Gingrich: Clinton a ‘real’ president, Obama a ‘pretender’
September 9th, 2012
10:37 AM ET
8 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. Karl Jonas

    And we care what this bloviator says, because... why?

    He's the one that created the current "my way or the highway" Republican obstructionism and he talks about working across the aisle? BS.

    September 9, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. Pete

    Gingrich,a wanne be has been,right blow hard.Been trying so hard,for so long,give up Newty,your pics didn't sell,neither did your career.You're just a washed up corrupt politician that is getting what he deserved,you screwed people in the past and karma is repaying yah,so quit crying ,go home!!

    September 9, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. John

    Obama soon will be a two time president something you will never achieve Gingrich. You are a footnote in the dustbin of history. You are not worthy to carry his water......

    September 9, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. JT

    Well, Newt, since you brought it up....

    September 9, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Joey

    This guy is useless, after calling your own candidate a lier and than became his #1 backside kisser for money, what you say can not and will not be trusted, you are as much a failure as Romney!

    September 9, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Dcjim1

    A has been who never was....go back to the buffet table and fight with Rush over the last dinner roll.

    September 9, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Why should anyone listen to a retread political loser with no credibility or character like Gingrich?

    September 9, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Tony

    The "real" president is campaigning on Obama's behalf. Republicans' problem is that in Romney, they don't have a "real" candidate.

    September 9, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    Newt is saying Clinton is real president that mean GOP in big trouble

    GOP problem is Romney Campaign , Ohio State GOP disagreeing with Romney ad, Florida GOP unhappy with Romney Campaign after the convention they didn’t do enough

    September 9, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. rla

    Obama made that point to Americans over the last four years-- Nothing done except partisan policies and no skill at compromise- Give the democratic congress credit there also– think Reid and Pelosi

    September 9, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Newtie, it's over. Has been ever since you hit the airwaves with your nasty personality and snarly comments. You reminded America just how awful the Republican party can be ... how low they will go ... and how very little they think of the average hard working American.

    You brought back to our minds 8 years of stalled government during your tenure, and reminded us that this is exactly what Republicans are doing now with the Obama Administration ... stalling government legislation (and thus world economic recovery) for political gain.

    In fact, you remind us just how shallow the GOP is. And hateful. And pandering. Mitt Romney now wants to tout his faith as to why he got into politics. Yet, as with you ... it is his vulture capitalism, his actions during his Bain days, his actions during the primaries, his actions during the national campaigning ... that are showing through. A bit of advice. If one is TRULY living by faith, one never needs to remind others that they are living through faith ... it shows in ways a true believer can see and understand without the pomp and ceremony of "look at me, how Godly I am".

    Faith is not a suit you put on in the morning and take off before bed. It is there 24/7. Either you have it, or you don't.

    September 9, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. bcarreiro

    dont hate, appreciate that a former president is backing this one with one vision in mind...UNITY.

    September 9, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Kia

    How dare Gingrich say that??? We remember when he was a destructive obstructionist Republican when Clinton was in he's trying to do the same thing to Obama!!

    September 9, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. JJ

    Republicans know that Clintons speech was excellent so instead of trying to discredit it, which they cannot. They are trying to change the words. Clinton said that Obama tried to work with the Republicans but couldn't because the Republicans would rather make Obama a 1 term president than improve the economy. This is just republican spin thats not going to appeal to the independents.

    All it does is give more power to Clinton, who is now on the campaign trail for Obama.

    September 9, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Anonymous

    The problem with Newt is that he has not yet recovered from the shock of the 2008 elections. Also Obama has got a position in this country that he craved for so long to no avail.

    September 9, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. bcarreiro

    wheres your reference:-)

    September 9, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. onlyfacts

    It's time this low-life of a human being joins Palin on the list of, you had your chance and you blew it, has-been politician want-to-be's. By the way Palin, how's that hope and change worked out for ya? I here your bank account has millions more than it did in 07.

    September 9, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Anonymous

    I am a "real" American and I will be voting for a "real" president who has served his country well these past 4 years.

    Obama 2012.

    September 9, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. Townie

    One thing that your new friend Mr. Romney will never be: a president!

    September 9, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. rs

    Pretty funny coming from Mr. Gingrich- who has failed multiple times at even becoming his party's candidate. It is almost as funny as Mr. Romney's charge of 'no new ideas'- he is running the disasterous GW Bush playbook. Ahhhh, Republican deceit and denial.

    September 9, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. sonny mosley

    Maybe newt can land a job as school custodian

    September 9, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Terri

    It's great to see so many people posting here are DEMS -more and more dems less and less REPUBS – that is the way this election is going to go!!! Sorry Newtie – you are a lost cause and can't continue to lie on our president!

    September 9, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. Alex

    I agree Clinton was a great president

    The person who brought Clinton's administration to standstill by spending Millions and Millions of Dollars of tax payers money on useless Monica Lewisky case was My dear Newt and other republicans.

    Newt had affair with other lady while he was married but but he doesn't come under same rules

    Think about it!! how my politicians have affairs – they found nearly all the republicans who were critical of Bill Clinton – had similar hidden affair history

    September 9, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Susan Reaney

    Newt's exactly correct, Clinton WAS sending a message against Obama.

    Clinton: "He has laid the foundations for of a NEW successful modern economy, a shared prosperity. And if you renew the Presidents contract, you will feel it."

    Clinton: "My Fellow American's, all of us in this grand hall and all of you watching at home; When we vote in this election, we will be deciding what kind of country we want to live in. If you want a winner talk all, you're on your own society, you should support the Republican ticket; but if you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, a we're all in this together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden"

    Meaning; you can choose a Society of a FREE REPUBLIC; a Government for The People and BY the People OR you can choose a "shared Society" of Government, A Socialist Government BY the Government and for the Government...Socialism.

    OH YES, Newt is exactly right, President Clinton was sending a message to the People and it came through LOUD AND CLEAR!

    September 9, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Andie

    The old blow hard conveniently forgets when his Republican congress shut the government down. Way to work together.

    September 9, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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