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. bill.x

    Hispanics voted for Obama because he was the better man; had the best solutions and vision for the country and Hispanics. Hispanics also voted Democratic because it is the better party. Republicans always used the Hispanics as bait to get their racist voters out to vote by being anti-Hispanic – as a matter of strategy.

    November 18, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. Boyd

    GOP is out of touch... The majority in this country is mid class. And they keep on saying things like this, they have no chance of winning election. You cant insult people who would vote for you.

    November 18, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. us_1776

    Keep digging yourself further into the hole Repubs.


    November 18, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. CBP

    These men helped to bring Mr. Romney forward as the GOP nominee. They had ample opportunity to get to know him and even to counsel him on how his remarks were perceived while he was still a candidate. They all supported him once he won the primaries and delegates. If these men had issues with Mr. Romney they should have expressed them. If they felt uneasy about him a a candidate they had the option to stay undecided.†hey all supported Mr. Romney and supposedly campaigned for him. Once he lost then they could make any statements they wished.

    They needed to have a heart to heart talk when he won the nomination not now.

    November 18, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. lindaluttrell

    Sore loser syndrome...or was Mittens really trying to say the Prez "bought" votes from the 47 percent???

    November 18, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. tallone

    All this Republican talk about a bigger tent, reaching out, being more inclusive,
    etc. is just spin. They haven't changed or grown up. They're just putting new lipstick
    on the same old pig.

    November 18, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. RPM53

    The Republican Party has always pitched images such as: Mom & Apple Pie to have you believe voting Republican was the only American vote that counted. Mitt's speeches espoused the same things but his eyes and smile gave away what was really in his heart. Behind closed door Mitt words matched what was in his heart.

    November 18, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Expat American

    The Moon Colony would have been a gift for not only Americans; but all mankind.

    November 18, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. thequeenbee

    Nice to see Gingrich join the fray–would have been nicer had his comments come a bit sooner, before anyone could see the way the wind was blowing on Romney and his attempts at deflection from taking the usual GOP blame that always follows losing. For the GOP which always has a nasty, bully mentality–it is NEVER the party at fault but the individual–and they blame accordingly. Romney is a sore loser who is reflecting the sentiments of his party–but he is also the party straw man–it may seem ugly–but "them is the rules" for a party that never takes responsibility for what they do or don't do and cannot and will not EVER admit to what ails them when they can just fob the blame off on their next sacrificial lamb.

    Romney is responsible for being a liar and a flake–but he never nominated himself. The GOP has only itself to blame for its platform nonappeal, its relationship with minorities, women and gays...and its failure to change the tacts of division, racism and social dictatorial theocracy which they have won with for the past 40 years.

    November 18, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Fritz

    Newt you just threw Willard under the bus. God I love it when the Republicans eat there own. Remember people todays Republican party is not the party of Reagan. In 2010 the Republican party was taken over by the hate filled Tea Party bunch.

    November 18, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    What Gingrich and Graham and Lindsay and all the other GOP yahoos don't get is that it's not their rhetoric that needs to change, it's their party's policies – which are all PROVEN FAILURES.

    I know I'm a broken record on this, but it just blows my mind how many people keep falling for the GOP's nonsense and time and again vote against their own self-interest! After a while, I just don't see how they can keep doing the same dumb thing over and over and over again ...

    November 18, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People

    The GOP parasites are definitely turning on the host, now that they know there are no "guvmint" hand outs in the guise of Cabinet jobs in a none existent Robme Presidential administration.

    November 18, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. billy davis

    The GOP is the party of "NUTS"... The politics of hate is not a winning strategy. Someone forgot to tell them it's not 1950 anymore.

    November 18, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Pete/Ark

    Romney : the republican politician so stupid that even other republican politicians realized it.

    November 18, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    Quick question about who said first that President Obama got votes because of the "gifts" he promised: Mittens or Limbaugh.

    Because Limbaugh has saying this the day after the election, on November 7, 2012: "It’s just very difficult to beat Santa Claus. People are not going to vote against Santa Claus, especially when the alternative is being your own Santa Claus. In a country of children where the option is Santa Claus or work, what wins?”

    Just as after the 2008 election, when Limbaugh said he hoped President Obama would fail and gave permission for the GOP to block everything the President tried to do, Limbaugh is calling the shots for the GOP. And he's just a mouthpiece for the likes of the Koch brothers who tried to buy the election.

    To believe otherwise is just plain foolish ...

    November 18, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    The party of the South cannot change; reactionaries, stupid clowns, uneducated, obtuse and a thousand other terrible things about the American South impedes the Republican party from having a half-way rational political ideology; the Republicans wanted a southern based party first advocated by Barry Goldwater, and they got what they wanted. Let us hope that party will disappear along with the mormon cult. Ameica for Americans, not Southern pigs.

