have to know how to not be a jerk to the rest of the world.

    January 21, 2012 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  20. Squigman

    I've got news for you, you are meaningless. If you were any more meaningless, you'd never existed.

    January 21, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  21. K

    Second Newt Ginrich people don't seem to" get him" they think he is wonderful. Not so fast! check his record. He swings both ways in politics& OPINIONS AND HIS BELIEVES always where the grass is greener for his benefit . United StatesNEEDS normal American PRESIDENT WHOM WILL HAVE, humility , honor, patience, understanding,eXCELENT leadership& clear thinking, full steady leardeshp that is needed . This country cannot be built or follow the same principals it was built in if Newt Ginrich was to elected.. The strong Leader whom really believes the truth whatt America was built upon, that old school up briging,honoring family life and marriage no matter how hard things get will work hard . Open your eyes America. Instant tradification doesn't work. tor exiting momentum that Newt Gingrich is trying to built . VOTE FOR RICK SANTORUM WHOM IS WILLING TO FIGHT FOR YOU.AND HE KNOWS HOW TO GET THIS COUNTRY BACK ON TRACK.

    January 21, 2012 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  22. scommag

    Gingrich, not likeable?


    And of course it matters, as people who don't like Gingrich are not going to vote for him.

    January 21, 2012 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  23. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Gingivitis is more likable than you, Newt.

    January 21, 2012 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  24. Marry

    “He’s likeable. I would never beat Obama in a personality contest,” Gingrich said.
    Don’t be too sad Newt. You would win hands down when there would be a contest on hypocrisy, distorting facts, self-interest, working for the 1%, offending and bulling others, having no workable plans for the country, being disliked…
    President Obama 2012!

    January 21, 2012 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  25. willie floyd

    Who would want to see and hear, for 4 yrs., a pres. they didn't like? Especially when the one we now have is doing a good job and is certainly VERY LIKEABLE!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
    Hope this gets posted-not lost like most have the last few days!!

    January 21, 2012 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
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