August 1st, 2012
08:17 AM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich backs Romney foreign trip, talks conventions

(CNN) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich defended controversial remarks made by presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney while overseas and said, while he may not be speaking, he will have a major role at the Republican National Convention.

Gingrich, appearing on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" on Wednesday, said he doesn't think Romney made a mistake in Israel. Gingrich felt that Romney was telling a difficult truth when he connected cultural differences to economic success at a high-dollar fundraiser in Jerusalem earlier this week.

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Romney, who has since clarified the comments following backlash from top Palestinians leaders, said the higher per capita wealth in Israel indicates that the country is accomplishing more economically than its neighbors, namely the Palestinians. Romney now says the remarks were not meant to criticize the Palestinians.

"I think the comments about culture were right, and I wish the elites of this nation had the courage to look at the United Nations refugee camps and realize what an anti-human disaster those refugee camps are, how much they have been breeders of terrorism, how fundamentally wrong their design is and how much we have done a disservice to the people of Palestine and the Palestinians by allowing them to be subjected to that government-run, totally inappropriate structure," said the former Republican presidential contender. "So there I hope Gov. Romney will stick to his guns, and let's have the argument."

Gingrich recognized the former Massachusetts governor's stumbles in England but insisted that overall Romney's trip was a success.

"Well look, I think Gov. Romney had a very good visit to Israel; he had a very good visit to Poland. England obviously didn't work out quite as well because of some comments that I think he was making as a guy who'd run the Winter Olympics, and it didn't go over so well," said Gingrich, referring to Romney's comments while overseas expressing concern for the organization and preparedness of the London Olympic Games, calling aspects of the preparations "disconcerting."

"But I think that the visit to Israel and the visit to Poland were very effective and drew a very real contrast between (President) Obama's policies, which have been largely anti-Israeli and anti-Polish, and where Romney would be, which would be returning to a classical American friendship with both Israel and Poland," Gingrich said.

Gingrich also weighed in on the Democratic National Convention speaker lineup, saying he thinks it was a risky choice for Obama to be entered into nomination by former president Bill Clinton, given the politician's status as a symbol for the Democratic Party and his general popularity.

"It's going to drive home how big the differences are," Gingrich said.

"President Clinton could work in a bipartisan way; President Obama can't," said Gingrich, continuing to highlight what he said are significant differences in leadership between the two Democrats. "So I think having Bill Clinton there is going to remind people of having a Democrat they used to like and may, in fact, shrink Obama by comparison."

As for his own speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in August, Gingrich doubts it.

"I will have a fairly big role at the conventions, but I'm fairly comfortable not speaking and I'm fairly comfortable maybe it's time for the new generation of Republicans," he said. "We have so many bright, young new Republicans around the country that I think we really want to make sure that we maximize their appearance in prime time and show people what a diverse party we are."

Included on Gingrich's list of fresh GOP faces were South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott, Florida Rep. Allen West and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Gingrich has no choice to but to offer up the campaign's spin on the trip. He thinks that he can be VP.

    Mitt Romney is a salesman, not a statesman.

    August 1, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    ...and who should care what comes out of YOUR bloated mouth? Of course you're going to defend the man you said was unfit to go against You and Sanctimonious Santorum will be seeing your quotes about his lying, elitist, and vulture capitalist persona brightly on TV screens and radio ads. I can just see Flip trying to spin his way out of those.."that's not what they were saying. It's out of context"....blah blah blah

    August 1, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    "President Clinton could work in a bipartisan way; President Obama can't," said Gingrich, continuing to highlight what he said are significant differences in leadership between the two Democrats.
    "Our top priority is to make Pres. Obama a one term president." Sen. Minority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell.
    "No compromise. We will not compromise on our values." House Speaker, Republican John Boehner.
    When asked at a Republican presidential debate whether or not they would accept a compromise of 10:1 on spending cuts to revenue increases, all eight of the leading candidates immediately raised their hands to indicate "No."

    Newt Gingrich is still in the business of making misleading statements by cherry picking the facts. By his own words, his only goal is to get Pres. Obama out of office.

    August 1, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. John

    Mitt Romney make a mistake every where he when. This man has no Business running for President, And the bad thing Is most of you Republican know It

    August 1, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Strategic Bob

    He won't be speaking? That's good news for the country. We have heard more than enough from this egomaniacal gasbag. His important role? Maybe checking tickets at the door...

    August 1, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Well, if Newt thinks Mittens did well, that is good enough for . . .Adelson. Most thinking people know that Mittens created more tension than he should have. Mittens is getting antsy about starting a new war. KMA Mittens.

    August 1, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  7. Thomas

    You're absolutely right Newt! Instead of housing refugees in camps we should allow those privileged child refugees to work under slave labor conditions in the US!

    August 1, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. Marty, FL

    No amount of Newt spin and lies changes the fact Romney's foreign trip was an unbelievable disaster.

    The Romney campaign sadly broke protocol beyond waters edge, insulted our closest British allies at the Olympics, irresponsibly provoked a volatile situation in the Middle East, and disrespected the Holy site in Poland. It was not presidential.

    August 1, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  9. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Well of course, this coming from a guy who wnats poor kids to be janitors despite child labor laws; not suprised he would side with Mitt the Twitt's culture gaffe.
    Well then Willard should allow Ann to experience the dignity of work and have her grab a mop and get after it at a local school.

    August 1, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Newt needs to take Gorka's advice and "Shove it!" Mittens has more dirty secrets than the CIA. KMA Mittens.

    August 1, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. Dumbpolitics

    I think the lizard has a forked tongue. He is not an American. I think we need an investigation to find others like him in our goverment. They need to be kicked out of our country. It's for the good of the real Americans.

    August 1, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. 1byrd

    With friends like Newt.......

    August 1, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  13. Joan

    If Romney becomes president, how could he now ever be a major broker in a peace process between Israel and Palestine? You can't be a constructive mediator if you have already alienated one of the sides. Romney may have single handedly set back the peace process significantly which is a terrible shame. The Israel-Palestine dispute is one of the major causes of unrest in the whole area and until it is solved and the wounds start to heal, there will never be any kind of peace in the region. Right now Israel seems to have the same attitude as the extreme Republicans in the US Congress and that is "it's my way or the highway". There has to be some compromise on both sides if anything is ever going to be accomplished.

    August 1, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. Doug in NYC

    His "Major Role" at the convention will be the janitor so he can work off his campaign debt.

    August 1, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  15. v_mag

    I think Gingrich must have been visiting his colony on Mars during the trip. Otherwise, he would recognize what a disaster it was. That is, if Gingrich were a normal person. Which he's not.

    I'm surprised that Gingrich isn't a little jealous that Rob-money stole his sugar daddy, Sheldon Adelson.

    August 1, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Wake up people

    Oh Grinchy.... I was wondering where you've been hiding.... Trying to stay away huh but your pimp told you to get that butt out in the street and support that idiot that you hate. We understand Grinchy, you are in need of a job.....

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 1, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |