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. Yeahona

    Newt, I once respected you but you seem to be letting age get the best of your mind.

    September 9, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. John P. Tarver

    I think Bill Clinton made Obama look like a fool just by being on the same stage. I believe Obama should have invited GW to make a pitch for a fourth Bush term; Obama's second.

    September 9, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |

    Divide and conquer Newt? I HATE to tell you this but Obama accomplished MUCH more than Clinton. He got handed an economy that was MUCH worse than when Bush I handed the economy to Clinton. Newt MIGHT like Clinton because he could "WORK WITH" him. Well the definition of "WORK WITH" by the CURRENT Republican party is "Give ALL the tax breaks to the Rich and SCREW the lower and middle classes". The LAST thing we need is for Obama to "WORK WITH" the right wing, fascist, party that is currently called the "Republican" party.

    September 9, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Jane

    A bitter, nasty remark from a man sour over not able to get to be president. You are a small man Newt, and that's why you are in the position you are in. Barak Obama got elected. You didn't. Enough said.

    September 9, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. the situation

    Newt is a clown like all these rats Repubs. They hated Clinton and tried to remove him out of office by now he is such a great president. Tell us how you truly feel.

    September 9, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. ajw

    If so why did you impeach him?

    September 9, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. the situation

    Irene Clark
    Obama has his HATE responders out in force, but their lies and deception don't hold water. Clinton was successful in his Presidency and Obama is a FAILURE in his. Bill Clinton isn't running and why he lies about Obama is beyond comprehension. Obama had no answers for 4 years; he will have no answers during the next 40 years. He wants to make the USA a Communist country and no one with any reason desires his trashy ideas.

    September 9, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |

    But yet Clinton had the best economy since Ike and once the GOP got their hands on everything Clinton built, they destroyed. Keep running from the fact that the GOP like in 1929 messed up then and then 80 years later messed up again. The 2 worst economic disaster in US history, 1929 and 2008 were under the GOP. It took FDR years to fix Hoover mess, you people want Obama to fix in 4 years what the GOP screwed in 8 years, 6 of those years they had control of all division of the government.

    Keep running faster then Usain Bolt on the fact that the GOP but America in this position and decide that they would keep America in this position until they got back into the White House. Too Bad Obama got his bounce. Once the debate happens and Obama eats Mitts, consider it Game, Set, Match!

    September 9, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. LR

    Gingrich can't stand the fact that Obama has Clinton's backing and the GOP has presidents they hide.

    September 9, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Kermodi

    I'm all for communism if it can achieve what Obama has achieved in less than one term: record corporate profits, an amazing run up in the stock market, low inflation and a stronger dollar.

    September 9, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Yasmine

    OK Gingrich...Clinton the "real' President called you GOPers all liars... and because facts gives you a just keep lying and lying....hoping that if you say the lie often enough...some dilusional soul will believe it..

    September 9, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. Vic

    Gingrich. Here's the man that will teach Romney how to win.

    September 9, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Sorensen

    Poor old Gingrich. He never even made it to pretender.

    September 9, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Dave

    Yeah, I remember how Republicans talked about Bill Clinton in the 90's – including Newt. Make no mistake, the only reason they're praising Clinton now is because they think it might hurt Obama. Newt, shut up and go away!

    September 9, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Dilip Samuels

    Gingrich is a pretender extraordinaire.......everything good was his doing..when he was there

    Obama has more dignity in his little TOE than Gingrich HAS IN HIS WHOLE body

    Obama is LOVED..Gingrich ..welll ..his day is past......not many really CARE about if he comes or goes!!!

    September 9, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Jim8

    More racist crapola from an elderly white guy.

    No minority can be successful in the Republican mind.

    September 9, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Frankie

    Well, the "real President" must carry a lot of clout for both Democrats and Republicans and so it seems that the "real President" thinks that Obama is the "real deal" so he must know what he's talking about so in other words, Gingrich is also endorsing what the "real President is saying right.

    September 9, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Gene

    Did Newt (and Romney) actually listen to President Clinton? Mr. Clinton smacked them up one side and down the other. They didn't hear that he strongly supports Barack Obama over Romney? Those two (and the whole Romney campaign) smack of desperation. Does anyone care what Newt really says?

    September 9, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Chuk

    Why is that clown Gingrich still hanging around, to get a job in a potential Romney administration? I hope not. Seeing that no one is buying his right wing crap, he should just go away.

    September 9, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Mark

    This is the guy who cheated on his wife and served her divorce papers while she was in the hospital with cancer, right? Ah, Republican family values...

    September 9, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. ll

    Newt is ethically challenged to the core. I wouldn't trust him or the GOP to walk my dog at this point...And I was a former life-long Republican.

    September 9, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. blkpwr817

    And Gingrish will NEVER be president. The other good thing is that Romney won't be

    September 9, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. panam47

    I agree, Clinton was a real president, but you, sir, are the real pretender: pretend historian, pretend conservative, pretend patriot, pretend husband.

    September 9, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Ron L- Mich

    Newt, is not worth commenting on...NUFF SAID

    September 9, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Rak

    Who's sipping the kook aid now?

    September 9, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. Bassmaster22

    The republicans are really great at slapping everyone around and then spinning it like they are the victims. Ah, to be fat and rich and white.
    The convention looked like a klan meeting.

    September 9, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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