Gingrich: Clinton a ‘real’ president, Obama a ‘pretender’
September 9th, 2012
10:37 AM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich: Clinton a ‘real’ president, Obama a ‘pretender’

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich sought to put a wedge between President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton on Sunday, saying parts of Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention were “eerily anti-Obama.”

“You can take his speech, spin it not very much, and it's actually a condemnation of the fact that Obama learned nothing ... out of the 2010 election,” Gingrich said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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Clinton won high praise for his speech Wednesday in which he rallied convention delegates and made the case for a second Obama term. In his 48-minute address, Clinton defended the president over inheriting a tough economy and said Obama can turn things around in the next four years better than Republicans can.

Gingrich, however, argued the former president was taking subliminal shots at the current president throughout the speech.

“Here's Clinton saying, 'I reformed welfare because I worked with Republicans; you didn't, Mr. Obama.' He didn't say it that way, but think about it: 'I had the longest period of economic growth in history; you didn't, Mr. Obama. I got to four balanced budgets by working with Republicans; you didn't, Mr. Obama.’”

In recent days, Republicans, including GOP nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, have attempted to draw a contrast between the two Democratic presidents, essentially embracing Clinton over Obama because of the economy’s success in the ‘90s.

On Sunday, Romney said Clinton’s speech “elevated” the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"He did stand out in contrast with the other speakers," said Romney in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press.” "I think he really did elevate the Democrat convention in a lot of ways and frankly, the contrast may not have been as attractive as Barack Obama might have preferred if he were choosing who'd go before him and who'd go after him."

Gingrich went further Sunday, saying Clinton’s speech outshone the president last week and his role as a top surrogate “actually shrinks Obama.”

“You have a real president, and then you have this guy who's a pretender,” Gingrich told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Asked if Clinton could help Obama with voters, the former House speaker said the 42nd president could move votes for Obama, but it would not be sustaining.

“I think he can temporarily move votes. I would say the bounce Obama is getting coming out of the convention is 80% Bill Clinton,” Gingrich said. “He is a very popular figure for a very practical reason: The economy worked, people had jobs.”

- CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Newt Gingrich • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. n

    Poor Newt, he has become a joke among jokes. He think that he is still relevant, hasn't been for years. Try as he may, he is not and will never be president material. He will always be on the outside looking through the White House window. Old Newt, The W. C. Fields of politics . . . "The Snake Oil salesman, All he is good for, is gathering lost souls who are dumber then he is and tying them to the roof top of the Romney clown car cage of lies. Why? Because they need those lost sheep to make a sacrifice to their cult god Ayn Rand.

    September 9, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. kathy/Minnesota

    How dare NEWT pass judgement on "ANYONE" I suppose his first two wives thought he was a real "HUSBAND" but sadly they had to find out he was just a "PRETENDER" husband. People in glass houses, Newt.................

    September 9, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. a disgrace but you voted for him

    obama has been the biggest failure in america's history and this november he will lose by the biggest margin in history....FOOL ME ONCE!!!!!

    September 9, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. wanda

    Newt is right, Obama is" THE GREAT PRETENDER" Everything is a pretend fairytale, he doesn't even know the truth anymore or maybe never did ! Sad Case for Americans who he has lead like a flock of sheep that will all be slautered for being so dumb..........

    September 9, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. ram

    Both Gingrich and Romney have shown remarkable cowardice and hypocrisy: instead of facing Clinton's criticism of their party squarely, they thought they could solve their problem by deflecting the criticism onto the very person Clinton was endorsing. If Mr. Clinton wasn't sincere in saying that the president represented the best way forward and the Republicans the worst way to go, why would they praise an insincere speech? and if they think Mr. Clinton meant what he said, what is their answer?

    September 9, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. maltytasker

    Why would anyone believe anything Newt has to say?

    September 9, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    People let 's face the facts, he is right, spin it for what ever way you like, Obama is a empty chair with now new ideas.

    Romney-Ryan the true leaders 2012

    September 9, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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