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. olivia

    Mr. Gingrich:

    Mitt Romney is exactly correct about what Barack Obama has gifted illegal aliens. Do YOU know about the THIRTY TWO MILLION DOLLAR detention center that Obama built for illegal aliens in Karnes City, TX – – so they ...."would feel comfortable and wanted"? Have you EVER seen such a luxury facility for our senior citizens or our veterans? How can you justify this facility – built to accommodate illegal aliens in luxury fashion.

    AND, Mr. Gingrich – do you CARE or do you KNOW about the process where illegal aliens use their kids to SCAB AND STEAL FOUR BILLION DOLLARS every year from our tax fund? All they have to do is use their NON-American, NON-qualifying kids and, BINGO! these households get thousands of dollars a year. Americans would go to jail for this.

    Also, Mr. Gingrich, have you heard about Obama's back door amnesty? Well, then have you heard about Popular Sovereignty? I don't think Barack Obama knows about Popular Sovereignty!

    One more thing? Why does Barack Obama's office gift LaRaza, a RACIST organization with $500,000.00 of our tax dollars every year? Where's the WHITE organization that can collect this money? Can NUMBERS USA please get free money, also? Why NOT?

    Lastly, Mr. Gingrich, why does Obama keep letting illegal aliens into America to work? Do you not realize that America is in poverty – driven by the illegal aliens.

    Mr. Gingrich, please call me if any of this confuses you. In any situation concerning illegal aliens concerning our public education, they are 'GIFTED" fees reduced, charges forgiven, lunches and breakfast are FREE and supplies furnished. You gotta know, free transportation is supplied to their doctor appointments and hospital care, Americans are fed up with the GIFTS we have to supply illegal aliens.

    November 19, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. lbpaulina

    Now that he lost, everybody is taking some distances from him: Mitt Romney. Until a few time ago he was the best Republican in the entire galaxy, after losing he has become an individual only able to say "nuts." In reality Romney is the same person of before, during and after. I never liked him as a person; he is always too sweat and seems a hysterical robot. But I am a Democrat, and I might not be objective. I have a question though: if he had won, who would he be? The best Republican on Earth? Or would he be still a person able to say that Obama lost because of his politics of giving away some gifts to a naive electorate?
    The point is that he didn't lose; the point is that Obama won. He won because the majority of the people has preferred him and because his strategists were far better than the ones of Romney. Romney's strategists are guilty: they did not understand anything of the electorate.

    November 19, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    There's a saying, every body likes a winner or hates a loser. You have to like how the GOP are now distancing themselves from the loser Mitt Romney. And they're all doing it gracefully, denouncing his racially divisive and deregatory comments and showing some class and integrity for the first time in four years. I love it!

    November 19, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. sifto

    tabeth–so why do they need free birth control and free money for unlimited abortions if they are not promiscuous?

    November 19, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. ghostriter

    There is really no point in trying to distance yourselves from Romney now. This is not the 1st time he's said something like this. Republicans and cconservatives have been screaming the exact same sentiments for years now. Romney, like Akin and Mourdock, have simply said what a good number of them already believe.

    November 19, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    If President Obama gave gifts to minorities to win re-election, then WHAT did he offer them in 2008 to be elected? Can you please explain???

    November 19, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Wilson

    @Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    If President Obama gave gifts to minorities to win re-election, then WHAT did he offer them in 2008 to be elected? Can you please explain???
    That ones an easy answer, all his gifts came under the blanket promise to "spread the wealth." Which translated to, take from hard working people and give to the people that do not want to work.

    November 19, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. sifto

    and i thought the winners of the election were happy and satisfied? sounds like they all are very nervous about their choice! what happened to "gracious winners"? what a bunch of sour grapes from liberals-to jump on every sentence private citizen Romney utters–Did the libs know the election is over? Hey libs, "you won"! Or did you?

    November 19, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. TheVoice2

    @ Olivia, your ignorance is well showcased.

    Did you know that during the Obama Presidency more illegals were deported than the firt two administrations combined. More illegals left the U.S then came in.

    And lets not forget that Romney offered a big gift to the rich, another tax cut!! The problem is that 99% is more than 1% so Obama was reelected.

    And one last thing, start blaming Lations for the problems that were created by the Republicans and Wall St. That is who is taking your tax dollars.

    November 19, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. Jackson

    Newt was availble for comment? Hmm, his mistress must have been too busy to see him.

    November 19, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Hugh Jass

    "there is an audience out there that buys into those arguments." Same people who watch American Idol and take it very seriously; they vote in elections exactly the same way. "I want my favorite to win because of clothes and hair!"

    November 19, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Hugh Jass

    "the blanket promise to "spread the wealth." Which translated to, take from hard working people and give to the people that do not want to work." In short, no, he can't explain. All he can do is repeat Mitt's talking points. That's all any of them can do. That's why he lost, nothing but talking points going on there.

    November 19, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. roscoe00

    Mass. is a huge Kennedy driven liberal state and even though Romney did a great job, they were never going to vote for him for President. He was too competent, too successful and too good to make president. Obama had to massively tarnish him to keep him out of the White House and Newt here feels the same way.

    November 19, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. CTed

    And romney promised "Gifts" like lowering their taxes more and giving them permission to pollute my air and water and allowing them to outsource even more jobs.

    You are right Romney – more of the country liked Obama's Gifts than yours.... Or to term it correctly we liked his vision of the future better than your vision of the past.

    November 19, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    LOL. The whole Republican Party has Romnesia. Do they actually think we've forgotten what their expressed opinions were when they thought Romney would win? They're all flip-floppers now. LOL.

    November 19, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    There are alot of reasons why minorities voted for President Obama! let's review.

    I believe minorities voted for President Obama because he promised them:

    That he'd end the Iraq war
    That he's set a deadline to end the Afghan war
    That he's stabilize the economy and create jobs
    That he'd make healthcare affordable for all Americans (and if you ask me, I always believe that a healthier America is simply a stronger America)
    That he'd save our auto industry which built tanks and ships and artillery to help us win WWII and solidify our American democracy
    That he'd reform Wall Street to safeguard against another catastrophic economic meltdown
    That he'd get rid of OBL, the mastermind of the worst terrorist attack on American soil
    That he'd restore our image, trust and credibility abroad
    That he would not wage a gender war on women
    That he would seperate church and state and not burn Qurans and wage a religious war on Muslim-Americans or other religious groups in America
    That he won't allow states like Arizona and Texas to pass laws that unlawfully profile and put our citizens at risk because of what they look like
    That seniors life savings won't be put into a voucher system on Wall Street to the highest bidder
    That gays and Lesbians won't be put in concentration camps
    That he'd work to bring about global peace and prosperity amongst our allies and all countries as a whole

    November 19, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. betterdays

    The Democrats, Gingrich and Jindal are all correct: When the time comes to actually pay for all of the Obama promises, there won't be any question as to whether they were gifts or not. And we will be paying for them for decades afterward, in one way or another.

    November 19, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. California Gary

    @olivia.......if any of those things were true, don't you think Mr. Gingrich would be out there slamming the administration on them? If you haven't noticed, Newt is no fan of the Obama administration. I'm just wondering what you consider "luxury" accommodations........working toilets?

    November 19, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Wilson

    @Hugh Jass

    "the blanket promise to "spread the wealth." Which translated to, take from hard working people and give to the people that do not want to work." In short, no, he can't explain. All he can do is repeat Mitt's talking points. That's all any of them can do. That's why he lost, nothing but talking points going on there.
    You just blew what little credibility you ever had. I just did not want to write a novel. Here is the short-short version. More people on food stamps than ever before in history, a smaller work force than at any time since the 1950s. You can't argue with the facts.

    November 19, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. Jack Throck

    I think Romney was exactly correct in his analysis. Both political parties are in the business of offering promises to secure votes and then rewarding those constituencies after elections. Just as Obama reached out to young voters with "gifts" so too would Romney have "gifted" businesses by holding the line on tax rates.

    The issue is NOT his choice of words: gifts. It's whether we as Americans fully understand the ramifications of a government that has increasingly more people who receive gifts than who pay taxes. When there are more takers than givers, we are all in trouble. Look at Greece, Spain, Portugal. That's where we're headed. Neither a Republican nor a Democrat should dispute that. It's just a matter of how fast we arrive at that hell hole.

    November 19, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @Wilson and sifto

    Why are you guys on the keyboard? Don't you losers have a secession rally to attend???

    November 19, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Garnet22

    It's all well and good to hear the Republican Party beating the "We need to change and stop being so exclusionary and comments like this can't continue!" but they're not backing it up with anything but talk. You can talk all you want but until it starts being backed up in deed and action, it's all just words.

    November 19, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Wilson

    @Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer
    @Wilson and sifto
    Why are you guys on the keyboard? Don't you losers have a secession rally to attend???
    Typical socialist response when you know you are wrong, resorting to insults. Also the reactions of the stereotypical "angry black man."

    November 19, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. seraphim01

    Hey, guys? The sky is falling.

    At least, that's what the majority of hardcore right wingers want us to know.

    November 19, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. fsjunkie

    Like I've said for the past 2 years...Election Day 2012 was an IQ test for America. All of these Republicans, all of a sudden dropping the hammer on Romney after he lost, were betting on more people to fail that test. Right now, they're still acting like the test was graded on a curve...they're not convinced America would pass again. Actions speak louder than words...especially if you're John "No-action" McCain.

    November 19, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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