Gingrich sharpens attacks against Romney's wealth
February 3rd, 2012
04:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich sharpens attacks against Romney's wealth

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) – Newt Gingrich, intensifying his efforts to frame the Republican presidential race as a showdown between his populist insurgency and Mitt Romney's establishment-backed campaign, sharpened his criticisms Friday of Romney's wealth and corporate resume.

Campaigning before about 100 people inside Stoney's Rockin' Country, a half-full honky tonk off Las Vegas Boulevard, Gingrich repeatedly veered into the class warfare rhetoric he often decries on the campaign trail.

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"This is a campaign of people power versus money power," the former House speaker declared.

Seizing on Romney's comment this week that he is "not concerned" about the poor, Gingrich called the former Massachusetts governor a "rich guy" incapable of connecting with working class Americans.

Gingrich said the "poor" comment, from which Romney later backtracked, was "not a very clever thing for somebody who is very wealthy to say."

"I think we want a candidate who represents Americans who work, pay taxes and believe in the Declaration of Independence, not somebody who is clearly against the American ideal," Gingrich said at a campaign stop in Las Vegas on Friday.

Painting Romney as beholden to big banks and moneyed interests, he condemned his opponent's proposal to index minimum wage to inflation, saying it would create a barrier for teenagers and minorities seeking jobs.

"The truth is he doesn't understand the free market," Gingrich said of his chief rival. "He understands a lot about finance, but finance is not the free market, and Wall Street is not Main Street, and giant businesses are not small businesses."

Gingrich hammered the class-based themes again and again.

He attacked out-of-touch news media "elites" who reside in Manhattan high rises and "ride the subway" (perhaps unaware of who rides public transportation in New York City).

At one point, he even compared Romney to President Barack Obama, whom he has routinely described as a "food stamp president."

Like Obama, he claimed, Romney wants Americans to live off food stamps instead of paychecks.

"Obama is big food stamp, he is little food stamp," Gingrich said of Romney. "But they both think food stamps are okay."

On the topic of housing, he said mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are more concerned with their bottom lines than helping Americans refinance their home loans.

"We did not create Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so rich guys like Mitt Romney and Goldman Sachs can make money," Gingrich said, delivering one of his sharpest attacks against Romney to date.

He delivered the message despite fact that the Obama administration has rolled out several initiatives to help troubled homeowners refinance their mortgages.

Gingrich also ignored his own lucrative consulting work for Freddie Mac before the nationwide mortgage collapse began.

That point did not go unnoticed by Mike Thomas, a construction worker and undecided Republican voter who drove down from Reno just to see Gingrich speak.

"He basically sounded like the person most against those two companies, Freddie and Fannie," Thomas told CNN after the event. "So why was he working for them? I don't get it. I question how he can come here and attack them."

Romney's campaign said Gingrich is "detached from reality" and dismissed his "flailing attacks."

"Newt Gingrich would rather make misleading statements about Mitt Romney’s record than tell Nevada voters suffering from the housing crisis why he took $1.6 million from Freddie Mac or why he filmed a climate change ad with Nancy Pelosi that was funded by George Soros," said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams.

Also see:

Romney on 'poor' comment: I misspoke

McDonnell open to spot as GOP running mate

Romney hits U.S. Taliban proposal

A Trump endorsement: Where imagination and reality meets

Gingrich to challenge Florida delegates

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Watch out. Newt Gingrich is popping now. Too bad there's no debate this week.

    February 3, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. diridi

    Bain Capital, and Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae...ha..ha..ha...ha..ha..ha...These idiots are under hallucination.

    February 3, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    It's pretty easy when Rmoney keeps handing over more ammunition.

    February 3, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Matt

    Newt looking pretty pathetic with this populist message he has been slinging lately. Rich folks are bad, govt spending is bad, unless of course it is for a big project for the state he is currently campaigning in. Not sure what some of the Tea-Party folks see in this big spending DC insider.

    February 3, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Jariv

    Gingrich is so full of it. I just can't believe he actually Won a State. People need to open their eyes.

    February 3, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. anagram_kid

    Does he think we have all forgotten about the 500K credit at Tiffany's?

    February 3, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Something is wrong with Newt, Mitt and Rick .

    None of them past the taste test, they just don't have any moxie , no soul , there all look see show.

    Who in the world will respect us if any of then were to become president ?

    February 3, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. politics as usual

    Wow. Keep digging that hole you're in, Newtie. Pretty soon we won't have to look at your ugly face anymore.

    February 3, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. DENNA

    You have GOT to be kidding. Is this man crazy or what? Correct me if I am wrong, you are rich right Newt? Judging from the blond barbie doll by your side you have to be. You make my skin crawl. Besides, there is nothing wrong with being rich. The problem is that the Republican million/billionaires don't care about ordinary Americans They become president and try to dismantle anything that will remotely keep ordinary Americans from falling behind. Romney's "slip of the tongue" comment was just him speaking his mind. And you don't care either.

