Armey: Gingrich a lost cause for tea party base
February 5th, 2012
11:19 AM ET
11 years ago

Armey: Gingrich a lost cause for tea party base

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich is a one-state wonder who is unlikely to play out as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney sought by some tea party activists, one of the movement's driving forces said Sunday.

“I don’t think Newt will be able to replicate that magic moment in South Carolina,” said Dick Armey, chairman of the conservative grassroots group FreedomWorks, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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Romney, meanwhile, "continues to work along at a steady pace, and we are left with a dilemma that we are not going to get a reliable, small government conservative out of this nominating process," lamented Armey, a former Republican leader in the U.S. House.

His comments came the day after Gingrich placed second after Romney in Nevada's caucuses, which gave the former Massachusetts governor his second straight win of the primary and caucus season and third overall.

FreedomWorks has long opposed the possibility of a Romney White House, warning last summer that its supporters may stay home in November's general election if Romney is the Republican nominee.

In the early primary and caucus states, Romney polled low among those who self-identified as tea party supporters, while Gingrich drew much of the momentum for his South Carolina primary victory from activists within the grassroots movement.

Recent primaries show the tables have turned. In entrance and exit polls from the Florida and Nevada contests, Romney climbed considerably in support among the tea party base, garnering 39% of the voting bloc in Nevada to Gingrich’s 30%.

Also on the CNN program Sunday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said Romney was gradually making headway among evangelical voters, another conservative bloc.

“They’re warming to him,” Perkins told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “But he still has a long way to go.”

Despite Romney's progress among tea party supporters and social conservatives, Armey said his group would work to elect conservatives to Congress instead of focusing on the presidential race.

“We’ll build a legislative wall,” Armey said. “We’ll either be walling a Republican president in, or walling a Democratic president out.”

Ultimately, however, Armey said he would support Romney if the former governor ends up competing against Obama in the fall.

"We would rather have a Republican president that's not fully the guy we adore wanting our affections than a Democrat president who despises us and covets the affections of our mortal enemies on public policy," he said.

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Filed under: 2012 • Dick Armey • FreedomWorks • Newt Gingrich • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    The far-right-wing nutjobs have 2 goals --- limit women's rights and get rid of President Obama.


    February 5, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Namejkane fl

    Armys a total loser teaparty clown from Texas and should stay there along with delay the other teapublican crook. The only people that listen to these morons are the teaparty bafoons!!!Obama and DEMS in 2012, sorry losers.

    February 5, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. king

    Its amazing how the most conservative of shouts, Obama spend too much! Yet they are putting in a Guy that has the bush trickle down philosophy. The same philosophy that had 2 unpaid wars, Medicare part D, massive expansion of homeland security, and 2 massive tax cuts for the rich. All unpaid for and was given to Obama on the credit card when he took office. This shows that repubs never change.

    February 5, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. Thomas

    Dick Armey and Tom Delay did more to divide and destroy this great country.

    Armey is a Lobbyist, the bottom of my shoes have more respect then Dick Armey.

    February 5, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. HenryB

    Dick Armey again! The master of the Tea Party! I will give him credit for being a total Washington insider who was able to magically build the Tea Party with his Freedom Works and pretend it was grass roots. I cannot give credit to the good people who got suckered into this, not knowing they had been had.

    February 5, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. T'sah From Virginia

    ROTFLMAO – Oh how the Right pivots so easily when they thought they were on the right track in the first place……..Hilarious!!! SC got it wrong this year – IA got it wrong and even though NH got it Right because Romney he will go on to win the nomination, Romney will not win NH in November……..Nor would Romney be the next President.

    Obama 2012

    February 5, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Mr. Dick Armey republicans base is staying at home they don’t like Romney

    1.65 Millions Republicans participated in 2012 Florida primary
    1.95 Millions Republicans participated in 2008Florida primary
    15% dropped

    44315 republicans participated in 2008 Nevada primary
    Nearly 35000 republicans participated in 2012 Nevada primary
    21% dropped

    February 5, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Hawk777

    Bottom line: ABO

    February 5, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Christopher

    "Mortal Enemies" So incredibly stupid. A perfect example of why nothing gets done in this country. We look at our co-workers and our neighbors and our family and friends and instead of seeing decent people who simply have a different view on certain issues and respectfully disagree we see "Mortal enemies" who must be destroyed at all costs. This guy is the personification of stupidity.

    February 5, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Sorensen

    Gingrich, the old, serial, "catholic" adulterer is a lost cause for everybody and a disgrace for America.
    Mr. Armey is just an irrelevant twit.

