May 21st, 2012
10:35 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich: Bain is fair game, but Democrats best avoid it

(CNN) - Having levied his own criticisms of Mitt Romney's background leading the private equity firm Bain Capital, Newt Gingrich has a warning for President Barack Obama's campaign: the issue is fair game, but be wary.

"We found out when we got in a fight with Mitt Romney over this that it didn't work," he said Monday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," after an Obama surrogate on Sunday called political discourse on both sides of the aisle "nauseating."

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The surrogate, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, called out his own party's criticism of Bain's record under and after Romney's tenure at its helm.

Gingrich said Booker "described what I think is a big reality for him as the Mayor of Newark, that that free enterprise system has been creating jobs, paying taxes, improving his city."

Romney's work at Bain is open for inspection as part of his record, Gingrich said, but Democrats may best stay away from it, lest they be seen as critical of the free market.

"There are things you can legitimately look at in Bain Capital," Gingrich said. "I think there are things you can legitimately look at in anyone's record, including Mitt Romney's record."

The former House speaker made Romney's record with the firm central to his campaign's criticism of the former Massachusetts governor, and the super PAC supporting him featured it prominently in television advertisements.

"I would just say that if Governor Romney would like to give back all of the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to listen to him," Gingrich said while campaigning.

Gingrich, who now supports Romney as the alternative to reelecting Obama, said he sees no hypocrisy in his support of Romney. In his interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, he primarily stuck to his own political analysis of Bain-related criticisms of Romney.

"One thing we discovered we could never make clear an attack on a particular case, and Romney's ability to say no this is about free enterprise" he said. "And the average American looked up and said, 'it's about free enterprise.' And it turned out that particular argument simply doesn't work."

Also see:

Political jabs are 'nauseating,' mayor says

Gingrich is millions in the hole

Boehner and Pelosi say they feel good heading into November

Axelrod: Fund-raising pitch cited Wright threat to combat super PACs

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    Gingrich won SC no his advice to democrats is avoid wow, democrats are playing the bain game in home ground its working

    May 21, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  2. sayer

    Just because you couldn't make it work, doesn't mean the president can't. Watch and learn, Newt. He's taking a different angle without attacking free enterprise. With free enterprise, you have winners and losers. Being president you have to look out for everyone's interest.

    May 21, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  3. 2020

    EVERY TIME Newt Gingrich talk, you know he bite his own tongue.

    May 21, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  4. The California Gal

    The only reason that It did not work for Newt because of "Newt's Baggage".

    May 21, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  5. acer1234

    ...Who cares what the Grinch says anymore?

    May 21, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  6. Jack

    But what Romney & Bain represent is what is worse of the free market system – corporate greed at expense of others, just caring about own bank balances while killing jobs and ruining people's lives.

    May 21, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  7. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    the Mayor Booker comments remind me of when Newt first said what he really felt about the Ryan plan and after he said it he was taken to the woodshed by the far right and made to walk it back so to speak. But even with that the seed of doubt has been planted. All Booker did was create an add for Priebus and his croonies. One thing I do agree with Newt is that the Dems may go to the well to much with this..they need another backup form of attack.

    May 21, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is weird how fast they change their tune when they drop out of the race. Does that make their critizism any less valid? I would think that if it is based on facts, then these points should be used again.

    May 21, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  9. Chredon

    Well, Newt, it might not have worked for you, but I think Obama will be able to get a lot of positive yardage out of it. In the primary, Romney was trying to sell himself as a pro-business social conservative, so your criticism of Bain didn't hit at the point he was trying to make. Now, Romney is trying to paint himself as a job-creator, so his history of laying people off is not only fair game, it works against the portrait he's trying to construct of himself.

    May 21, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  10. PTNY

    “I would just say that if Governor Romney would like to give back all of the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to listen to him,” Gingrich said while campaigning in December.

    Enough said, thank you Newt!

    May 21, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  11. Lee

    Obama's sheep don't like free enterprise or prosperity so I don't think that is true. Obama wants to turn us into Europe and half the country agrees evidently so no matter how successful Bain was at creating the Staples of the world they hate it. America is at a turning point and it could go either way. The way of Europe like the Statist and Chief wants or the limited government model like the founders of country believed it should be.

    May 21, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  12. Larry L

    We want advice from a man on his third wife and who just failed to be a serious candidate? Really?

    May 21, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  13. Jenny Hurley

    A couple of months ago I saw some people on TV say that when Romney bought out their company that he first fired all
    the employees and then hired them back at much lower wages. How can the middle class live with lower wages than they get today? There are other reports on the Internet regarding his buyouts and the effects of the workers.

    May 21, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  14. B

    Romney is going to have to give a better explanation then "it's about free enterprise" once all of his unscrupulous business deals as CEO of Bain Capital are exposed to the whole nation. Romney needs to be exposed for the fraud he is.

    May 22, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Gingrich called Romney a liar,a vulture capitalist and a moderate from Massachusetts. Now we are supposed to forget all of that and vote for quote"The worst person in the country to put up against Obama" unquote. That was a Santorum quote. All of a sudden Romney`s this great job creator and he understands the economy. Republicans will say anything when they are desperate to gain power. Just like when Gingrich promised $2.50 gas if you elect him. I guess he won`t work his magic powers to make that happen now. Romney lies about the lies he lied about.

    May 22, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  16. Marcuscassius

    What a shame that Americans can't see that ripping off communities and raping companies isnt the same as growing jobs.Romney is a pirate that steals what he wants and spin spin spins.

    May 22, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  17. chuck weidemann

    Newt was preaching to deaf ears in the primaries. The is the general elections....whole different ball game. Romney made money for his investors....that was his job! If a few people lost jobs or had a lifetime of working for a pension go down the bad that's capitalism!!! Not in the job description he is seeking now and the damage he would do with his Bain brain would be much more far reaching....not a good idea!!! Fire him!!!

    May 22, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  18. mk1

    I hope Democrats use Gingrich's own words when referencing Bain and Romney's part in it.

    May 22, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  19. Desmond, a Canadian

    But that was because Mr. "Grinch" is a piece of work!

    May 22, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  20. Thomas

    Newt is in the whole for a few million.
    Newt Gingrich called rival Mitt Romney a liar on CBS' “Early Show” ... calling Romney “somebody who will lie to you to get to be president,

    Mitt Romney: I don't know what I said, but I stand by it, whatever it was ?

    America needs leaders with such strong ideals and commitment !

    This election is not about truth , it's about money !

    May 22, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  21. Marry

    Nauseating is the GOP spin that exactly what brings down the middle class – namely „vulture capitalism“ should be the future model an American President “Romney” will promote. It brings you into what to expect from Mitt Romney = Catering to the “1%” cutting taxes for them and giving them all the advantages with their lobbying power and Mitt Romney that supports that because he (and his 5 sons) will profit from that directly and let to the “99%” pay for it.
    That is the GOP and Mitt Romney: Nothing to offer to you and the country – but all to gain for themselves from your vote! Nice…

    May 22, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  22. 0rangeW3dge

    Pardon, but why is it better to let a businessman, successful or otherwise, to run the Government?
    It is certainly NOT obvious to me.
    Governments are not run-for-profit enterprise, and definitly not venture capitalists. How would that fit as a desirable qualification for the office of the Presidency?
    I think it's false advertising, trying to slip one by you there.

    May 22, 2012 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  23. Iamnotfooled

    It did not work for Gingrich, because he was not liked. It will work for President Obama who is the warrior of the Middleclass and poor. Romney still earns off of Bain Capital. Romney will turn America into the playground of the rich.(his buddies).

    May 22, 2012 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  24. Donkey Party

    Exposing Willard Romneys's involvement with Bain isn't an attack on free-enterprise, just as it isn't a "character assassination" against Romney. Please media, stop allowing the GOP to control (lie about) the narrative.

    May 22, 2012 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  25. Blindersoff

    No Mr. Speaker, it wasn't what you said about Bain and Romney, it was who said it . . . A sleaze bag in a bucket, flawed of any redeeming quality. A snake in the grass, a self absorbed, pompous, arrogant, "I'm smarter than they are, colony on the moon" Joke! And now, you are campaigning for your boot lick. Look at you, have you any shame?

    May 22, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
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