Gingrich denies knowledge of 'kosher' robocall
January 31st, 2012
03:06 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich denies knowledge of 'kosher' robocall

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich denied any knowledge of a robocall put out by his campaign Tuesday claiming rival Mitt Romney refused to fund kosher food for Holocaust survivors during his time as Massachusetts governor.

Gingrich's campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed the calls were going out statewide in Florida Tuesday. The call's claim that Romney vetoed a bill providing kosher meals to nursing home residents during his time as governor first arose Monday, when Gingrich cited a report from the New York Post.

CNN Live: Tune in to CNN on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. ET for CNN's live coverage of the Florida primary results and follow real-time results on and on Twitter at #cnnelections. Stay up to date with CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or other phones.

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

The robocall begins by saying: "As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes. Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher."

Gingrich's robocall then urges voters to cast votes for Gingrich, saying, "Tuesday you can end Mitt Romney's hypocrisy on religious freedom, with a vote for Newt Gingrich."

At a campaign stop in Plant City, Florida, Gingrich denied any knowledge of the robocall, despite his campaign claiming responsibility for it.

When asked if the call was "over the top," Gingrich said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

When pressed, Gingrich said he wouldn't comment about the call since it was "something I don't know about."

Gingrich first made the claim about Romney's kosher food veto Monday, telling an audience in Jacksonville he read about the veto over the weekend.

The New York Post reported Friday on a veto Romney cast in 2003 that rejected "$600,000 in additional funds for poor Jewish nursing-home residents to get kosher meals."

The veto was one of hundreds of line-item vetoes Romney made as governor during a time of fiscal crisis in Massachusetts.

Responding to Gingrich's claims, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said the former speaker's campaign was growing increasingly desperate.

"It's sad to see Speaker Gingrich lashing out in a desperate attempt to try and save his floundering campaign," Saul said. "Speaker Gingrich will say anything to distract voters from the fact that he suffered an unprecedented ethics reprimand, was forced to pay a $300,000 penalty, and resigned in disgrace at the hands of his own party. His record is one of failed and unreliable leadership and simply one Americans can't risk."

CNN's Jim Acosta, Shawna Shepherd, Peter Hamby and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Also see:

Gingrich camp pulled in $5 million in January

Video: Mitt Romney sings

Gingrich sued for using 'Eye of the Tiger' in campaign

Florida primary 'the most negative campaign ever,' says media group

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. PM Ohio

    Don't know who said it 1st, but man's true character is proven during hard times...Newt's true character is showing...he doesn't even believe it anymore...

    Too bad for the Religious Right and Tea one to vote for this November.

    January 31, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. mark

    I don't believe Newt knows the difference between denying and lying. In fact, I don't believe Newt....period.

    January 31, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Bessy

    Like we should ever believe anything Newt tries to pass on. He is a bully, and a liar, who loves to blame anybody else for his mistakes.

    January 31, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. hypatia

    If his pants ignited every time he lied, he'd have the hottest poker in Washington.

    January 31, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. JR

    Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher."

    Are you kidding me??? FOR THE FIRST TIME? Wow...who knew that Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen served kosher, and it was Evil Mitt Romney who finally "forced" non-kosher food? I'm so grateful to Newt Gingrich and his minions for clarifying history for me. What a miscarriage of justice that the Nazi camp guards were never credited with respecting the religious beliefs of their prisoners...

    January 31, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Voice of Reason

    My prediction: Newt becomes the GOP nominee (which he has assured us he will). He gets the Lincoln-Douglas debates he's been asking for – with the 150-year-old debate style and everything. And he totally trounces Obama and also proves to the world not just how smart Newt really is, but also that Obama's birth certificate is a fake. And we'll be lobbing missiles at Iran soon, too. But I still have just one question: Can we please have Mitt sing the National Anthem at Newt's inauguration?

    Obama 2012.

    January 31, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    Why doesn't someone with some cojones in the media ask the newterman to repeat "Spanish is the ghetto language" and how he is going to teach blacks to earn a paycheck instead of receiving welfare.
    That would go over really well in Florida and the rest of the country.

    January 31, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. anagram_kid

    I am sure if this bill was put before Mr. Gingrich, he would suggest the senior citizens clean the toilets at their nursing home to defray the cost of kosher meals and tell us how the elderly have no work ethics as they expect other people to take care of them.

    January 31, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. sammieb51

    This guy is like the sline that grows at the bottom of a watering pail left outside. If he wins, I'm leaving the country.

    January 31, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Data Driven

    Still on the kosher gambit, Newt? The whole "denying Holocaust survivors kosher food" thing really adds an exquisite touch to the overall pandering for Florida's elderly Jewish vote. What would Saul Alinsky think?

    January 31, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. AEK

    Well, it is Newt, so everybody knows he's lying about not knowing anything, just sayin'!

    January 31, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
1 2