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:

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Gingrich shoots for the moon

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Filed under: 2012 • Bob Dole • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I heard Newt's radio PAC ad against murky Mittens today on Gator country radio. What a hoot.

    January 26, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Dole would have a lot more credibility in his expressions of concern for his party if he had honestly mentioned the R-Money, the Elitist Robot with the low tax rate is harming his party just as much, if not more, than Newt. And Dole would do well to confront the reasons for his party's steep decline in popularity if he addressed the obstruction and had the guts to repudiate the GOBP deathcult's failed policies, like deregulation and tax cuts for the filthy rich. Too bad Dole doesn't really have the guts to deal with true problems his party faces.

    January 26, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Lili

    The GOP establishment, Democrats and Media are all trying to throw the book at Newt. If Newt is such a "God send" to the Dems if he were to be elected and Obama would beat him terribly, why are they joining in with trying to bring him down. Bottom line, Newt has flaws, he has done wrong, he has been wrong and he is not perfect. But in the words of Gov Perry, "who among us is?". There is absolutely nothing wrong with everyone attacking Newt and questioning his character and position. This is fair game. HOWEVER, when all of the over the top constant attacks and many of them are now becoming personal are only thrown at ONE CANDIDATE and the other candidates get a free pass THAT is where the problem come in!! This is just the beginning. Newt's gotta fight back and turn this negativity into a positive. If anyone can turn a bad situation to their advantage, Newt can!

    January 26, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Yeah it sure looks like ol' Newt didn't make too many friends during his stint in Congress!! As is sometimes the case, the revolutionary leading the revolt does not possess the skills needed to govern after the revolt. While I respect the revolutionary Newt is and some of his ideas, one has to look to Romney as the most effective leader. He's has a proven track record of success and accomplishment. He's got what it takes to be a great President. Unlike the current occupant of the WHitehouse, Romney's suit is filled with experience and success, not failure and fingerpointing.

    January 26, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. John, Lancaster, CA

    It's interesting how the Democrats only talk about moderation and compromise when there's a divided government. We heard nothing about compromise from them while they controlled both houses and the White House. In fact they rammed their policies through for two years.

    Hmm... interesting tactic.

    January 26, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Dole ran his 1996 campaign much the same as Romney is trying to run his 2012 campaign. Whether Romney wins the nomination is yet to be seen. Blaming Gingrich in 1996 for Dole's campaign loss is a bit of a stretch. The same applies for Mitt Romney. If Mitt can't secure the nomination, the fault is Mitt's and no other. Good to see Republicans finally pointing fingers at each other, though. Sweet justice for all.

    January 26, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I read that in a poll, 91% approved of the President's State of the Union Address, and 9% disapproved. It looks like all the disapprovers post on CNN 24/7 are in a pretty small minority.

    January 26, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Jariv

    Wire Palladin, S.F. - You are soooooo crazy you say the dumbest things. Anyways, everyone listen.. We NEED Romney in the White House.

    Romney 2012 !

    January 26, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Beverly - NYC

    Bob Dole, he's still alive, and deos his wife know he's out of the house?. Romney is certainly pulling out all his geriatric supporters to woo Florida, first McCain the guy who thaought Sarah Palin as VP was a good idea now Dole, who Clinton didn't even have to campaign against he was so bad. Should be a fun debate tonight now that the front runners are ready to throw blows and pull hair. Wonder who Newt will tell at tonight.

    January 26, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. SouthTexan

    The Democrat part of me would like to see Newt as the Republican nominee, but the larger American part of me is scared that there are enough rabid ignorant voters to actually have Next become the president.
    God please protect this great country.

    January 26, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Drew

    From Bob's mouth to God's ear!!

    January 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. kayla

    mr. dole, with all due respect, i do not think you lost to bill clinton because of newt. you would have lost anyway. kinda like it does not matter who run for the repugs, obama will still win.

    January 26, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    A loser supporting a loser. Nice job Mittens.

    January 26, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Mark Bellng

    Bob Dole. He's the reason why I will NEVER go along with ANYTHING the GOP, GOP Elite, and DC Conservatives say. What a waste.

    January 26, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Kevin

    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.


    It's the other way around. Old Dems become Republicans to avoid hell. Don't know if that would help Pelosi or Reid though.

    January 26, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Jerry Rainwater

    Didn't Bob Dole win the Presidency in 96? Hmmmm, another winner castigating others.... just like John McCain, another winner in the Presidential race.....

    January 26, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. Not Romney

    Hey, with friends like McCain and Dole, Romney doesn't need enemies.

    Does Carter support him, too?

    January 26, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Jeff Novak

    Bob Dole, the poster child for political erectile dysfunction. I remember your debate prowess, Mr. Moderate. Well, I remember the first few minutes before you put me into a moderate induced coma. Why don't you, McCain and the rest of the establishment Republicans just go enjoy a nice steaming cup of STFU?

    January 26, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. Dave

    LOSER RINO Dole the once anointed just because it was his turn is telling US who we should believe is a conservative or not? Don't make me laugh my Libby's corn out through my nose!-) And BTW Newt did more for the Republican Party than all his attacker put together! And I'll believe Reagan's Wife before I believe any of these other so called Republicans who are attacking Newt! And BTW I'd rather have Santorum but that's just me but Newt will do just fine cause at least we KNOW he loves this Country unlike the current POSocialist occupying the White House!

    January 26, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. Bubba Johnson

    Is this fossil still alive? Who knew!

    January 26, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. B. Golan

    Bob Dole, John McCain, and Chris Christie endorsing Mitt Romney should be an absolute warning to all true Conservatives! Mitt Romney is no Conservative, and is a complete fraud. Why is it that the demonicrats give Romney a pass and why is the GOP corraling all of us into voting for Romney? Why does Hannity and Fox News give Romney a pass everytime? That powerful stench is the GOP, and the demonic-rats working in concert.

    January 26, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. v_mag

    Here's the thing I really can't stand about Rom-money: He's anti-coffee. Not only that, but anti-tea and anti-Coke. How can I be sure, if he becomes president, that I will be allowed to continue enjoying the drink that has saved my life on more than one occasion? It's un-American to be anti-caffeine, surely. That alone should be reason enough to reject him, and all right-thinking, coffee-drinking, proud Americans should agree with me.

    January 26, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. tim

    @Rudy You mean the tea party that has no power? You sure you didn't mean the socialist democrats and their barage of government takeovers pre-2010 election? Pretty sure you haven't a clue on what you're talking about but keep at it slugger. 1001 days TODAY with no budget, I guess that is the tea party member holding up all budget votes in the senate as Democrat majority leader right? Think you may want to reassess the situation and your moronity.

    January 26, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. steve m.

    Bob Dole and John McCain are war heroes but politically they are RINO's and losers, I am suspect of anyone who puts any trust in what they recommend. Newt will make the changes to this government necessary so our economy can thrive!

    January 26, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Ouch! I was called crazy by a mental midget.

    January 26, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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