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. Spock500

    One Republican nut calling a fellow Republican a nut? Takes one to know one?

    November 18, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. ponyboywp

    Yea I get it, it is a little insulting, But, the truth does hurt. We are now a country of takers. Makers are palying second fiddle.

    November 18, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. jpmichigan

    What would you call Obma issuing order for all illegal aleins between the ages of 17 and 30 to recieve green cards and ability to obtain driver licenses, if going to school or enlist in the Ary forces? This done 2 months before the election. The majority that voted for Obama were young between 18 and 50, single women and minorities.

    November 18, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. jpmichigan

    Meant to say between 18 and 30.

    November 18, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. NoKidding

    There were plenty of insults that voters won't forget, and most of the time the insults were misplaced, however, the republicans seemed to fully support them when he was running his campaign. Only now that he has fallen off the horse that they begin to kick him.

    November 18, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. michael

    Talking about the kettle calling the pot black! What a hypocrite! This is the same man who called President Obama a "food stamp" president and other names.

    November 18, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. ardale

    Whatever your views on President Obama, Mitt Romney's overwhelming cluelessness disqualified his candidacy and foretold how awful he would be as a President.

    November 18, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    Nutty Gingrich, where did you go before election that Robme was making all the statement, I was writing that this guy is not even qualified to be a cook in WH. Ha, idiots. Even NC realizes not to vote GOP nuts, idiots.

    November 18, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. ted

    What is amazing is that Jindal and Barbour and all the rest had nothing to say ab out Romney prior to the election. Did any of them coach him on what to say? Doubtful. But now they are all about telling him off and telling him he is unhelpful and his comments are wrong. Well, GOP, they were wrong before the election, but you abdicated your message to him and he alone has sunk the GOP. Well, Faux news, Rove and Limbarf played important roles in topedoing the GOP.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    November 18, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. i'malib

    I agree. I voted for obama because the other guy said I would have to get a job. What a loser!

    November 18, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Wanderer

    The GOP is still a Tea Party but knows nothing about the real taste of tea leaves.

    November 18, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. Margaret

    Romneys remarks were stupid. Obama was not handing out gifts, he was however talking about things people cared about. But lets not dump on Romney. His choice of Ryan turned a lot of people off true. But there was a lot of lies spread on both sides. Romney did work while in college, he did earn money as a businessman (we might not approve of some of his business practices), he does give a lot to charity, he has seen other parts of the world, he does have experience as a governor. I am sure he also did not mean harm to his dog. However much as I hate to agree with Newt he said a lot of right things. I know I am not the only one who felt insulted by the Republicans. Words hurt.

    November 18, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. time

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

    Graham is right.

    November 18, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. Eulajoe

    Geez-Ya lose one little presidential election & suddenly you're the GO P-arty's Pinata!!! It seems odd that while Rom's new statements go hand-in-hand with his 47% diatribe, his rad-right cohorts now act shocked. I guess when there's blood in the water...

    November 18, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. Peter

    Wow. The Republican elite are sure in a hurry to distance themselves from the guy who they thought was Presidential material just a few weeks ago!

    November 18, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. Dude in Colorado

    Oh my, perhaps 2012 is the year of the apocalypse! I'm finding myself in agreement with – GULP! – Gingrich!

    November 18, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. john alaamName

    Am not surprise a sore loser has nothing good to say

    November 18, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. enuff

    Romney finally has the freedom to say EXACTLY what he thinks and feels. He is showing exactly how two faced he was really willing to be to get that office. People kept calling him on it, And people kept buying the "compassion" and that it was just the media. The leopard has finally shown his true spots and even his own team is flabbergasted by it.

    November 18, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. scamtannehill

    "And then they turned on each other"

    November 18, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Andrew Hyatt Masset

    What??!! newty actually said something logical, and non conspiratorial!!?? Politics DOES make strange bedfellows...Then again Newty was quite adamant about his attacks on 'Wrongmney' at the beginning of the Repukiklan debates...bravo get a job.

    November 18, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Hiram

    "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.”"

    The only way the GOP is going to "catch up" is for them to at least make an attempt to do so, rather than their continuing their insults of the American People who thrashed them in this Election.

    November 18, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. GonzoinHouston

    Waddayaknow, Gingrich says something intelligent and truthful. Even a blind squirrel sometimes finds an acorn.

    November 18, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Morgiana

    Nearly every time Romney opened his mouth, he inserted his foot. What more can one say.

    November 18, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. w l jones

    Not to long ago the so call African American voted 100% for white candidate for many years because theirs were no no Colored on any ballot. what the beef!

    November 18, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. EPAB

    Get the hell out of the way, GOP. You're a drag on the future of our Country.

    November 18, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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