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. Mike

    Understatement of the century.

    January 21, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  2. capnmike

    Yup. He'd also lose in honesty, intelligence, and just about everything else, except maybe blubber. Where does the GOP get this gang of idiots anyway?

    January 21, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  3. JCQueipo

    This guy makes me vomit, and Romney turn my stomach !!!

    January 21, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  4. Tony in Maine

    You lose to Obama in just about everything – intelligence and mental agility included. The only thing you do better is – jeez, I forget.

    January 21, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  5. clarke

    I don't always care for Newt, but I do agree with him on this .

    January 21, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  6. Bob

    Finally, Newt Gingrich and I agree on something.

    January 21, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  7. Change

    The first honest thing he has said as an American politician in terms of President Obama's likeability. But he was wrong in his comment about the President's ability to do the job. President Obama is the best President the White House has ever seen. Period!

    January 21, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  8. Ken Andrews

    As well as in a talent, intelligence, attractiveness, honesty and ability to govern contest. Looks like the only thing Newt would win is pie eating or serial cheating race.

    January 21, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  9. Ed

    Like killing OBL? Or creating 4 million jobs? Or saving the auto industry?

    January 21, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  10. rude

    Yes you would lose but you can pick up MORE chicks!

    January 21, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  11. ziegfeldf

    Obama, policies aside, is also not a sociopath.

    January 21, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  12. rexedie

    nice attempt at being honest newt.... but if he gets the job how many will suffer for it....????

    January 21, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  13. Vader

    Really Newt? And you are "capable"? Like you were capable of 84 ethics violations while Speaker? Like you were capable when your demogoguery led to the shutdown of the government? Like you were capable as a lobbyist for Freddie/Fannie?
    And Newt, being divorced (even twice, I suppose) is not a blackmark. But WHY your marriages (both ending because of your philandering) and HOW you chose to end them is.
    Once a liar and cheat, always a liar and cheat. Your track record, both public and private, shows of what you are "capable."

    January 21, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  14. linda truite

    Everyone should focus on the issuses instead of the color of a person skin come togather and stop fighting cure homeless hunger jobs

    January 21, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. Tom

    Obama is also honest, Newt is not!

    January 21, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  16. hansdick

    Gingrich is not unlikable. He is destestable.

    January 21, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  17. Rob

    Of course Obama is more likable than Newt. Newt is the type of guy that if you shook his hand you would feel the need to immediately wash it with lots of soap and water. He is so slimy. John King should have asked him if he is in an open marriage now. His 2nd wife stated that his now 3rd wife does not care what he does and does not insist on having him all to herself – so that tells me that Newt is in an open marriage. How does the Christian-base overlook something so reprehensible. How do women overlook something so reprehensible? Newt isn't in this race to serve the people. He is in this race to serve his own ego. The same is true of Romney. He claims to have created 100,000 jobs – what he neglects to mention is that all of those jobs were based in India and were at one time filled by Americans. This field of Republicans is the most shameless we've ever seen. It's very disturbing in a 2 party system to have one party so anti-American and proud to be so. Being an independent voter I am being pushed to the left – not pulled.

    January 21, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  18. yoshi

    yes, and that's why you won't beat him – i don' know why the GOP is waffling – Romney is so qualified, so clean and so successful he can not only beat Obama but he could be one of the few pols to ever actually fix anything – and this economy needs to be FIXED big time – china is killing us and Romney is the only one who gets that, the rest of just professional politicians – i voted for Obama last time, i will vote for Obama again if that lowlife Newt is nominated

    January 21, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  19. sensible

    He would lose to a rattlesnake in a personality contest!

    January 21, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |

    The voters of S.C. are about to choose a true sociopath as their choice for the GOP nomination for President. What was it someone said about S.C. in 1860? Oh, yes: "South Carolina is to small to be a nation and too large to be an insane asylum." Now I think the latter is going to be proven the correct assessment.

    January 21, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. Jose

    Can you imagine the media skewering if Obama was a sleaze bag like Newt? Fox alone would have you think that he is the devil incarnate (in addition to an illegitimate, socialist, communist who pals around with terrorists and wants to take this country away).

    January 21, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  22. Eric

    Newt's policies are very similar to BO's, and that combined with this story are the reasons why he has no chance in November. Why vote to change a letter after a name and no policies? The anti-Obama is Ron Paul.

    January 21, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  23. Ralph100

    Gingrich is right Obama is more likeable and I might add looks a lot better too. Who wants an over weight arrogant windbag bully in the oval office. Gingrich's head is so big he has convinced himself him and his little wifie's new home will be the White House. I can just see these two now the hypo and the scary crow showing their best faces to the world. I don’t think so!!!

    January 21, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  24. Ron

    Obama's more likeable than you, Newt? Gee, ya think? I'll submit that banana slugs are more likeable than you. You are an arrogant, bombastic, unethical, pseudo-intellectual with an over-inflated ego and dreams of grandiosity. Why don't you leave America alone and go find yourself a fourth wife and a few more mistresses, you cheating miscreant?

    January 21, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  25. Dr. Ruth

    “He’s likeable. I would never beat Obama in a personality contest,”

    Or decency, or honesty, or common sence, or sincerity.. or Family Values..

    January 21, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
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