Amid new focus, Gingrich's ire remains the same
March 28th, 2012
09:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Amid new focus, Gingrich's ire remains the same

Washington (CNN) - Newt Gingrich may have a new political focus, but the focus of his ire appears to be the same.

At various times during a roughly 50-minute appearance at Georgetown University on Wednesday, the Republican presidential candidate re-stated familiar attacks on the news media, President Obama and critics.

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It was Gingrich's first public appearance since news broke that he had dramatically scaled back his presidential campaign.

The speech was light on barbs against his GOP rivals. But at one point, Gingrich did label them as being off their rockers for their response to one of his most controversial ideas.

"I talked about having colonies on the moon, and I talked about the importance of space, and all this stuff. And I just got really ridiculed, including by my two opponents," Gingrich said, "who just went sort of nutso on this thing."

After reiterating the need for bold new space ventures, Gingrich said, "We are surrounded by a news media that is cynical, and by consultants who are cynical, by lobbyists who are cynical.

"They think having big ideas are silly. And they think it's a waste of time."

As billed, the speech was to primarily focus on Social Security reform. But the candidate spent the majority of his address positing other oft-stated conservative positions. For example, Gingrich talked about the ideals of the nation's Founding Fathers, the threats of secularization, the need for energy independence and what he called President Obama's gross mishandling of the nation's economy.

Thirty minutes in, Gingrich began to tackle the entitlement program in earnest.

"According to the Social Security actuary, if we had adopted in 1983 a personal Social Security savings account model, we would today have over $16 trillion in savings accounts," Gingrich said.

"So your generation has a terrific opportunity."

At the end of his speech, the candidate opened the floor to questions. The first one was arguably the harshest.

"Back in high school, I was a janitor ... and, for me, it was embarrassing to be a janitor with all these other rich kids," the questioner began, an apparent reference to Gingrich's previous comments that poor children should be allowed to work as janitors in schools and earn money.

"I did not feel empowered by serving my classmates," the questioner continued. "Why not invest in these kids to work for law firms, hospitals and get paid to get a lot better skills?"

"I'm sorry if you're offended," Gingrich responded. "Both of my daughters worked as janitors at the local Baptist church. And they earned their money and they didn’t think it was demeaning."

As Gingrich spoke, the questioner interrupted a few times, causing a bit of a verbal scuffle.

There was also a candid moment.

While talking about the need for big solutions to the nation's problems, Gingrich acknowledged he'd fallen short in promoting what's best for the country.

"I haven’t done a very good job as a candidate. It is so difficult to communicate big solutions in this country," he said.

"We are in deep trouble as a people. This transcends Republicans, it transcends Democrats, it transcends Obama's personality, it transcends the Republican candidates. Your generation is inheriting a dysfunctional country which cannot communicate with itself and whose political leadership has no ideas to get us back on track. And that's why I decided to run."

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Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. gringo penquista

    Newt is the only human charismatic enough to promote colonies on the moon and still make me (a tax and spend democrat) convinced for five minutes afterwards that I am wrong on every issue I believe in.

    March 28, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. Obama wins

    The reason mr Gringrich is doing so poorly is that one of the Palin family has endorsed him.

    Mr G is on his last stand. All he knows is hate hate hate

    March 28, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  3. Claudia, Phoenix, AZ

    Gingrich talks to people like they are no more than flies on the wall and dirt beneath his feet in an attempt to elevate himself from the scumbag he is. I wouldn't vote for this man if he was the last man standing.

    March 28, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  4. gary

    The entire world is stupid and he is the only person who is smart enough to save it. This person is so full of himself, he should pay the Russians to transport him to the moon and he could be king of his colonies. If people would quit showing up at his psycho events and book signings, hopefully he would go away and never be seen again.

    March 28, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  5. Paul Ernest Show

    Newt is seeking any issue that could resurrect hid dead campaign. Any controversial topic. A desperate Newt seeks an issue but no issue would make itself sensational enough except his final decision to return to Georgia, from hence he came. Goodbye Newt.

    March 28, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  6. RINO Bil

    Attacking the media and blaming the media is so Republican that is it almost a cliche.

    However his comment about a dysfunctional country is right on the mark. What Newt did not say is that a large part od this dysfunctionality was caused by conservatives whose attitude is "my way or the highway." Dems are not evil and Reps are not evil. They both love the U.S., but in different ways. It is too bad for the country that they cannot seer this and put the U.S. first.

    The decline of the United States as a great country that works is well under way.

    March 28, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Great News ,
    I still have a chance to pay $50 for a photo of me and Newt when he visits the zoo here.

    Maybe we could feed the Lamas .

    March 28, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  8. Melo-D

    Maybe we should try to get the budget balanced before we start setting up shop on the moon Newt. Newt went nuts on Obama for talking about using algae as an energy source, saying it was a crack pot idea, but he thinks this moon idea is creditable. Newt do us all a favor and leave quietly.

    March 28, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  9. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that Gingrich has too much bagage and no discipline to be president.

