Gingrich reveals discussions with rivals, their 'agreement'
March 30th, 2012
09:28 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich reveals discussions with rivals, their 'agreement'

Green Bay, Wisconsin (CNN) – One day after it was revealed that Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney recently held a "secret" meeting, the former House speaker publicly divulged the "essence" of private conversations he's had with Romney and Rick Santorum.

On Friday, Gingrich did not specifically answer what he and Romney discussed in a private meeting last weekend in Louisiana. Instead, Gingrich told reporters at his Green Bay, Wisconsin, headquarters that he, Romney and Santorum have chatted and have made a broad political agreement.

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"We talked about lots of things," Gingrich responded when CNN asked directly about Gingrich-Romney meeting.

"Look, I talked - in the last two weeks - with Santorum at length. I talked with Romney at length. The three of us have a general agreement: we want to beat Barack Obama."

Gingrich continued: "If Santorum is the nominee I will support him and Romney will support him. If Romney is the nominee, Santorum and I will support him. If I end up being the nominee, both Romney and Santorum will support me. The fact is that we are committed to defeating Barack Obama and we've known each other a long time. And we want to make sure that however this thing comes out in the end that the Republican nominee defeats Barack Obama."

"That's the essence of the conversations we've had," the candidate continued.

News of the Gingrich-Romney get together, previously shrouded in secrecy, was first reported by the Washington Times. Since it's revelation, Gingrich had been mostly mum about even having the meeting - and what the two Republican presidential candidates discussed.

For example, CNN pressed the former House speaker during a plane ride to Milwaukee, Wisconsin hours after the story emerged.

"No comment," Gingrich repeatedly responded.

Just a day later, Gingrich was ready to talk.

After his comments at his Green Bay headquarters, Gingrich spoke to a small crowd at a restaurant across from Lambeau Field - the famous Packers playground. The candidate again alluded to the "agreement" between himself and his rivals.

"[Romney] may eventually get to 1,144 delegates. If he does, I will support him just as I would support Rick Santorum because defeating Barack Obama has to be our number one goal," Gingrich said.

"By the same token, I am convinced that if Mitt [Romney] does not get to 1,144 and we end up having a situation where we have an open convention and I end up being the nominee, I know that Mitt would then support me as Rick Santorum would. Or if Santorum became the nominee, we'd support him."

Romney has also spoken about conversations with Gingrich.

During a radio interview with conservative host Sean Hannity, the former Massachusetts governor said: "You know Sean, we're pretty much in regular communication between the two campaigns. There's nothing new, nothing really exciting other than we keep a friendly discourse open in part because we're all on the same team. We all do want to see Barack Obama leave the White House as soon as possible."

Both men are vying for support ahead of the Wisconsin contest on Tuesday. Though Gingrich badly trails Romney in a fresh poll, the former House speaker still attempted to rally supporters towards helping him achieve a respectable showing.

Much of it involved apparent pandering to Wisconsinites over one of their greatest loves: their 13-time Super Bowl champion Packers team.

"I wanted to come here partially because, how could you come to Wisconsin and not come right across the street from Lambeau [Field]," Gingrich told the crowd at Kroll's West Restaurant.

"And I wanted to come here and say to the people of "Titletown, U.S.A." that we ought to think of America in exactly the same competitive way. We ought to decide that America is going to roll up its sleeves and compete everywhere. We ought to have the same drive to excellence for the whole country – that it is doable, it is possible and that with your help, next Tuesday, which Callista [Gingrich] and I will be very grateful for, we will do better in the primary than the news media expects."

Also see:

Kerry rallies democratic supporters by warning of 'swift boat' redux

Romney, Gingrich held private meeting

Bush asks about son's endorsement

RNC reserves vital cash for eventual GOP nominee

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Randy, San Francisco

    No time for secret agreements to play "nice". If Gingrich really wants to stop the Romney train, he needs to stay the course and hit Romney hard.

    March 30, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. G

    President Romney in 2012. Just the thought of it creeps me out.

    March 30, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Former Republican, now an Independent

    There is enough republican super pac and corporate money for these crooks to divide up after the election is bought and paid for.

    March 30, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  4. gwats

    This only thing Gingrich needs is prison stripes.

    March 30, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  5. sara

    I guess Newton Leroy will get his "peons", put them together with Ricky's "peons" to counter the landslide Obama is going to give him. So that "trending" on Willard's poking at Adelson, means nothing, CNN. The "Fat Cat" wants in. Willard loves him some "Fat Cats". He'll just spread it around to other "Fat Cats".... by means of "private contractors" when he go to war with Iran and Syria. They want IN. Didn't Romney during the Olympics say "we'll go where ALL the money is, the government"!

    March 30, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  6. amusicluvr

    NOW The Three stooges are deciding to play nice? Much too late. They have each destroyed the other's chances too much. No matter which is the GOP nominee, the bulk of Independent voters-who will swing the election-have alraedy decided against them all, and will vote for Obama. Too many attack ads convinced too many voters that none of the GOP crowd is worth having as POTUS.

