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. PK California

    You've got that right!

    January 21, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. bob

    who isn't ???

    January 21, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. GI Joe

    He needs a reality check. He'd lose to Obama in ANY AND ALL contests. Maybe morals, ethics, temperament don't mean anything to him.

    We don't need another "W" that thinks of ONLY the wealthy. The majority of this nation is NOT super wealthy,

    January 21, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. SA Wallick

    Our family doesn't like him Newt, but we'd like to meet you and ask a few key questions.

    January 21, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. Journeyone

    Newt, who was behind trying to get rid of Clinton, is guilty of extramarital affairs. So was McCain. The BETTER THAN YOU party that throws out religion and Christianity are the BIGGEST HYPROCRITS!!!
    I love this.
    To all of you who are not aware of the GOP cast of characters. I said this before but I am even more convinced of it now that the cable news stations and internet are saying it. Jeb Bush 2012 GOOGLE it, if you are up to the challenge.
    Everything the GOP candidates are saying is another nail in their presidential coffin. They cannot, like every other GOP candidate of years past cannot even comprehend what it is like for the middle class and the poor.
    For some odd reason some American’s vote BUSH. Not sure why, the always tank this country. Start wars for whatever reason. Bush did not get the popular vote.
    This is so fun watching the GOP Caucus!

    January 21, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. MojoCoffeeMaker

    Aww, stuff it Newt. You have to be liked to get elected. Why don't you attack Fox News while you're at it.

    January 21, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. SHaskins

    Mr. Gingrich is wrong. It is a likability issue. Think of cheerleaders, homecoming queens, student council, office promotions, local elections. The "Likability Factor" weighs in. I have been saying this for 20 years before someone wrote a book about it.

    January 21, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. max

    Obama is more likeable than Newt? Heck, Putin is more likeable than Newt...

    January 21, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. allen

    why is it that when mr. obama was running for the presidency and declaring we must change our way of thinking he was cheered, but when a republican candidate says that he has changed his way of thinking that it is said he has flip-flopped?

    January 21, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  10. G from Illinois

    Mr. Speaker Gingrich, Voting is all about like-ability! Working with somebody has a lot to do with that person's like-ability.

    January 21, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. Thinkergal

    Obama is also smarter, better- looking, more honest, and much more concerned about the country and the good of the American people.

    January 21, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    Gingrich would also lose the character contest. As the poster child of the GOP/Tea Party religious evangelical social conservative wing, Gingrich is a poor choice: wife cheater, greedy lobbyist, career insider politician, and censored ethics violator as Speaker of the House.

    January 21, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. MK54

    It's true, Gingrich can lie, cheat, steal, misbehave and be downright nasty much more effectively than anyone else running. Apparently, many Republicans don't see those often displayed qualities as disqualifying for President of the United States. Fortunately, most Americans do.

    January 21, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. Leigh1234567

    Newt, if you are the candidate, you will lose to Obama, regardless.

    The country knows your unsavory history, and not only your adulteries. A president has to be more than just a chest beater, a bloviator, a narcissistic pig who is not "country-first", but rather "ME FIRST".

    January 21, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Mike

    “He’s likeable. I would never beat Obama in a personality contest,” Gingrich said. And Obama would also beat Gingrich in every other aspect! (Gingrich said that South Carolinians should email, Facebook, Twitter and 'You Tube' their friends regarding todays primary. 'You Tube'?????? He obviously doesn't know a thing about social networking!)

    January 21, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. OvernOut

    This isn't about the "cutest couple" award from the Senior Class Poll, Newter. You'd lose that vote, too, btw.

    January 21, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. scoto

    And smarter, and more ethical, and more faithful to his wife, and....... well ahem.

    January 21, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Bill

    It's like this guy got divorced and re-married one, two, THREE times – and each time married the bimbo he was messin' with on the previous wife! What's wrong with this picture? Nothin', I guess. He is a pompous, self-centered guy who is always blustering about something or other and that speaks to instability and poor life-choices made routinely. He's no dummy like Perry, and he's not a super-altar-boy Catholic like Sanctorum (who naturally wants to cut off any birth control), but doubt he's stable enough for the Presidency. Of course Obama is more likeable, he's at least open minded and educated enough to listen and learn!

    January 21, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. Liz the First

    Sir, there is not a contest you wouldn't lose to him in, personality, temperment, intelligence, decency, capability. the last thing this country needs at the helm is a hand grenade with the pin pulled! Obama is level-headed and calm under fire. he's exactly what we need in this troubled world. heard Santorum is now knocking him for thinking!!! God forbid we should have a president who thinks!!! What is wrong with these rethugs? what alternate universe do they live in? whatever it is, i wish they'd all go back there and stay there!

    January 21, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. nonselfishperson

    Sorry, Mr and Mrs. Gingrich. You don't have the right personality to be our president and the first lady. Don't blame on media or anyone else but yourself.

    January 21, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. Debbie from Arizona

    I disagree with Newt when he say's being likable is not important in voting for President. Personally, I can not vote for a man who I find repugnant and a total hypocrite. The President has to work with other heads of state and heads of other countries. If you are a total jerk, personality wise, then you would be unable to have any kind of worthwhile relationships with others. Who wants to work with or support a man who is a bully and a liar.

    January 21, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  22. mojo

    He's also the .Democrats best chance for victory. Go Newt

    January 21, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  23. diridi

    So does Romney too....Obama2012.

    January 21, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. Johnny

    Kim Jong Il would win a personality contest with Newt Gingrich.

    January 21, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. Leigh

    I consider myself a moderate and I vote across party lines. I can say 100% that if Newt is the republican nominee, I am 100% behind Obama, without ever hearing one word come out of that other slob's mouth. I know enough about Newt to last me a lifetime – it is inconceivable to me that people are behind this man.

    January 21, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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