March 28th, 2012
10:18 AM ET
10 years ago

Top Obama aide calls GOP charges 'despicable'

Washington (CNN) - Deputy Campaign Manager to Obama's re-election bid, Stephanie Cutter, called Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich's backlash over the president's comments on the controversial Trayvon Martin shooting "despicable."

On Wednesday, Cutter told Soledad O'Brien on CNN's "Starting Point" that the Republican candidates should "watch their own words."

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"I think it's abysmal, despicable that people like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are trying to make this a divisive issue," Cutter said.

On Friday, Obama broke his silence on the Florida shooting of the African American teen, shot in February by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

"If I had a son he'd look like Trayvon," said Obama, promising a thorough investigation into the case.

Following Obama's comments, former House Speaker Gingrich brought the political heat on Sean Hannity's radio show when he called Obama's comments "disgraceful," insisting it was not a matter of what the teen looked like. Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, followed suit when talking to conservative radio host Scott Hennen. He accused the president of unnecessarily injecting race into the discussion.

Cutter is not the first Obama official to speak out against the GOP presidential candidates in defense of the president. David Plouffe, Obama's senior adviser, called Gingrich's comments "reprehensible," saying they came from someone who was "clearly in the last throes of his political career."

Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Republicans • Stephanie Cutter
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. c.jordan

    Gingrrich and Santorum are both pathetic.Can anyone imagine either one of them as the President of the United States Of America. How dare they add to the pain that this family is suffering.The GOP has really made the USA a joke to the world,And it is all because we elected a black man.This country is racist and we all need to accept it and deal with it.We cannot get past the fact that we are different in color .I wonder what all the racist are going to do on judgement day when they find out that it is not going to work in the after life and that if they want to go to heaven they will have to accept everyone no matter what color they are. I'm sure there will be some that will go to hell rather than spend eternity with people of color.All I can say to that is do what you have to do.

    March 28, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. brianna

    i think that trayvon was killed unfailrly. Just because he looks suspicious dosn't mean anything. The person who shot him should have waited till police arived to confirm if he was suspicious or not. We now know nothing that happend we cant confirm if the wach gaurd was telling the truth or not.

    March 28, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't understand how Gingrich can call the support of a family and their murdered son "disgraceful." Race can't be excluded in this case totally. I would presume that there is going to be some level of suspicion for quite some time to come.

    Personally, I see fault in two places primarily. The first is the shooter who failed to listen to the 911 dispatcher who said not to follow. The other fault lies with the Florida law that allows people to basically shoot first and ask questions later. "Stand your ground" is looking like an excuse for anyone to shoot anyone else.

    March 28, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Cline

    Of course thats what Obama meant. Its all about race and divisiveness. The Martin shooting is a tragedy no doubt as Zimmerman made the mistake of a lifetime. A stupid guy with a gun and a delinquent kid with multiple expulsions from school proved to be a dangerous mix. Zimmerman is a moron but lets not act like this Martin kid was not troubled.

    March 28, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. george of the jungle

    All the repos running are lying slugs that couldn't run a car wash. Mitt is only good at buying companies and firing people. Some businessman. Go work on your elevator. Rick is mr potty mouth and Newt should schedule his moon trip now and go. He just cut his staff so much for employment. Slimey bunch of wimps, Scary if any of them end up running this country. Obama 2012

    March 28, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    rightytighty wrote:

    Much like his "Police acting dumb" comment, Obama, his media collaberators and their public supports have all rushed to judgement without bothering to reasearch the known facts of the case.
    You don't get it. There is no rush to judgement over the fact that the police didn't bother to research the known facts of the case. They simply ignored and failed to collect any facts. That much is clear. That is what the outrage is all abourt.

