November 18th, 2012
01:23 PM ET
9 years ago

Gingrich: Romney ‘gifts’ comment ‘nuts’

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich had harsh words Sunday for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s suggestion that he lost the election because President Barack Obama offered “gifts” to African-Americans, Hispanics, and young voters.

“I just think it’s nuts,” Gingrich said on ABC. “I mean, first of all, it's insulting.”

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“The job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can't offer a better future that is believable to more people, we're not going to win,” said Gingrich, who launched blistering attacks on Romney last spring while seeking the presidential nomination himself.

Revelation of Romney’s comments drew criticism from others within his own party, such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – who said a winning strategy does not involve “insulting (voters) and saying their votes were bought” - and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who said, “Rhetoric like this keeps digging a hole for the Republican Party.”

Romney was quoted by several news outlets as having made the comments on a call with top donors Wednesday, and CNN confirmed he made similar arguments in a separate call earlier in the day.

"What the president, president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote," Romney said in the later call. Portions of audio from the call aired on ABC that evening.

The New York Times quoted Romney as having said, "With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift."

"Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women," he continued, according to the Times. "And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."

Romney has stayed out of the public eye since losing the election nearly two weeks ago, and his longtime spokesman did not return a request from CNN for comment about his remarks.

Jindal spoke out against the comments at the Republican Governors Association meeting earlier in the week, and on Sunday described Romney as “honorable and exceptional” but said the comments do not represent his party.

“I'm proud to have campaigned for him across the country, but I absolutely reject what he said. Look, we as the Republican Party have to campaign for every single vote,” Jindal said on Fox. “If we want people to like us, we have to like them first. And you don't start to like people by insulting them and saying their votes were bought. We are an aspirational party.”

The GOP will not succeed by “just having better PR folks,” he said.

CNN exit polls showed Romney won white voters, while Obama carried 93% of African-American voters, 71% of Latino voters, and 73% of Asian voters. Obama outperformed Romney among voters under 39 years of age, while Romney carried a majority of voters over 40.

Graham said Hispanics “voted for (Obama) because he's the lesser or two evils.”

“We're in a big hole. We're not getting out of it by comments like (Romney’s),” Graham said on NBC. “When you’re in a hole, stop digging. He keeps digging.”

Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra said on ABC that the comments show the Republican Party did not “read the tea leaves from November 6, and I think they're still harkening to yesteryear. It's a new day in America, and they should be catching up.”

- CNN's Ashley Killough and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report

Filed under: Latinos • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • President Obama
soundoff (397 Responses)
  1. Texman

    Gifts???? .... what does he call special tax breaks that permit people like him to have a 13% effective income tax rate while people who actually work for a living pay at least twice as much.

    I hope the GOTP maintains its strangle hold on the Republican party. That way the GOP can be buried in the midterms and the 2016 elections.

    November 19, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  2. Donkey Party

    Rick McDenial – 70% of welfare recipients are poor white Republican voters. Let's let the mooching red states secede, shall we? And let's get those right-wing moochers off the government teat, they're really draining the coffers that are filled by blue states.

    November 19, 2012 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  3. LizardLance

    The entire Republican party of today is nuts. Their platform is anti-woman, anti-liberty, pro-war, pro-oppression. What more needs to be said?

    November 19, 2012 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  4. Who cares

    Wow. Watch the GOP eat their young and old.

    November 19, 2012 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  5. Thomas

    And to think that less then there weeks ago they were walking hand in hand .

    How many times has Newt been married ?

    November 19, 2012 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  6. chf

    Imagine if Rmoney had won. I know, it's a scary thought. There's a saying that he who criticizes most loudly is often the most guilty. Rmoney would've sold out the presidency to the highest corporate bidder. After all, he sold his soul to win the GOP nomination.

    Thank goodness there were more sensible people who voted this election.

    November 19, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  7. Henry

    Im so glad the comment box isn't closed all you "dems" attacking republicans will pay dearly for the future we will face. im a hispacnic 23 male and voted republican i am republican and can't stand the racisism coming from the left. The media has you idiots so brainwashed you can't think for yourselves anymore. Just repeating sound bits over and over "old white men" how racisist is that your making a determination based on nothing. How about Obama getting 93% of the black vote wth is that and then the liberal media is going to say romney and the republicans are racists becuase he grabbed 60% of the white vote!?!. Think for yourselves! Obama did buy the vote giving out food stamps cell phones and health insurance is a bribe i would know becuase I was sent a package for obamacare without even applying the letter stated that under new federal poverty regulations i was now eligable for free health care it's a bribe there is no such thing as free it's tax payer funded. If Romney started going around giving money or cellphones would that not be bribery?.... oh no..... becuase it's a republican and their rich right? Obama is attacking the middle class 250,000 a year is not rich i make 19k a year, now with obama care i make only $14,500 i lost 20% of my pay under obama care provisions and my job told me if i dont sign the health care form by Nov 28 2012 that i would be fired becuase now it's law. WAKE UP this isn't rich vs poor Obama made it about rich and poor our country is divided under obama that he has pinned us against one another he has hijacked our health care our education system and our police forces. Don't buy obamas smiles look at his actual policies don't listen to the media without your own investigations look who owns the media outlet your watching and find out their true agendas or you will dam your children and your childrens children to the world about to be made. and another thing such up about bush already i hated bush to but it seems that no one can blame obama for anything it's all bush's fault obama farted oh that was bush wake up already i can't wait after 8 years of oabma when the right will say oh it's oabmas fault it's obama's fault seems catchy right?

