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. Robrob

    Now that Romney has joined the long list of GOP failures, the rest of the gang feel free to throw him under the bus. Where were they a couple months ago?

    November 18, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Clement Arbruster Bodog Castlenut, Jr.

    Mr. Gingrich is perfectly correct. I had every intention of voting for Mr. Romney, but 2 days before the election I received a very nice toaster-oven from the Obama administration. What was I to do?

    November 18, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. SFRich

    Romney's characterization of the election results is just more evidence of his lack of wisdom in understanding the American electorate. It's also demonstrates a certain myopia in his own policies. For example, suppose we change a few words around in his statement:

    "What [Romney, Romney's] campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition [of rich white men], [promise] them extraordinary financial gifts from the government [such as reduced taxes and fewer regulations in banking, trade, and environmental laws], and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote."

    What Romney and the GOP failed to realize is that there are fewer their base left, and the remaining swing voters were not impressed by their past record, nor their backward social policies.

    November 18, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Donna Richardson

    Circular firing squad. Or, alternately, wolves eating their wounded. Either way–monsters and animals.

    November 18, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Robert Warner

    This election has made me so proud of my country. After the re-election of George Bush, I wondered if the country had become collectively stupid. That theory, however, was disproven through the two time election of Barack Obama. This past election has, however, proven another of my theories; the more Americans show up at the poll, the more the Democratic Party wins. The true character of this nation is represented by the fairness and compassion of the Democratic Party rather than the nasty greed of the Republican Party. If ALL democrats vote, and ALL republicans vote, the Republican Party would go extinct except in the seditious south.

    November 18, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. nota bobblehead

    Let Mitt keep talking he is the gift that keeps on giving. I hope to hear a lot more from him explaining the views and true feelings of the republican party.

    November 18, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. peter

    Romney is still wondering why he lost. This is why he would have made a horrible president. Presidents have to see things, Romney is blind; they have to have courage, Romney lacks the courage to recognize the truth because the truth ain't flattering to him.

    November 18, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. peter

    The election may be over, but Romney doesn't seem to be done losing.

    November 18, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. Gary

    Romneys comments are consistent with the ones he made to sonors during the campaign. Just glad Gingrich and Romney are no longer relevant.

    November 18, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  10. Surfer George

    Republicans hung their hopes on a three legged horse in this race and publicly CALLED him a legitimate contender and that is after defaming him in every way possible in the primaries.

    By all rights, they could have done better for NEXT TIME by making the statements they are making now, weeks before people could even early vote.
    As it is, Hillary will probably WALK into the Oval Office before they get a chance to vacuum up President Obama's footprints. TEAPublicans will not allow an actual centrist candidate to get the nomination and the general electorate will not elect an extremist or a flipity-floppity phony fake.

    November 18, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Legalizereason

    GOP=Greviously Out of Touch with the People.

    November 18, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. CraigRB

    Romney lost because he's phony, arrogant and didn't have a message. Obama's doing a good job & the country is on the right track and it's only going to get better.

    November 18, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  13. ronjayaz

    I dont know Y I like Gingrich but he's fair FOR REPUBLICANTS and duznt toe the line. He has a mind of his own.

    November 18, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. leif

    almost sounds like some republicans are GLAD romney didn't win – he didn't have the chops for the job

    November 18, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. kmp

    This coming from the man who called our president the welfare president.

    November 18, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. LouAZ

    Did Marryin' Newt say this before he left for his catholic moon base ? He is as responsible for the Tory Party (Repub/TPers) wanderingf in the wilderness as King Ronmey and Prince Rayn. No one cares what he thinks (if he thinks at all). Don't look back . . . Onward Christian Soldiers ! God, King, and Country (well maybe not Country), God, King, and Party !

    November 18, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. thom

    Newt, Please, just go away...... The Republican party needs to let go of this guy and many others.

    November 18, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. obsthetimes

    Its disgusting how these republicans have abandoned romney and are treating him with so much disrespect. romney would've made an outstanding candidate but obama was the much better polictician. I hope these so called career republicans lose and get to eat some crow.

    November 18, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Don

    Romney's remark just shows that we are better off without him. He is totally out of touch. His tax plan was a gift to his backer/owners; he doesn't see that.

    November 18, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. Tom

    The election is over, and for the last time I will say "Willard "Mitt" Romney is not, and will never be, presidential timber." He's a freaking fake!

    November 18, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  21. Ed Zepp

    With Mitt's proclivity for spouting offensive and thoughtless rhetoric,just imagine all the stupid things we would have had to endure from a President Romney...Good riddance, Loser.

    November 18, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  22. rick

    Registered republican here – and the last one running was Ronald Reagan. The candidate has to have the backbone first and foremost to go against anyone, even his one party or you dont look believable. If Mit would have put his beliefs before the "bosses" in congress, we would be swearing him in in January. Simple as that.

    November 18, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. Now you figure it out?

    This last election was all about "buying the white house" and Mitt basically admits that his group decided to let big businessmen chip in hundreds of millions and it would be a lock. It was a simple plan, used int 1896 when Rockefeller and Carnagie and JP Morgan band together and got Mckinnely on the ticket and spent alot of money to make sure he beat Willian J Bryans.. the man who was out to stop big business monopoly and bring fair labor laws to workers.
    Obama didn't buy any votes, he just outplayed the rich.

    November 18, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. Mike

    Give it up, Newt. The only reason you're saying this is because you're already maneuvering for 2016. You could fill books with the nutty things you've said and done.

    November 18, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  25. boyamidumb

    Newt, for once we agree!!!

    November 18, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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