    March 30, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. Larry L

    I still can't get past the idea that this slimy, dishonorable weasel of a man has supporters! I can only find one logical solution – the folks who spend their lives listening to the Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck hate club must be so brainwashed they'd prefer the devil to an African American Democrat. But why wouldn't have picked one of the other right-wing Republican clowns? Okay... Romney is a Mormon, Ron Paul is an old anarchist, and Santorum is crazier than a $#!+ house rat, but so what? You were willing to vote for Newt Gingrich! How can that make sense to anybody who knows his record of dishonesty and disloyalty?

    March 30, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Secret ?

    Mitt Romney wouldn't pay Newt $50 for a photo !

    March 30, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  9. l.lewis

    Thats pretty sad.......The whole reason is to beat the President....Not economic growth, not middle class tax cuts, not healthcare reform, not oil and gas, at which no President can control, no border control, the only thing they are concern with is beating the President...that just shows you who have the morals to run this country!!...Mr. President keep doing your job!!...2012.2012.2012.2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 30, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  10. texan

    Surprise !!--– They agree that Obama be defeated and the Repubs returned to power like the Bush years. There is lots of corporate $$$$ out there for the taking.....................

    March 30, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  11. Nobodies Pon

    Bewt go home already you are done. done i said.

    March 31, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  12. Steven Colo

    Oh, wow! A Gingrich endorsement! Romney can put it next to the Trump endorsement, filed under "endorsements from rich egomaniacs that cheated on multiple wives."

    March 31, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. JimAR

    One thing you have to say of Newt: He is no quitter. Oh, wait, he did quit as Speaker of the House, and he did quit as Congressman from GA. So, I guess he did sort of quit on the people who voted him into office. So, maybe he is a quitter. Hmmmm? One thing you have to say of Newt: He sticks to his principles. Oh, wait, he used to be a Lutheran, and then he was a Southern Baptist, and now he is a Catholic. Hmmm? One thing you have to say of Newt: He is a real family man. Oh, wait . . . .

    March 31, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  14. geggyg

    I hope Gingrich and the repubs realise that the Packers are a community run and owned team with major involvement bythe (city) government So govt involvment in a business isnt always a disaster

    March 31, 2012 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  15. Ken

    Romney sure loves those secret back room meetings! Who called who?

    March 31, 2012 05:21 am at 5:21 am |

    Wait until Tampa in August. We'll see.

    March 31, 2012 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  17. s

    Dream on Dream on

    March 31, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  18. Just Say No to Flipper

    I'm sure they've all been negotiating their price to participate in Karl Rove's Plan to Elect the Next Neocon Robot. This past week has been great political theater, as Rove has decided this is the best time to give Rmoney one last shove down the throats of the GOBP's unwilling rank and file voters who do not want another GWB leading their party.

    March 31, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  19. honeybe

    Absolutely no mention of the other guy running for president – and for people who pooh pooh the claim of a media blackout – you are looking at it.

    March 31, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  20. GonzoinHouston

    I don't doubt that they have had these conversations. I don't doubt that they made this gentleman's agreement. I also don't doubt that all three of them were lying and none of them believed the others at the time. All decisions will be made in Tampa. They will support Romney, as promised, IF they get what they want. They will all want something in Tampa. Newt will want a prime-time speech, and he'll probably get it. Santorum may want the VP slot, and may get it as well. The TP's and the Christian Taliban are going to want major policy commitments, and will be watching Romney very carefully all through the campaign. Who wants what and who can deliver what and for how much? That's the real action at the convention; the dealmaking will be so fast and furious that the NYSE will pale by comparison.

    March 31, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  21. GOP Observer

    I feel much better about Gingrich talking secretly to Mitt Romeny rether than Obama talking secretly to the Russian President.

    March 31, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  22. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Uh... What's wrong with having a number one goal of doing what's best for the country? If THAT was your stated number one goal, I could at least respect you. But of course, if you actually believed in a number one goal of doing what was best for the country, you'd all drop out.

    What a bunch of pinheads!!

    March 31, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  23. GI Joe

    He's always been a loser.

    And he's backing a loser.

    March 31, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. 12genamerican

    Do we really want a president that would sell out a post in our government to a long time Washinton insider wheeler and dealer? This more telling then the etch a sketch thing.. If newt is in Romney's government then he will not have my vote


    March 31, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Blindersoff

    Unfolding right before our very eyes America . . . The big republican con. Etch-A-Sketch away all the negative things that each candidates said about each other. From core-less flip-flopping, I just want to be the president Romney, to, You all are going to hell, brimstone and fire Santurm, to except for me, Newt, for I'm am a new creation, so pay no attention to that crook behind the curtain. You can't help but laugh! Our mission is to beat President Barack Obama at any cost . . . Mission impossible. Period. What a bunch of clowns.

    March 31, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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