January 26th, 2012
02:39 PM ET
10 years ago

Dole assails Gingrich in plea to conservatives

(CNN) - Bob Dole, a Mitt Romney supporter and former Republican presidential nominee, issued a scathing statement Thursday blasting Newt Gingrich for being a "one-man-band who rarely took advice."

In an open letter to conservatives distributed by Romney's campaign, Dole said he personally took steps to assist the former House speaker pay off a penalty levied by the House Ethics Committee.

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"In 1997 a number of House members wanted to throw him out as Speaker," Dole wrote. "But he hung on until after the 1998 elections when the writing was on the wall. His mounting ethics problems caused him to resign in early 1999. I know whereof I speak as I helped establish a line of credit of $150,000 to help Newt pay off the fine for his ethics violations. In the end, he paid the fine with money from other sources."

Gingrich has characterized the penalty from the ethics panel as reimbursement for their investigation, which centered on a college course he taught that was misclassified as tax-exempt.

Dole drew on his own experience with the former House speaker to paint the candidate as lethal for the Republican Party.

"If Gingrich is the nominee it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state, and federal offices," Dole said. "Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway."

Dole, who served in the U.S. Senate when Gingrich was House speaker, harkened back to Gingrich's style during his time in Congress.

"Gingrich had a new idea every minute and most of them were off the wall," Dole said. "He loved picking a fight with Bill Clinton because he knew this would get the attention of the press. This and a myriad of other specifics helped to topple Gingrich in 1998."

Dole endorsed Romney in December, and made calls to allies in Iowa urging them to support Romney ahead of the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses. Dole won Iowa in 1996, but ultimately lost the general election to Bill Clinton.

In his letter, Dole placed a measure of blame on Gingrich for the loss.

"In my run for the presidency in 1996 the Democrats greeted me with a number of negative TV ads and in every one of them Newt was in the ad. He was very unpopular and I am not only certain that this did not help me, but that it also cost House seats that year."

Dole pointed to a particular eccentricity of Gingrich's, saying the former speaker's style was as puzzling as it was harmful.

"Newt would show up at the campaign headquarters with an empty ice-bucket in his hand-that was a symbol of some sort for him-and I never did know what he was doing or why he was doing it," Dole wrote.

Also see:

Obama shares intense encounter with Arizona governor

Gingrich shoots for the moon

Bachmann will run for reelection

Filed under: 2012 • Bob Dole • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Seattle Sue

    Wasn't Bob Dole known as The Hatchet Man when he was in Congress? Sure glad the American people didn't buy into his bid for the Presidency.

    January 26, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Vernon

    How did he become Speaker if his peer's did not vote for him?

    January 26, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    "He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway."
    We already have that in DC today. It's called the Tea Party. Newt sounds like the perfect guy for the Tea Party.

    January 26, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Mike Texoma

    The way I see it, nominating Newt Gingrich would be like nominating Bernie Madoff.

    January 26, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Normally they say when everyone is upset with you, that you must be doing something right. In Newt's case, pretty much everyone he worked with in the House and Senate (Nancy Johnson, where are you?) has come out against him citing his mercurial personality and constant position changes (if you are his opponent, they are called flip-flops) as making him unsuitable for the office of the Presidency. Even though I voted against Bob Dole in his two national bids (1976 and 1996), I always respected him and his opinions.
    Newt will be a bigger train wreck for the Republican Party than Herbert Hoover in 1932 or Barry Goldwater in 1964 if he gets the nomination.

    January 26, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Vernon, it was easy. His Contract with America won enough freshmen seats for the Republican Party that he had the folks who didn't know him except as the guy who made their elections possible vote for him for speaker. This was right around the time he was in the middle of his affair with Callista, too.

    January 26, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |

    Or to put it another way, Newt is a cancer to the republican party that can't be cured, it only ends in death to the party.

    January 26, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    The Republican Establishment is worried. THEY get to anoint the Candidate. THEY'VE created a Monster, the Tea Party, & it is now getting ready to eat them.

    January 26, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    Bob Dole , you are helping Obama dividing the party

    January 26, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People

    "It was his way or the highway."

    That would certainly explain his appeal to the GOP base.

    January 26, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Dave

    Romney is clearly the only choice. It is time to rally around the candidate that will beat President Obama.

    January 26, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. DrScott622

    Dat Boy has a lot of plastic surgery going on!! Looks like he should be singing "Billie Jean"!

