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.

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

    Well, Newt is partly right: the contest is not about personality. But it IS partly about moral values and whether a candidate has any. Delivering divorce papers to a wife on a hospital bed is shows a serious lack thereof. Then, dumping two wives to pick up with a younger third wife is also a test of a candidate's moral value. For my part, he is dead meat on that major issue, not to mention other serious faults!

    January 21, 2012 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  2. lisa2010

    the way he switche wives, how do we know he will be for us today and for himself when (and If) he becomes president. and for him call Obama a "FOOD STAMP PRESIDENT", i bet his first wife used up the food stamps when he left his first family without no means of support and they had to find help with the local church... We call those kind of people DEAD BEAT DAD... I WON;T TRUST HIM WITH A 10 FOOT POLE...and for him getting angry at the press, he knows that when you run for an important office of presidency, you life is an open book... and the only person he should get mad at is himself, the media is just doing their job... his ex-wife wanted to talk to the media, if he doesn't like it he should go talk to his ex=wife, but it seems that till today they are not friends...HE MADE HIS LIFE THE WAY IT IS, SO DON'T GO BLAME NO ONE BUT HIMSELF...

    January 21, 2012 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  3. Anthony

    Given that Gingrich does not have facts on his side either (the unemployment rate has hit the lowest level since February 2009, right after Obama entered office; the deficits would disappear in 2015 or 2016 if not for the Bush tax cuts and the doc fix, which was enacted in the first Bush Administration), Gingrich or any Republican will lose on the issues as well.

    January 21, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  4. tellitlikeitis

    Everybody is more likable than Newt. He tries to appear so smart and quote history (that he most of times makes up) and sways people that don't know any better. Most of his audience do not check his facts, especially his take on food stamps. How many white people on food stamps are appalled at what he says? When you preach hate, separation, and differences, you don't realize how much you separate people. If you, or anyone else running for president, haven't quite grasped the fact that you would have to be the President of all of the people, then you are applying for the wrong job! You might play the mind games in SC, but there are other states you have to win my friend. I wonder how the South Carolina folks would feel if they ever say your speech welcoming President Obama when he was elected and that it is historical and all the other things you said when he was elected. You talk about the media now, but it was you, Newt, that used the media when Bill Clinton had his fling. Well, at least he did not leave a string of sick wives! I think you are an appalling racist, separatist, and more than anything else, the biggest liar and manipulator that ever graced Capitol Hill. The one thing that you are good at, is being an actor. After you lose your bid for president, I'm sure Hollywood has a place for you. Or, you could go and school Black people on how to get jobs, you should start by telling your business friends to freakin start hiring them!

    January 21, 2012 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  5. Ed Zepp

    You're right, Newt. Pretty much anyone is more like able than a guy who pontificates about morality and tries to impeach a President, while cheating on his wife with his own intern. -that's called hypocrisy. And although you would like everyone to believe you've seen the errors of your ways, and we should forgive and forget, you continue to be a Grand Hypocrite and a liar when you talk about this President.

    January 21, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  6. Philly Pro

    Newt Gingrich is basically a Polygamist....3 wives is one wife too many....

    Christian Evangelicals are proving themselves to be nothing but Old Out of Touch Ignorant Hypocrites

    their political power gets smaller every year as a new fresh young generation decides not to follow in their pathetic footsteps

    Goodbye Right Wing Christians.....when you are extinct we will not miss you

    January 21, 2012 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  7. taxweary

    Anyone would appear more likeable than newt! That said,anyone could run a country better than Obama!

    January 21, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  8. Ken

    I don't even like they guy, but when I saw how he handled the question about he ex, I stand up for him, He is the kind of men that would stand up to the us enemies and handle them the right way. a true leader.

    January 21, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  9. EdSantaFe

    The past counts. Fat Newt cannot whitewash his philandering past just because he doesn't want to talk about it.

    January 21, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  10. Bernard Webb

    Gingrich is definitely right about Obama being more likeable than he is. Who could possibly like an unpleasant looking, intemperate, philandering unethical bomb-thrower? He's wrong about this having nothing to do with the presidency, though. Americans will not elect a man as unlikeable as Newt.

    January 21, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  11. sickofit

    "I would lose to Obama in a personality contest". Mr. Gingrich, you would lose in a personality contest against venomous snake................

    January 21, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  12. Ryan

    Gingrich is so wrong. I am a devout Republican but if he wins the nomination I definitely will vote for Obama, especially since Michelle is not the promiscuous individual Callista seems to be.

    January 21, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  13. mb2010a

    The Republicans will be handing the 2012 election to Obama on a silver platter if they end up making Newt their candidate in November...

    January 21, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  14. Charlie from the North

    People really dislike the media. Wow that's quite an insult and wildly in accurate. Gingrich, and his supporters hate the media who tell the truth because as Stephen Colbert correctly noted "The truth has a liberal bias".

    Don't feel bad though CNN I bet you would win a popularity contest with the GOP majority in Congress.

    January 21, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  15. Jt_flyer

    Even Ayman al-Zawahiri is more likable than you gingritch. This man is pure BAD. Everyone else is living except him. Sure.

    January 21, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  16. JustSaying2U

    "Look at who I am now." Exactly. That's why the only thing crazier than a Gingrich Administration is the people who believe in this pompous hypocrite.

    January 21, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  17. J R Brown

    This is exactly why Newt shouldn't be President...he fails to understand that getting elected President IS a popularity contest. Obama's own election to the presidency should be the most vivid case in point...a man with absolutely no executive experience whose only political experience was running for office defeated a man who spent his entire life serving his country as a war hero and Congressman.

    Americans don't elect the people who can best do the job...they elect the people with the best advertising campaign.

    January 21, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  18. GaryB

    Gingrich always has been quick to pull the victim card when it comes to any press investigation into his political ethics, questionable business dealings and now, personal life. Amazing how he can turn questions about his personal failings into a political advantage. I guess there truly is one born every minute.

    January 21, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  19. hoosierjulie

    Many, many folks are more likeable than Newt Gingrich. And he's right, likeability has no direct correlation with being a good President. That said, I have no doubt that Obama is and has been and will be a better President than Gingrich could potentially (but will not) be. Gingrich has some intellectual smarts and a decent education, but that shows itself as mere pedantry and bombast. And he seems to be a "see that, want that, take that" kind of guy, both with women and perks. He may have repented his former ways (who's to say?) but that should show itself in humility, not in lecutring others on how they should live and aspiring to high office. A whited sepulchre for sure.

    January 21, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  20. hope120

    Thats a given about Obama being more likeable then "The Lizard" and you think Obama's wife spend.
    Get the Lizards stepford wife and put them in office and you'll see spending !!

    January 21, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  21. Isaac

    I hate to tell you, Newt, but Presidential Elections ARE personality contests. The more likable guys ALWAYS wins.

    January 21, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  22. megamimi

    The notion of likeability in a nation's leader is akin to the notion that parents should be their children's friends. Neither notion represents the true role of the adult in either situation.

    January 21, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  23. MidwstrnGrl

    HYPOCRITE! you would lose period. You are a nasty, pious man. You crucified Clinton for his affair and impeached him for it, all while doing the same thing you were preaching against. Go away you disgusting human being.

    January 21, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  24. USA

    Yea! MITTENS !!

    January 21, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  25. Darth Cheney

    Richard Nixon was more likeable than Newt Gingrich.

    January 21, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
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