    November 19, 2012 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  8. Name cap64

    Please please Mr. President, don't give Mitt aa place in your Cabinet. He is an EVIL man.

    November 19, 2012 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  9. Henry

    media biased : CNN exit polls showed Romney won white voters while Obama carried 93% of African-American voters, 71% of Latino voters, and 73% of Asian voters. Obama outperformed Romney among voters under 39 years of age, while Romney carried a majority of voters over 40.

    see the biased cnn shows romney won the white vote ???? it doesn't say a percentage just that he won the white vote then it shows obama won the black vote the hispanic vote and asian vote with percentages but then no white vote or percentage it's becuase they have to make it racists the truth is Obama got 40 % of the white vote and romney got 60% so almost down the middle but romney is the raciists according to cnn and msnbc wake up the evidence is right in front of you.

    November 19, 2012 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  10. bess moore

    Rats leaving a sinking ship! OMG! Fools ___all of them!

    November 19, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  11. OtherKevin

    All that Romney is guilty of is publicly saying what his compatriots in the rest of the Republican party are thinking and believe in their hearts.

    November 19, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  12. Super Zee

    If the Mitt Monster had said this before election day...he might have lost another million votes.

    November 19, 2012 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  13. Tuckersdad

    Mr. Romney and his remarks prove how non Presidential he is. Sad man, thank goodness he is not our leader. The Repubs have to bring forward real live leaders, not charismatic tragedies. Used to be the GOP had thoughtful, wise members, not mercenaries.

    November 19, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  14. julie

    i just can't belive the simpletons that voted for mitt the LOSER and yet the same simpletons that voted that fake loser MIT the TWIT are on this site supporting him still how damn dumb can they be


    November 19, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  15. nostradomus

    Republican cannabilism.
    Munching on their own will give them either bad flatulence or botulism.
    let's hope for the latter.

    November 19, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  16. Jack in Florida

    People voted FOR Obama, because he was the better choice. A man of integrity and wisdom, that Thurston Howell III was lacking and has no idea what that means. I love it when the out of touch Republicans, turn on their own (rightly so I might add.) We all need to MOVE ON, and work TOGETHER for the betterment of our country!!!!!!

    November 19, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  17. geen

    "The Millenium Generation"...with presidential candidates like Gore/Lieberman, Kerry/Edwards, Bush/Cheney, McCain/Palin,Obama/Biden, Romney/Ryan....might well go down in history more as "The MEDIOCRE generation"...reminds me of that great observation by Buckminster Fuller..."why is it that, in this country, we elect those most lacking in creative thinking ability....? Why? indeed....Is this the BEST we can do? God help us....

    November 19, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  18. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Romney should go to one of the offshore places his money is stashed and stay there.

    November 19, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  19. 3MgH

    The food stamp president guy, is calling 47% guy insulting. That's hilarious. The GOP is a joke

    November 19, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  20. merkle

    During primary season, they couldn't stand Mitt. Then, he was fully embraced by every righty pundit out there, pushing him hard during the 'statistical tie' leading right up to election day. Then, when he convincingly lost to the better man, they are slamming him again (correctly so, I might add.)

    What fools.

    November 19, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  21. CraigM

    Gingrich should have been the nominee and given the American people a stark difference between the candidates of the two parties. Romney would probably have been good, much better than Obama, at tackling the overall ecomony and the welfare state that Obama has put into effect..........but so would have the former Speaker of the House. Immigration reform has to be dealt with by the GOP .......evidently we are going to have to just accept the fact that certain groups, in this case illegal immigrants and their supporters, have the right to break our laws and get away with it. That was what the sentiment was for all those who voted for Obama on strictly ethnic reasons such as giving amnesty to 12M-20M (whatever the number) illegal ailiens!!! For American citizens if you break the law you will go to jail but not the masses from Mexico and Central America who break our existing laws. So, Republicans just suck it up and realize that these folks are above the laws of the United States...........

    November 19, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  22. alpeaston

    Every time Romney speaks is another nail in the GOP Coffin. His words have made many Americans glad they did NOT vote for him. Mitt Romney is an arrogant, out of touch, ass, who had no compasson or humanity towards his fellow man!

    November 19, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  23. nouk

    Romney lost because of Romney. A better candidate should have won big in this economy. Mr. Romney has nobody to blame but himself.

    November 19, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  24. Arnold from Boston

    Graham should practice what he is attempting to preach – saying Hispanics voted for Obama because he is the lesser of two evils is asinine and insulting.

    Hispanics registered to vote in record numbers. Hispanic voters turned out in record numbers. And a record number of Hispanics voted for Obama.

    The Lesser of two evils Graham?? Maybe if the Hispanic voters were apathetic, and had barely registered, and then barely voted, and then Romney and Obama had been close in the percentage of votes they each received. BUT this was a FORTY to FIFTY POINT difference.

    Great way to lecture Romney by yourself insulting the fastest growing bloc of voters.

    That is an awful big foot you just stuck in your mouth Graham!!

    November 19, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  25. BubblesB

    OMG! I never thought I would ever agree with anything Gingrich said. But I agree with him. What Romney said is nuts. As long as the Republican Party remains dedicated to the Tea Party and the far Christian right, they will lose Presidential elections. They are the "Mean Party." They need to become more centrist or they'll die out.

    November 19, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
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