    January 26, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Bob Dole, at his core, is a decent man. Despite his reputation, he did not sling mud at Clinton in the '96 election, preferring to make his case as to why he should be president around his qualifications and accomplishments, among which was the longest-serving leader in the Senate.He served effectively because he could build consensus, something that is alien to the GOP now. Take heed, GOP.

    January 26, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. ja

    now, i wonder what pelosi has on newt, the the gop need to neuter newt seems

    January 26, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Hongli

    I'm sorry but the Republican Party,- A Party of HATE has to REAP what it has SOWED-- seeds of TEA-PARTY WING-NUTS. Now with Newt SURGING to the TOP they want to kill the crop. Go FIGURE !!!!!

    January 26, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Go Newt Go! Sink the GOP!!

    January 26, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Ed DFWTX

    What has happened to the once-proud Republican Party? Where are the Republicans in the mode of Bob Dole and John Warner of Virginia, men of education and intelligence who cared deeply about this county and who you were proud to represent your state?. What we now have are extreme right wing wackos like Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Sarah Palin so totally unsuitable for the presidency and viewed by many Independents as total flakes and lack true leadership. We need two strong political parties but the Republicans have "run-off" all reasonable candidates

    January 26, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    HATE is what is dividing this country.

    January 26, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. S.positive

    This is only the beginning. The gop brewed this and now have to drink it...

    January 26, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. REG in AZ

    The eventual Republican presidential candidate should be defeated, along with John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann and others. Why?

    Because they are simply grossly dishonest and consistently lie without hesitation or conscience. Because they put their political ambitions above all else, at any cost to the people. Because they cater to and patronize “the few”, acting as “puppets” for the influential, powerful and extremely wealthy who strongly support them and who “pull their strings”. Because they are arrogant, obnoxious and stubborn, faulting and blocking any real efforts, as they put their self-interests first. Because, like what was clearly seen with Bush-Cheney, they totally neglect their responsibilities and completely count on, with the substantial covert and overt support of their backers, being able to simply con the people and manipulate public opinion. Because, like with Linbaugh, Palin, Beck, Hannity, the representatives themselves, and the SuperPacs and PACs, they aggressively push their deception and just boldly assume they can control people with their power, money and propaganda aimed to sway emotions and control thinking. Because, for twelve years now, they have insultingly taken the people for granted, focused totally on their political ambitions and singularly served just “the few”. Because when people are really objective and rational, with their emotions checked so they can’t be used to con and manipulate them, they then see and understand these truths ... and fully understand and accept that the only way to “break the back” of “the money”, for the people to ever regain control and have real representation, is to firmly and totally reject “the money’s” candidates.

    That is the only way we will ever get money out of politics, ... to render it ineffective. The supreme court wouldn’t do it, the politicians won’t ever do it ... the question now is, can the people do it? We can rationalize that the Democrats aren’t “pure and holy” either, but they simply are no where near as owned and controlled as the Republicans and (contrary to propaganda) we actually have room to come back to the “left”, with it being a first step in the people regaining control. Then we can have representatives receptive to term-limits, caps on political spending, controls on 3rd parties and limits on lobbyists moving in and out of government – all currently significant abuses contributing to the problems. There really is no hope for the majority when they aren’t even honestly considered and rather are just conned and taken for granted; when the “more” mentality is aggressively pushed and the country is continually moved towards being a two-class society with “the few” competing in having it all and the majority struggling to simply survive.

    January 26, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. diridi

    Is this old republican idiot alive?

    January 26, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. v_mag

    It looks to me like whoever loses the nomination will be the lucky one. He will always be able to say, "Well, if you'd nominated me, the GOP would have won."

    GOP goin' down, down, down!

    January 26, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Lucas

    I thought that Republicans when they became old, would become Democrat to avoid going to hell, but I guess that's not the case with Bob Dole.

    January 26, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    So, the extreme right is buying into Mittens' answer to the immigration problem is 'self deportation.' Ever notice that the people who post right wing propaganda on this site are blaming democrats for class warfare, yet the republicans have been fighting and dividing their own party as well as the country? The candidate who will eventually win the booby prize and run against President Obama will be a tax evader, corporate raider, vulture capitalist, a person who thinks that corporations and big banks and Wall Street are people too.

    January 26, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Jake

    the GOP is way out of step with America and the rest of the world!

    January 26, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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