    November 18, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Shills

    There are a lot of 'free stuff' in elections and this included the 'Obama Phones' with monthly plans that I don't even have to over a million people who got them on tax-payer money. Obama's re-election manipulation spending tax payers money giving 'free stuff' to focus groups is NOT the only one who's done this. Sick of the corruption all the way around frankly.

    November 18, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Robert

    The concept of the GOP having a "bigger tent" is akin to the concept of the Nazi Party deciding to embrace the Jews.

    November 18, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. BradKT

    There is a new sign outside of RNC Headquarters:


    Other than that, nothing has changed. The GOP has never conserned itself with whether its leaders were insulting minorities. That's why Blacks turned their backs on the GOP ages ago. I remember when Earl Butz said that all you needed to do to get the Black vote was to give them loose shoes, a tight puss- and a warm place to sh!* ." Despite the outcry, the very next day, Republicans gave him a standing ovation at his next public speaking appearance. That's the real GOP we know. They have a long history of insulting people...especially minorities.

    It is absolutely ludrcrous to hear Newt Gingrich condemn the remarks that anyone has made as "insulting." Newt was especially insulting to the millions of law-adiding Muslims who are American citizens during the porimary season.

    November 18, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. thequeenbee

    Think again–this is why Lindsay and others do not get this–their policies HAVE worked and convinced at least their base so they think it will work against other groups–what they do not realize is that minorities, gays and women bring a more objective and skeptical view to the GOP because they have all been targeted and on the outside looking in. Because of this–it will be a lot harder to convince minorities and gays of the sincerity of the GOP and they are less likely to fall for the rhetoric–because unlike the rhetoric which reassures a white male dominated status quo–there is NOTHING about that scenario that does not make it glaringly obvious–that any "status quo" does not and cannot include the minorities who were always excluded and scapegoated. In other words, if we embrace the GOP 1950's ideal world, then we cannot embrace minorities as equals or even as being treated failrly because they were NEVER equal or treated equitably in America's 1950.
    The status quo is not reachable once minorities and gays are included and THIS is the GOP conundrum.

    November 18, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. NoTags

    Romney should just stay out of sight. Listening to his rhetoric for nearly six years while he was running for POTUS has been enough.

    November 18, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Willie Purcell

    Romney's comment further shows that America got it right on Nov 6 and I think Bobby Jindal's comment is only partially right. The problem is deeper than liking everyone and the problem the GOP faces is a simple one to fix. It's not enough to like everyone, you have to CARE about everyone and your campaign will reflect the values of everyone thus getting support from everyone.

    November 18, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. goldcup

    If the GOP would put all the money they and their support groups spent on the election on actually listening to why 47% and more voted for the President, then maybe they will win back the people they have alienated by sleeping with the neocons,righthanded religous,teaparty fanatics.

    November 18, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Joshua Ludd

    When the guy talking about building a moon base by the end of his second term before he even gets the field for the nomination narrowed to half a dozen candidates calls you nuts... you, sir, are nuts.

    November 18, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. thequeenbee

    The present GOP platform is NOT achievable by either women, gays or minorities without each demographic agreeing to give up the rights they have now. For instance:

    1. to embrace the GOP platform, gays must agree that they are deviant and in need of deprogramming and God and stop trying to get married or have equal rights to other citizens

    2. Hispanics must embrace and accept that they are only meant to do the jobs white Americans won't do and accept being perceived as only barely above blacks but also lesser than whites AND must help to deport their relatives

    3. Asians and other minorities must also colllude to self denigration and helping to get their relatives back into their own countries

    4. Blacks are considered a lost cause–if considered/when considered, it is expected for them to agree that they are all evil, stupid, lazy and bad and criminal and help white Americans keep themselves disenfranchised with no or low paying jobs and sequestered as much as possible

    5. Women must accept no longer having a say in whether they are brood mares or not and also giving up the ideas of equality or equitable pay in the work place as well as stopping miscegenation (sleeping outside their race) and they must embrace whatever dictates for their bodies and lives decreed by lawmakers.

    The GOP needs each group to do their part to make themselves be inclusive with their present platform. I don't see any group rushing to do this and offering up a token is not going to work. The idea that one getting a plum means the rest of any group eats is played out–everyone knows what a token is and also knows that tokenism is the refuge and insult of every intolerant big0+ on the face of the planet. Those who allow themselves to be used as tokens have their own reward–but that seldom translates into the masses following suit.

    November 18, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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