    February 3, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. v_mag

    If you want proof of who the frontrunners serve, look at anagrams of their names:

    Newt Gingrich = Rich Gent Wing
    Romney = R Money

    February 3, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Nothing new here

    Pot calling the kettle black.
    And this is the best that the GOP has to offer?
    Barry Goldwater must be rolling in his grave.

    February 3, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Really?!?

    Wow lets hammer a guy because he is rich and successful. Romney earned that wealth he didn't inherit it, so tell me Newt, what is wrong with that? Newt is a say anything to get elected guy. He can't be trusted.
    I am not even a Romney supporter, but there are plenty other things wrong with Romeny, but his wealth isn't one of them.

    Ron Paul 2012

    February 3, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    Gingrich likes to say he's Reagan's heir. I'll believe that when he starts repeating this Reagan quote in regard to taxing the wealthy:

    June 6, 1985: "We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy."

    BTW, a recent Public Policy Poll found that 73 percent of Americans, including 66 percent of Republicans, favor the Buffett rule.

    Personally, we should rename it to the "Reagan Rule," since Reagan believed that the wealthy (which included himself) should pay their fair share.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    February 3, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Marg

    With every word that comes of all the GOP candidates mouths, I am more and more thankful that I have my president watching over us all.

    February 3, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Shawn Moriarty

    Mr. Gingrich just made a comment on CNN that gas prices have doubled since Obama took office. Actually the Average gas price in 2008 was just around $3.50 a gallon, and right now the average is about $3.40. To me that is not double. I could be wrong, but it looks lower.

    February 3, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Mr. Bean

    Am I the only one that thinks Newt looks like Mr. Bean? (a chubby Mr. Bean)

    February 3, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. The Greedy Old PIgs have declared class war on US!

    "Romney earned that wealth he didn't inherit it"

    I guess if you call vulture capitalism "earning" money you'd be right. Most Americans, however, do not have such a positive view of a person whose only goal is to make vast amounts of money by ripping apart companies, laying off workers, siphoning off the pension contributions and then sticking the US taxpayers with the pension obligations.

    February 3, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Expat American

    Cotton Hill and Dracula have 3 things in common:

    1.They’re BOTH rich;
    2.They Both pander to the Republican ‘base’ of poor uneducated white GOP voters who, in reality, Cotton Hill and Dracula care nothing about;
    3.They are Both terrible choices for President;

    Instead of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ – Cotton Hill and Dracula should play the same song at their rallies – that is the Benny Hill theme song complete with big clown shoes and a honk-honk nose (but without the pretty girls backdrop of course).

    February 3, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. CandyBee

    Newt, just go away. You have no logical hope of election. We don't want you. Now YOU know what it feels like to be unwanted as a few of your former wives knew. Don't go away mad. Just go away.

    February 3, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Now that Romney has admitted what all the Republicans think; poor people do not matter, The Newt will use it for attack material. The Newt cares even less about the poor than Romney, but that won't stop him from lambasting Romney for admitting it.
    Actually the Newt should care about the poor. If it were not for the poor, who would clean the Newt's pool, do his yard work, clean his house, do the nails and hair for his current wife (Ex-mistress) and whatever current mistress he has hidden away. Poor people do all the minimum wage things that the Newt and his rich Republican won't do. They do it because if they don't, their families might not have food, housing, clothing and medical care.

    February 3, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. Quiet corner

    This guy is delusional. With power, he would be dangerous.

    February 3, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Romney's campaign said Gingrich is "detached from reality" and dismissed his "flailing attacks."

    It's a sure bet Mitt's reality isn't much better than Newt's.

    February 3, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. george of the jungle

    newt the nut is at it again with the food stamps.More people have been hit with the bad economy so more people on food stamps. Thats pretty easy to figure out. Thank God we have the ability to help people especially children with food stamps. Yeah I know heard all about food stamp fraud. But if we help some that really need it . Then it is worth it. Most are white poor people not minoritys as the repos would have you think. He is a big blow hard. And ol mitt well he's not worried about the poor. I know what mitt ment but do we need a leader who makes one gaff after another. Not in touch with most of us folks.Obama/Biden 2012

    February 3, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. logicnLA

    When you have a $700,000.00 line of credit at Tiffany's, you should be careful about mentioning wealth as an issue.

    February 3, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Larry in Houston

    WoW !! poor 'ol newter – – tsk tsk – after reading these comments on here, I have to agree with just about all of them. I honestly don't have much to say – I'd say the newter will be done in 2 to 3 months, I honestly don't think he's going all the way. He might be able to carry a few states below the mason – dixon line – and that's about it.

    February 3, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |