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. PTBarnumboy

    Why does anyone listen to this guy let alone care what he says? The man, and I use the term loosely, is nothing more than a washed up bomb thrower from decades past.

    September 9, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Randall Fontenot

    Newt is a pretend human being.

    September 9, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. lindylou123

    and Gingrich is a nut bag
    who cares what you say ? You want to make kids clean toilets instead of go to school – and I need not ask which kids? Why the poor ones of course. You are not even an American

    September 9, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Newt who? He is beyond pathetic.

    September 9, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Jules

    Well, Newt, the "real president" Clinton says that President Obama MUST be reelected so I guess I am going to help to make that happen. Newt said it guys.

    September 9, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Jules

    Newt says that Clinton took subliminal shots at the president in his speech? What the heck was he drinking? He had to have been totally looped on something.

    September 9, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Gregory Dale

    Newt is a wannabe president , sorry newt your screwed.

    September 9, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. MessiahNoMo

    "Obama, you're no Bill Clinton".

    In 2008 Obama ran as God
    In 2012 he is running as Bill Clinton

    We, the people, are embarrassed.

    September 9, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. Carmenzita

    Now Gingrich sits in judgment of others....What nerve! If Obama is a pretender THEN GINGRICH IS AN OFFENDER. He's offensive to anyone with a moral compass. I HOPE GRINCH MAKES IT TO THE MOON SOONER...THAN LATER. We can really do with "one less talking GOP gas bag" on our planet. The Grinch has done serious damage to our great country by opening the doors/creating/organizing the super pacs. He's destroying Democracy in this country and if anyone is responsible for the predicament we're currently in he's largely to blame.

    September 9, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. selfevolved

    I don't mind focusing on Clinton. Clinton vs. George W. Bush is a good is a good analogy for all D vs R choices now and in the future. It's one I'll never forget.

    September 9, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Xchairman

    Mr. newt would u accept a position as an economic adviser, if obama win again?

    September 9, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Bev Varnado

    Irene Clark I agree with you.

    September 9, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Bob

    Gingrich is an angry, justifialbly unfulfilled blowhard who is achieving irrelevance at a dizzying and increasing pace.

    Morally corrupt, intellectually rudderless, intellectually mendacious, and just plain goofy.

    He thinks he's presidential timber and the rest of the world (including Repubs) thinks he's just nuts.

    September 9, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. Beth

    Once again a Republican spokesperson suggests that President Obama is only a "pretend" President. Just like the dishonest attack ad by Romney claiming that the Obama Administration is secretly relaxing work rules for temporary welfare relief, the subliminal claim here is once again that Obama's presidency is somehow illegitimate. The Romney ad uses visual images suggesting African-American welfare recipients as contrasted with white taxpayers. Newt's message is another chorus of the Republican tune of birtherism.

    September 9, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. jedi

    Credit CNN for being equal projectors of nonsense and exposing the height of hyprocrasy. Wasn't Gingrinch the one leading the charge for Clinton's impeachment? Maybe he feels a kinship because they were both hiding dirty laundry behind the backs of their wives. Typical politician...a few weeks ago he was setting Romney's ears on fire with how sorry a conservative he is and now singing the praises of the republican annointed one.

    September 9, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Tony in STL

    These clowns will pull any stunt to try to get an edge! I think Clinton was a great President! I also think Obama is an outstanding President! Apparently repubs now feel that they can play dems against themselves, because dems tend to be divided on a lot of things. It worked with the Indians. It worked with the Africans. Hell, ...why not try! I've never said it, but I'm really starting to hate these "new" republicans. They have no sense of anything, except trying to win. Then what?

    September 9, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. James1114

    Obama is a real human being President, and Gingrich is a troll that ran for President.

    September 9, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Desmond Blair

    It is very strange that years ago when your opinion mattered you had nothing good to say of Pres. Clinton. Now that you do not matter, you are talking through the other side of your mouth. LOL.

    September 9, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. B.

    Gingrich has proven to be as evidenced by this last Summer,as a symbol of what the Republicans have become.
    Extreme, out of touch, arrogant, obese, rich, old, mostly white, Has-beens like him that are trying to impose their obsolete doctrine to this country again.

    Americans understand completely what lying blowhards like Gingrich are all about with their extreme propaganda, We have been down their road before and we are not going Back! He really is the elephant in the room.....

    September 9, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. watchdogg2007

    Newt keep talking every time you speak you help Obama.

    September 9, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Wanderer

    I already knew Mr. Gingrich would say Obama is a ‘real’ president and Clinton is a ‘pretender’ if Obama were the former president and Clinton were the sitting president and seeking the second term.

    September 9, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. pi boson

    Must be a sorry and lonely life to do or say only what Karl Rove wants you to. Romney /Ryan have terrific goals but no plans to achieve these goals. I'll take the Obama goals as he has demonstrated the necessary character.

    September 9, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Evergreen

    Its taken over a decade, but I am glad to see that the Republicans finally appreciate Clinton's accomplishments. Lets hope it want take that long to appreciates President Obama's.

    September 9, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. truth spew

    LOL that's what he got from that speech? What a tool LOL

    September 9, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Gandalf the White

    Wouldn't the real president be a real president? And wouldn't someone who is acting like they should president (campaigning), but isn't one be a pretende?

    September 9, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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