    February 5, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Bill

    This is exactly the reason why the GOP has lost support over the years. They rather choose 'purity' over 'practical'. This sort of hard-line thinking will get the GOP no where. What makes it more disturbing is that they side with a guy who's the opposite of what they claim to represent. Newt Gingrich is NOT a true conservative, nor is he an outsider. The man is a career politician and a very partisan one at that. If you talk about family value, a staple of conservatism, Newt has re-married three times. If you talk about free from regulations, another core of conservatism, Newt has aligned himself with Nancy Polosi and the George Soros...he even made a commercial with them. If you talk about not using influent for monitory gains, another core of conservatism, Newt used his insider knowledge to make money off Freddie Mac. How can you you claim this guy to be your 'true' conservative barrier? The only negative with Romney is his Romneycare, but one that he said he would correct. However, I think the REAL reason why all these folks are against Romney is primarily due to his Mormon faith. They will never admit it, but deep down I can see their true concerns that a Mormon may be a President.

    February 5, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. jpmichigan

    Romney is a moderate/liberal Republican candidate, trying to buy the Presidency = to how Obama got the Presidency. Santorium has no chance to get the nomination, he is the thorn in the process. Ron Paul is a liberatarian, who floats out in lthe right field with his foreign policies. Gingrich has a pass which even he is not proud of, but his actions in the house as speaker had some positive moments that cannot be denied. The Congressional elites Republicans want to control whom ever is the candidate, just as the Democrats control Obama. Gingrich will not be in that process, so he might just be the one who will stand up for the American people not for the political party.

    February 5, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. MikeH Dick Armey.

    If there is a H3ll, there will be a special place there for this fecal boli of a man.

    February 5, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. tony

    Don't push hard for what is right in this world. GPO supported religion will tell you to shut up and wait passively for a better life in the next. That's why religions get "job creator" tax breaks!

    February 5, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. CatSh

    “We’ll build a legislative wall,” Armey said. “We’ll either be walling a Republican president in, or walling a Democratic president out.”
    There you have it, folks. If you want more of the same stupid deadlock in Congress, vote for a conservative.

    February 5, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. The Unsub

    The reality of the 2012 election is that Democrats/Independents/Republicans/Green/Etc... are just waiting for when and where to vote for Obama this Fall. Obama will win by a landslide. Republican turnout is bleak, and the candidates are flawed. Even Ann "the man" Coulter predicted and I quote, "If we don't run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we will lose." Her words, not mine!

    February 5, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. An Observer

    Armey is a totally bigotted Texas buffoon!

    February 5, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. A former republican

    One good thing is that the Dick Armey has never been accredited as a member of the human race.

    February 5, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. The Left Wing

    To Dick Army:
    You and what army can nominate a presidential candidate you like?

    February 5, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. Annie, Atlanta

    Personally, the whole game is a lost cause for all of us, first. Anyone see the news reports of the billionaire casino owner who backed Gingrich with $5 million from himself and another $5 from his wife? In the district where this man lives in Nevada he was able to dictate where the caucus was going to be held and what time. We have some serious problems, as in "we the people" when money dictates our electoral process.

    Maybe letting supporters pour millions into campaign commercials that we totally ignore since they don't have to be truthful is a start, until we can get the money out of politics, no?

    And what's this with the Koch brothers pledging $60,000,000 (that's million folks) to defeat our President? How many people could Koch Industries employ with that kind of change? Good grief, this is crazy.

    February 5, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. JoseTheWrangler

    "Small government conservative" is utter crap, a con man's cover story. There are only two kinds of people talking about government size: liars who claim they want to shrink it, and realists who recognize that you have to be smart about where and how it is involved. Government has never shrunk. It grew tremendously under Saint Ronald, a fact the Republicans are determined to ignore. It's not about small or large; it's about smart or stupid.

    February 5, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. MDS

    Hey Dick. If tea party folks are running to the Romney camp and they believe he is conservative to the bone, they are either blind, haven't completed their home work or just plain stupid. And I wanted to join the tea party. As for me, I'm going to stick with TWO IF BY TEA.

    February 5, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    It's the Tea Party. They're utterly inconsequential.

    February 5, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Lenny Pincus

    "Conservative grassroots group 'FreedomeWorks." Yeah, a huge wheel like Dick Armey is involved with a grassroots group. What a ridiculous description of one of DC's ultimate insider/powerbrokers.

    February 5, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |