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. 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 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. AgrippaMT

    It's so much fun watching Mittens and little Annie destroying themselves with their rage, anger and lies.

    November 18, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. emmanuel

    Just look at them all,from Romney to Gingrich,Santorum to Bauchman,Hannity to O'raelly, Josh Mendel to Husted are all lunatics, what is the difference between call Obama a food stamp president by Ginger or whatever his name is, to Romney saying obama bribed the middle class?hannity calling the election fraud to Oraelly calling the middle class lazy who only voted for obama cos they want free stuff? or the devil incarnate call paul ryan who call 30% of the country takers?John sununu who called our president lazy and not bright?even your party men and women today are now saying you are out of touch and that you suffer romnesia just as your boss, hope he has fired you now after loosing badly thanks to your bad advices.

    November 18, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. lobo joe

    RE: Newt

    who in their right mind adheres to the dribble this pontificating tub of lard, other than the talking heads on CNN?

    November 18, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. TAK

    One of the things wrong about the GOP is their unquestioning reverance for Fox News. Republicans are afraid to say bad things about the commentary on Fox for fear of getting that Fair and Balanced network on their tails. So here we have a talking head on election night say that the people who elected Obama were the kind that expected "free stuff." Hardly anyone on the right disagrees, so now the GOP flag bearer, Mitt Romney, says essentially the same thing. A few of the more literate conservatives get on Mitt's case just because he parroted something he heard on Fox.

    For a start, GOP, distance yourself from a network whose policies and views, although conservative, are dictated by a foreigner who seeks the revenue that high rating brings in and lusts to have undue influence on our electoral process.

    November 18, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. learntoread

    the revolution always eats its own....always...

    November 18, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. stainpouch

    Now Newt's telling us what's crazy? Alrighty then.

    November 18, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. reverend right


    November 18, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Hey, I love to had 4 full years without a new war, but not happy with the continued Afgan War.

    Now, I'm more HHHaaaaaaPppPyyyy, because we will have 4 more yeas without A new war,

    so, just compare Mr. Romney ready to go arround the world making wars, and gess what?


    November 18, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. bcrunner

    If some people believed Romney when he said he did not really mean the comments about the 47%, then these comments really cemented that he actually did believe EVERY word in said in tha video. Thank God he did not win the elecetion... How out of touch can a person be with the every day middle class American in this country!! Of course, if you saw the people at his rallies, they looked nothing like every day America....

    November 18, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Fran

    "Nuts" indeed. The whole Tea/Republican Party has become nuttier than a fruitcake. Voters saw that and voted thusly.

    November 18, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Sobering, mind-numbing thought: Romney actually won over 49 percent of the vote with all of his obvious faults in the eyes of the majority that gave the President about 2.5 million more votes. How such huge swaths of working people, middle class or lower, could vote for the phony, lying, disconnected Mormom is amazing. And racism only explains part of it. Most of the nation doesn't think like the Deep South.

    November 18, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  13. Megha Shyam

    I think the Romney's analysis is a true sentiment of his core belief and he has to say it to look at himself in the morning and create a new reason for his failure. In my experience that is very typical of some CEOs I know (not all but some) to offer any excuse to stay and save his/her face.

    All this shows is how pitiful he is and how clueless he is. You all remember the $ 10000 bet moment? You all remember Corporations are people my friend? among many others we saw during the campaign and it was very clear by early September he had absolutely no clue and obviously totally unqualified for the job he was seeking. Not willing to face the press for the final weeks of the campaign and not take any questions shouted at him by some brave reporters demonstrated how inept and uncomfortable he was because he had no control over the situation. This is where President Clinton was a master. Even though there were many things that I would not agree with, he was an excellent communicator. I would give Romney on a scale of 1-10, perhaps 1-1.5. Clinton and Reagan perhaps an 8 or 9; GW perhaps a 2.

    November 18, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    GOP needs to decide whether they want to lead or to destroy. Thus far, they have chosen destroy.

    November 18, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. bigfoot

    Can you imagine now if Romney had actually become president?

    November 18, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. Bob

    Who really cares what Newt thinks anyway, anymore. He is a much a part of the problem as Mitt – maybe more. We need a new group of leaders, with fresh insights and a new, inclusive party platform. Newt ain't any of that.

    November 18, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. Mary1972

    If Graham, McCain and the rest of GOP don't get it, they are going to loose big in 2014.

    November 18, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. JohnK

    I think for once we should listen to Newt. Who is a better judge about who's a nut than he?

    November 18, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. Tony in Maine

    "First of all, it's insulting," Gingrich, Master Insulter, told all those who had not switched to HGTV.

    November 18, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  20. TomNPitt

    What's this – Newt trying to sound normal??

    November 18, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. RD

    I'm a strong conservative and I don't agree the Speaker of Gov. Jindal. No individual holding federal, state or local elected office should be allowed to put forth or sign any legislation that provides for a particular group or class of people.... That's why we are in this predicament in the first place. We have a tax code riddled with special deductions and tax credits for the very few and an educational system so out of touch our children are out educated by third world countries and lastly a national work force which is lazier than a donkey at night.
    Wake-up America we are headed for a “Lost Decade” and you don’t see it coming. A second recession will be devastating to this country because we will take down the rest of the world with us.
    Follow the me on twitter as we take this ride together… RI_Roger

    November 18, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. Connie

    Just makes me so happy that he wasn't elected. He truly is so out of touch. To think that young women were bought with free contraception. That college kids were bought with loan forgiveness. Goodbye Mitt. I'm white, and married and yet I voted for Obama. Too bad.

    November 18, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. GloSeattle

    I haven't agreed with Newt in years – hats off, Newt you got it right this time 🙂

    November 18, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. jerry walters

    Why in the world do these networks and news organizations keep bringing clowns like gingrich back around. We have heard enough from this guy who has been wrong far more often than he has been right. Put these drones out to pasture already!

    November 18, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  25. Tman

    This is surprising coming from a man who called the Obama "the food stamp" president. I thought he would say it is ok. The GOP is done as a party so sad.

    November 18, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
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