November 7th, 2012
08:08 AM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich: 'I was wrong'

(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who predicted Mitt Romney would win the presidential election in a clear victory, conceded Wednesday morning that his expectations were off.

"I was wrong," Gingrich said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

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The former presidential candidate, who at one time ran as a fierce opponent against Romney in the GOP primary, said the president had a "very effective campaign." He also argued Republican leaders and GOP political observers were not in tune with what the population at large was seeking in a president.

"I think the country was looking at a different set of things than we were looking at," he said. "Republicans are going to have to take a very serious look at what happened and why did it happen and why were we not more competitive at the presidential level."

Handicapping the race, Gingrich had previously said Romney would get 53% of the popular vote and 300 or more electoral votes.

"This is a very serious moment," he argued. "Those of us who are Republican activists and some of the supposedly best analysts on our side in the conservative movement were just wrong. We have to think about what does that teach us."

He argued the GOP could work on becoming more inclusive–a challenge, he said, that House Republicans especially face. "The question is do they want to, in a disciplined way, create a schedule and a program and include people who are not traditionally Republican?"

"The difference between outreach and inclusion is outreach is when five white guys have a meeting and call you," he continued. "Inclusion is when you're in the meeting."

But Gingrich cautioned "Barack Obama's majority is as far as the White House" and said Republicans and Democrats still had to put forth an "immense amount of mutual effort" to work together.

As for the future of the party, the former speaker said 2016 will likely be a time for a "next generation" of Republicans, pointing to several GOP governors, whom he said do a "better job of solving problems."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Republicans
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. Matt

    It's a shame when Newt appears to be the most rational person on the right. He is correct that the Republican party has no chance to win the presidency until they find a way to rebuild their base absent the Tea Party and ultra conservative Christians.

    There are millions of latinos who will never vote Republican because of the rights witch hunt for illegals.

    There are millions of young voters who will never vote republican because of the parties stance on the environment, corporations, civil rights, and war mongering

    There a millions of older, educated, white voters who will never vote Republican because of the parties fanatic obsession with evangelicals and all the kooks that represent the party.

    There are millions of people of all stripes who recognize that Obama's first term was sabotaged by the House. The Republicans doubled down on fanatical right wing zeal and clearly, it didn't pan out for them. I seriously hope they can come back to the table so we have a real choice in 2016. Get some guts, sever your ties with corporations, Christians, Israel etc. and lead rationally for once. People like Republican principals, we just haven't seen any since Reagan.

    November 7, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. pcalif

    What GIngrich really means is "I'm sorry for all those nasty, hate filled things I said against the PResident,. Please keep having me on your shows, I'm broke and I need the money." Gingrich, McCain, Sununu, and Guiliani were some of the reasons Romney lost. To send out these people spewing hatred at the President did not go unnoticed to the voters who mattered. This is now obvious. Will the Republicans get a clue? Hatred and bigotry won't work. Americans are better than that and most of us are hard-working, moderate, conservative people and why would we put up with these kind of people when we wouldn't want them for our neighbor?

    November 7, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. fatcafe

    The GOP has spent the last four years trying to make the Obama administration look bad, rather than to work to help the American People. Their alliance with the religious right placed the party in a position of trying to legislate an evangelical agenda. Their position on illegal aliens is simply heartless. Their finances are clouded and have been construed as a "Sell Out" to the large corporate interests.

    They have a lot of work to do in order to gain the trust and confidence of the mainstream American voters. They could begin by honestly attempting to fix what is broken, become transparent and work to represent all Americans.

    They need to keep in mind the fact that "We all have the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

    November 7, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. gripping granny

    When has the newt ever been right funny

    November 7, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Angie

    I am an independent voter who was more than willing to look for change in this election. The GOP lost my vote by their radical, evangelical rhetoric. This country is built on a separation of church and state. I am looking for leaders who are going to take us in the right direction where it really counts. Do not try to put your values on me or others in this country that do not share them! This country is built on people who are different and who are able to come together where it really counts. If the GOP wants to win my vote they need to recognize this.

    November 7, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Jon

    This is not news. It would only be news if Newt *didn't* admit that he was wrong.

    November 7, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Randy Johnson

    Now lets just hear Donald Trump say that!

    November 7, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. ppppuuuuuu

    If the house continues their obstructionism, they will lose the house in 2014, its that simple

    November 7, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  9. EmmaWI

    If this election didn't clearly show the GOP that they are seriously out of sync with the people's values on social issues, I'm not sure what will convince them. Obama won because he used social issues to motivate specific groups of people, namely women, latinos, blacks, and young people. When 60% of voters say the economy is most important & Romney would be better with the economy, when the plurality of people say the country is on the wrong track, when 70% of people say the economy is worse or no better than 4 years ago....and Obama wins know there are an awful lot of voters who voted for Obama on something other than the economy. And simply put, they voted on the abortion/contraception issue, gay rights, and immigration. Until the GOP understands that & adjusts it's way of thinking, they are going to be out of power for a long long time.