    March 28, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. once upon a horse

    maybe if the president had a son he would look like Rick or Newt? I don't recall Obama bringing RACE up at all in his comments and actually he was avoiding doing so. He was trying to comfort a grieving family and I think it is Newt and Rick that should be more sensitive to this issue. It is indeed a sad situation and should NOT be a right versus left issue at all. Yet I see now that leaks have come out against the late young Martin, right wingers seem to be more interested in this case, support for the suspected shooter is now coming out on their side and like they seem to prefer to do, trash the victim. They are giving more focus now to the ignorant "new" Black Panthers bounty than the other parts of the case. Of course that is all a company like FoxNews needed to jump into the fray, an angle that their viewers could support. Pitiful.

    March 28, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. ja

    the pres can't say it, but i can the laws in america are supposed to be color blind, due to human frailities it is not, and it applies to the highest court in the land, example the meth epidemic

    March 28, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. The-Least-Unelectable

    Here comes the job creator. As governor, Rmoney created a total of 51,000 jobs in Massachusetts in 4 years.

    March 28, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Let's just translate Netwered, shall we: "The POTUS is black and you hate that...please be angry, resentful and hateful based on your underlying irrational feelings about having a black POTUS."
    You're nothing if not consistent.

    March 28, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. kevin

    Put a fork in this guy. He is done. Way to pick a winner Georgia. Note to the South..."Don't make us come down there again!' signed North

    March 28, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. rightytighty

    -> They simply ignored and failed to collect any facts. That much is clear. That is what the outrage is all abourt.

    No, the facts are in the police report, and only now are they coming out in the media..., long after the printed inflamed retoric. That is where the real outrage should be pointed...

    March 28, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. ddt

    Probably the President should have said, if he had a son he would look like Newt!! how about that?

    March 28, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Claudia, Phoenix, AZ

    Newt is guilty of using "code words" when referring to race and that's disgraceful and Newt thinks Americans have forgotten. Newt is a hypocrite from his heart and certainly has no empathy for anyone including his ex-wife who had cancer and he walked away from her for another woman. Slime ball.

    March 28, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. king

    hey what white or black man would notice a creepy person following him, without a uniform on, and wouldnt be concerned. i know alot of white guys that would be very upset if they saw a black man or a hispanic following them. they probably would shoot them if they come up on them aggressively. come on folks their was a crime committed, and their shoud be an investigation, no matter who the involved people were. its common sense and courtesy

    March 28, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Sniffit

    "Meanwhile, as Rome burns, Nero fiddles."

    Says the guy who promotes those who wish for noting more and nothing less than to throw gas on the fire.

    March 28, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    once upon a horse
    They are giving more focus now to the ignorant "new" Black Panthers bounty than the other parts of the case.
    i agree with your entire post. The Black Panther's bounty is indeed Inthe "two wrongs" category, however, maybe it will result in the police finally arresting Zimmerman if only to protect him. This whole case has been a debacle. The "Stand Your Ground Law" is just NOT applicable here as Zimmerman PURSUED this young man even after the police dispatcher instructed him NOT to. How can you feel "threatened" as he asserts if you're doing the pursuing? Additionally, at what point in time did Treyvon's punch this man? Would you punch someone who is pointing a gun at you? Not likely. Treyvon's girlfriend was on the phone with him until he was shot, she heard no fight, no scuffle only Treyvon asking his murderer " Why are you following me?", then him screaming our of fear and the fatal shot. Too mcany questions for this Florida town not to even arrest this man. Too many questions. It would've been swept under the proverbial rug had it not been brought to the media's attention.
    Do the right thing Florida.

    March 28, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Fair is Fair

    Let's just translate Netwered, shall we: "The POTUS is black and you hate that...please be angry, resentful and hateful based on your underlying irrational feelings about having a black POTUS."
    You're nothing if not consistent
    He's as consitent as you are predictable.

    March 28, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. Obama's Snake Oil on Sale - Git yur lies and deceit here!!

    Yeah, these guys need to keep there noses OUT of my publicity events. Let them find their own pseudo-racial attacks to twist and turn into a political publicity event. I've got this down to a science at this point. Takes years and years of training as a community organizer!

    March 28, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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