    March 28, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  10. maf

    We are in deep trouble as a people. This transcends Republicans, it transcends Democrats. Your generation is inheriting a dysfunctional country which cannot communicate with itself and whose political leadership has ideas to get us back on track, but the government is unable to function for the betterment of all. Leave out the personalities and the veiled attack on the President and your statement starts to have the beginnings of something!

    March 28, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  11. Max

    Confused & Disgruntled

    This really sound like a very confused and disgruntled old man. Why doesn't he just quit? His days in politics are obviously numbered. Even this fact he's just too blind to see.

    March 28, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  12. TomNPitt

    Newt is so funny! He's just like that other Republican comedian – Rush Lumbaugh. Talking about a dysfunctional country that can't communicate with each other. He created the footprint for this dysfunctionality. He and Limbaugh have promoted such hatred of Liberals. It's been an ulcer that has become a cancer. Reagan was the one who gave those two the idea. They capitalized on it. Now he wants people to feel bad for him and his embarassing presidential run? The real losers in this election at this point is the American public. Newton had landed himself a permanent position on fox; right after sara the hara palen. He'll fit well as her after thought.

    March 28, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  13. Larry L

    We can see now that the liberal media forced the Newt to violate House rules and get censured for unethical conduct. They also forced Newt to cheat on his wife while she fought cancer – while he innocently prosecuted Bill Clinton for the same thing! These same media thugs made the Newtster work as a lobyist for Freddie Mac – in spite of his efforts to kill the program. Those liberal socialists didn't even support Newt after he played the shamed-Republican-trump-card. When he said he was forgiven by Jesus they didn't even believe him! Why?

    March 28, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  14. IDEAS and IDEALS not ideologies

    The real issue is that Newt walk around because he sees the writing on the wall and he's running out of people to blame in the media. He's blaming the current generation, mind you he's talking on a college campus, for the mess he – by extension his generation – created. In this case it took about 15-20 years to materialize. I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. the only thing is that this is not the last we'll see of him. He has 4 years to re-etch a sketch of himself. I hope he suffers worst defeat in 2016.

    March 28, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  15. Ray

    Nero Newt needs his medication increased and he is getting as annoying and boring as Sarah Palin.

    March 28, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  16. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Newt is angry because the rest of the world is out of touch with his fantasies. He is delusional and the sane people just don't get him.

    March 29, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  17. ShiWms Phx AZ

    Newt...Please go away!

    March 29, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  18. Squigman

    Give me a minute to put on my shock face. Who cares?

    March 29, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  19. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    We are indeed saddled with a disfunctional country. But the problem has been caused in large part because the Republicans under George the second started with a balanced budget courtesy of Bill Clinton which they ran into the biggest shortfall in the history of the country. Two wars and a banking system totally out of control and with no checks and balances (Republicanese: free market banking) did not help but Republican fiscal responsibility ignores basic economics.

    If you bring in an income (Taxes) of $1000 a month and you spend $2000 a month, you end up $1000 in the hole every month. Rather than getting more income (Raise taxes) you cut your income (Tax cuts for the rich). Now you are making $800 a month and because of the spending increases (Wars, buyouts of the rich bankers and corporations) you are now spending $2500 a month. Net loss every month is now up to $1700. Continue doing this every month for eight years, hand off the whole mess to the Democrats, claim it is all their fault, demand less income again (Tax breaks for the very rich again) Now that we are four years into Democratic rule, claim the Democrats are the cause of everything, and tell voters Republicans have a secret plan to fix everything if we will just let them reduce taxes on the rich (See above), and hope that the voters are stupid enough to buy into this stuff again.

    March 29, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  20. craig

    "We are in deep trouble as a people. This transcends Republicans, it transcends Democrats, it transcends Obama's personality, it transcends the Republican candidates. Your generation is inheriting a dysfunctional country which cannot communicate with itself and whose political leadership has no ideas to get us back on track. And that's why I decided to run."

    Interesting statement, since he probably has contributed as much to the problem he describes as anyone, while at the same time doing NOTHING to help alleviate it. This is another case where a GOP accidentally slips in a moment of candor and truth, and then immediately hops back to lies, exaggeration, and bombast. Sad that this is one of the best the GOP has to offer. Lots of complaints, but no ideas and no direction beyond anger.

    March 29, 2012 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  21. Bigdawg

    The Neuter is like the Black Knight in The Holy Grail! He has absolutely no chance in hell of winning. He keeps getting body parts lopped off, and still screams 'I'm invincible!" As King Arthur replied, "You're a loonie!"

    March 29, 2012 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  22. Max in AZ

    He is the only person that can save the United States! Whats wrong with you people?

    March 29, 2012 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  23. sgompers

    AH, Newt, Rick, and Sarah. They're not even good at playing the victim. Newt you need a new script, America does'nt like whiners.

    March 29, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |

    Same old turn Social Security over to Wall Street line. Lizard should talk about the Ryan budget before he runs away with his tail tucked between his legs AGAIN.

    March 29, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  25. works4me

    A "man" that can't keep a commitment to was wife, to a marriage, should not be where he is in the polls. He shouldn't even be on the ticket. This says a lot about America. The slimy newt is starting to sound a lot more like Palin every day... everyone else's fault, but mine.

    March 29, 2012 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
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