    November 7, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. CryBabies

    @Randeee, San Francisco....Perhaps there is also room under that rock for you . Give up the hate Randeee.

    November 7, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. zeb

    Gingrich: "I think the country was looking at a different set of things than we were looking at," he said. "Republicans are going to have to take a very serious look at what happened and why did it happen and why were we not more competitive at the presidential level."

    Mr. Former Speaker, what Republicans have to do is demonstrate, by action not words, that they are actually listening to the very people that tried so hard to disenfranchise.

    Words mean nothing; the electorate is far smarter than Republicans gave them credit for. *DO* something right for a change, then maybe in the next election, more people might vote for your party.

    November 7, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    I am shocked. No, not by the Newt being wrong. I can't recall the lasttime he was right. I am shocked that he admitted it.

    November 7, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. But . . .

    Has he ever been right?

    November 7, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. tonyl

    Not only the the right wing fanatic Newt Gingrich was wrong but all the crazy right including brainless Carl Rowe, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz and other dumbassessss fooooools.!!!! on FAUXNEWS were wrong. The Fauxnews is a complete FARCE and unreliable and a right wing propaganda outlet. It is not a news media channel instead a comedy channel.

    November 7, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Truth hurts

    Being wrong is a very familiar state for Newt. He is an irrelevant, self serving blowhard and needs to retire to his moon colony asap.

    November 7, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. Nyceti

    Gingrich sorry but yes you were so wrong! President Obama just sat back in content and proved you wrong! Donald Trump is wondering how we're gonna make it? Well he has all that money and we have all this FAITH. God said the first shall be last and the last shall be first. We have FAITH the size of a mustard seed therefore we are HIGHLY FAVORED!!!!

    November 7, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Jack

    And McCain was wrong. He said the military was against Obama and thought he was a poor Commander in Chief. 50% of the military supported Obama. How many more Republicans do we need to hear from saying they were wrong? They are so insulated and self-absorbed they don't understand America anymore.

    November 7, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. steve_schoner

    Did not Newt in the GOP debates say that Romney will not beat Obama if he were the GOP nominee? Well he was right then, but wrong when Romney became the nominee. Newt had no other choice but to step into GOP fantasy land, and support Romney making absurd statements that went against what he initially said.

    NEWT, had you been the GOP nominee, you would have had my vote. You would have given the American people true expansive debates, like those of the 1858 Douglas-Lincoln debates. You were a true conservative. But the moralistic-unforgiving GOP would not forgive you for your past sins. Instead they fell in line with Romney a completely unsuitable candidate to stand against Obama.

    And as a result the GOP lost. The mirror of reality is before them. It is time for the GOP to look at the image and make changes to meet the reality of what will now come. Not the fantasy land that they have been in for years.

    November 7, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. nikatomuirhead

    What Gingrich hasnt realized yet is that Obama's Mathematical formula accounts for the natural gradual decrease in the white population. Unless Republicans go back to being the party of fiscal sanity, and stop being the party of the cultural police, they will keep losing.

    November 7, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    chet wrote:

    Newt – you said it before – when the Republicans put in a moderate they loose – they lost.
    Newt was wrong on that point. Times have changed. When Republicans run a moderate, now the moderate usually wins. George W. Bush was a moderate, and he won. The TEA-rex Party extremists lose. Mitt Romney ran as a "severely conservative Republicans" and lost.

    November 7, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. Nadia

    Newt said, "Republicans need to take another look at themselves". What is it that you refuse to see! The world is changing and you republicans has to learn to get along with all people!!!!

    November 7, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. steve harnack

    Republicans will think that all they will have to do is APPEAR to be more inclusive. Their whole party is built on illusion and I believe that we finally turned that corner last night when a slim majority of Americans realized that. It is my fervent hope that this causes the whole GOP facade to crumble and that it will take a whole new generation of Republicans before they ever recover.

    November 7, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. tolajn

    The GOP should have been reading the statistical coverage of each race, including that of the White House, using Five ThirtyEight blog. Amazingly accurate and totally unbiased. The numbers spoke for themselves. It was a beautiful thing to rely on a statatician who was not being led around by the special interests of a particular media outlet, including the NY Times that his blog is posted.

    November 7, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. AudreyinGA

    Reporter: Are you calling Romney a liar?
    Newt: Yes.

    99%: We listened. We voted. Forward!

    November 7, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. beevee

    The GOP inspite of their best efforts to tarnish president Obama efforts at reviving the economy that is is clearly showing signs of steady recovery failed to convince the voters that the president's policies have failed. That is what Mitt Romney has been constantly painting the president as a economic failure. The voters could see through it and delivered their verdict. Buffoons like Newt and Giuliani should disappear from the political scene and then, may be the GOP has some hope of regaining the confidence of americans.

    November 7, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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