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. w l jones

    We all get old one day and lose our barren.

    September 9, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Ann

    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!!!"

    And your point is? It only proves that more Dems than Repubs have nothing else to do!

    September 9, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Susan Reaney

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

    Coffee up my nose, Susan Reaney. How absurb can you get? Thanks for playing, though.

    [ still laughing at your comment .... ]

    September 9, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Sandy


    Obama 2012!

    September 9, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. dreucalypt

    Funny that Newt didn't speak so highly of President Clinton when he was president.

    September 9, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. ST

    One is "real" and the other one is the "pretender"! Gee, Gingrich! Did they take different oaths???

    September 9, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Alex

    Clinton passed the 1993 Budget that helped to turn 300 billions deficit left to him by 12 yrs of Reagan and Bush I into 1 trillions surplus with ZERO republican vote, none from the house, nor from the senate. This is how Republican "helped" this Country. And, there was NO republican vote for the Obamacare this time. Same old, same old. They will sing the praise for the Obamacare later just like the praise they sing for President Clinton now.

    September 9, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Thomas

    I love this , this is the best Newt logic yet !

    Newt did everything he could to impeach Bill Clinton . What kind of wannabe historian Newt is , Contract for America was more like Contract out on America. Newt and Romney are what wrong with the GOP . They say if you work hard , sacrafice , you can be successful . Yet they criticize those that follow the rules , and inspire . There understanding of respect is that of only wealth and power , not grace nor innovation.

    And frankly, it's something I would strongly support.” - February 2, 2007;: ... Besides Clinton, Gingrich planned to impeach Al Gore as well.

    September 9, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. The REAL TRUTH...

    Given the source of the comment, I instantly ignored it!

    September 9, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. Citizen

    Really Newt,
    You were one of the lynch mob leaders when Clinton was the president. Shame on you (by the way these are water words- you do not know the meaning of the word shame). You and your ilk will do anything to bring down a Democrat president to his knees. It did not work with Clinton-be assured that it will not work with Obama.

    September 9, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Have any of mitts' five sons served in the armed services ?
    A swiss bank account, thats used to prevent paying taxes to the United States.
    Name just one effort, program, or idea that mitt stands for that indicates we should
    have a goal other than making money for ourselves and the hell with those that can't
    or won't

    September 9, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Maegoff

    Mr. Gingrich, You are steadily making yourself irrevelant to the political discourse. You remind me of Edmund Ruffin in 1865.

    September 9, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. labman57

    Gingrich suffers from POTUS envy.

    September 9, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Dan B

    Even if you hate Newt, his message was true. Clinton lied when he said he couldn't turn this thing around. Reagan could've too. Obama's policies crush the recovery... Obama vs the recovery. Romney 2012

    September 9, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Lizzie

    Alex, million, billions, trillions are all the same to you, President Clinton increased the Natl.Debt EVERY year he was in office.

    September 9, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. Lizzie

    Anonymous, so what would you call VP Biden asking for FIVE deferments, so he would not have to serve in the armed forces during the Vietnam war.

    September 9, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    @Ann: "And your point is? It only proves that more Dems than Repubs have nothing else to do!"

    No, it proves that because Dems are more intelligent, we can quickly read a story, digest its contents and post insightful, lucid comments. You are just jealous! 🙂

    September 9, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Gingrich: Clinton a ‘real’ president, Obama a ‘pretender’◄
    And YOU were a cheater at the same time you were an offender
    ►'I reformed welfare because I worked with Republicans; you didn't, Mr. Obama.'◄
    That issue wasn’t even brought UP during Obama’s time – Total “unnecessary” DRAMA

    ginGRINCH loves to FLIP things around and in the end it does not make sense
    By “chanting” what President Obama did he fails to mention who turned it around to a deficit!!
    The more the RIGHT praises Clinton it makes the LEFT stand even more proud
    Because in the end CLINTON will straighten it all out and stand strong on his own ground

    Psst, ginGRINCH does not want RobMe to win – Most Republicans DON’T!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    September 9, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    @Anonymous: "Name just one effort, program, or idea that mitt stands for that indicates we should
    have a goal other than making money for ourselves and the hell with those that can't
    or won't"


    September 9, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Nuance

    Since Newt lost to Willard...what does it make him?

    September 9, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Steven Colo

    So Clinton's speech endorsing Obama wasn't really endorsing Obama? Go set up a colony on the moon or make eight year old kids janitors, Newt.

    September 9, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. GI Joe

    Good ole Newt. Calista must grimace every time he comes toward her. The "ick" factor has to be bigger than his ego.

    September 9, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. A not-so-stupid former republican

    The President is real, Mitts a phony, and Gingrich is a disgraced, serial philanderer along with being a christian pretender. The Newt will roast in hell for his trangressions\!

    September 9, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Martha in CF

    Really Newt. You, like all the redumblicans, have made a mockery out of what our President has done. I would hate to see how America would look like today if we had not been saved from the 2nd depression that was to be put on us had Obama not been in office. Let me just say, that you were AGAINST Romney before you were FOR Romney.

    Can't believe anything that comes out of your mouth!!!!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 9, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Hotdog

    Here is a person talking about establish the first colony on the moon if he were elected POTUS. He is also the same person that could not win the nomination of his party for POTUS and people are suppose to rely on what comes out of his mouth? Give me a break please, Newt is pathetic.

    September 9, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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