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. boyamidumb

    Newt, for once we agree!

    November 18, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. alloy555

    The Bible is very clear in the end the people (blind people) will desire a young (in other words inexperienced) leader and people will go crazy over this PERSON and that will be it.

    November 18, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that Romney wasn't really ready and didn't have good ideas to offer. He fought too hard to be accepted by the right that he didn't leve enough room for the middle and left to look at him with a possible second thought.

    November 18, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  4. Jack

    I wish CNN & FOX Noise would give up their obsession with Newt & Trump and all these marginal thinkiers. Yes, they are provacative but they are not new and haven't been for some time. In the past, if you were defeated in a political race, or not in any office, you were not asked for an opinion. Now any crackpot who can incite a reaction gets to air their opinion. Newt is not some old, wise statesman. And Trump is just a carnival barker. I can name others but let's start with shutting down their over-amped voices. There are many more balanced and thoughtful and, need I say intelliegent voices, that should be getting air time. .

    November 18, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  5. John

    Romney lost because he is simply an IDIOT . The best person we could possibly get won. Farewell, Romney .

    November 18, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. Fuzzbee

    Mitt Romney's graceless, clueless exit just makes it clear that the American people made the right choice. Bad message, delivered by a lousy messenger. The only way the GOP restores its credibility is by working WITH Obama to accomplish some tangible & meaningful achievements. Romney's "tax cuts for everybody"message lost. He easily set a new record for flip-flops and conscious lying by any presidential nominee. His blatant disregard for anyone other than older white men (and some of their wives) was too obvious. He lost to the better man, with ideas that are more popular and whose personality is far more relatable. Bye bye, Mitt – enjoy the "private sector."

    November 18, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Sustain

    How long do you really think the handouts are going to last Demoncrats until the country is like Greece , than your have riots in the streets.

    November 18, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. cashmeremafia

    Mitt is just a bitter old man trying to rationalize his loss, and not being able to come to grips with reality – he underestimated his opponent.

    November 18, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  9. perrochato

    Eye of Newt, Marco Tea Party Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Haley Barbour, Kelly Ayotte and on and on. They belong to the faction of the GOP in an act of desperation abadoning the ideals of the GOP they fiercely supported up until Nov. 6, 2012. They obviously still have higher aspirations in politics and see the dead end the GOP has bestowed on them. Paul Ryan on the other hand put the blame on the "urban" parts of the US that voted for Obama. Which urban part would that be, the takers, the blacks, the latinos, the poor? By his and other's reactions, Ryan's faction still adheres to the old stauch GOP ideals. A notice all, it does not matter what face of color you put on yourselves or what flip-flop your are selling, your are still Republicans, you can't shake away from your base. You still have the hate wing of your media circus alive and well, Fox Lies, Limbaugh, Hannitty, Ingram and Coutler. You will continue to deny science, you will continue to introduce legislation that incoporates religion into government, you will continue to introduce and pass legislation that suppresses the vote, you will contnue to abridge womens reproductive rights, you will continue to abridge immigration reform, you will continue to try to privatize social security, voucherize medicare, eliminate Obama Care, you don't accept history and admit that your fiscal and tax policies did not work and those that you oppose did, you will continue to expand defense budgets at the expense of social programs, you will contiue to start wars, your overtures towards minorities are hollow and won't ring true for generations, you will continue to support the rich, they are your biggest donors by far. Adios, MowFohs as Gov. Perry would say.

    November 18, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  10. Jason

    We need a fiscally conservative Republican Party that is libertarian on social issues. Leave abortion alone, leave gay marriage alone, stay out of people's bedrooms, lower taxes and lower barriers to business. That is the formula for Republican success. Ditch the Puritan ideologues and the GOP will thrive again.

    November 18, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. Ming

    I guess when President Obama said "change" in 08, he was also referring to a less racist America.

    November 18, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  12. Richard

    EVERYTHING Romney has said has been right. From the Olympic's mess in Britain to the idea that 1/2 of America now relies on some kind of social welfare. The problem is, Americans are living in denial of the FACT they are now living FAR beyond their means.

    November 18, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  13. Wise1Speak


    Should we (i.e. voters) be impress that Newt Gingrich called out a high profile Republican? NO WAY!!!

    Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, and every GOP/Tea-Party pundit & politician knew that Mitt Romney was a "plastic Ken doll" and a liar that was out of touch with the American middle-class. They said nothing even after Mitt's 47% claims were exposed. And now that the election is over, these hypocrites suddenly know how to call out "Mitt the Arrogant Idiot" for insulting voters from his rich-corporate perch. Newt gets no credit for being honest after the fact.

    November 18, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  14. Steven Colo

    It jibes perfectly with the 47% comment he made earlier.

    November 18, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  15. Thomas

    When Newt calls you nuts, it speaks volumes.

    November 18, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  16. gary

    Always thought Mitt was weak. He had the money to get the nomination and gave Obama a sure win.

    November 18, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  17. James

    There is nothing wrong with GOP policy - at least a lot of it. I vote democrat, but I am pro-life. I prefer to have smaller, fiscally sound government, lower taxes, immigration reform, etc. It's how the GOP dispense their message that continues to be offensive to me and many others. As Gov Jindal stated, if you want people to like you, you have to like them first. Insulting people with talk that suggest their votes were bought will not get them to vote for you. I'm betting that there will be a group of "new" republicans coming out for 2016. The old guard need not apply. It's time for new blood and a new voice.

    November 18, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  18. Josh

    Hmmm if I remember correctly during the repub primary Gingrich. Called romney a liar and a vulture fact all the other candidates were very helpful in pointing ou how bad Romney actually was.....though Gingrich is like a fungus that appears every time you turn over a rock.....And I am fairly sure that Gingrich secretly agrees with Romneys statements...the fact that Obama won with such a poor economy and such a bad first debate shows how poor a candidate romney the conservatives can twist themselves into knots trying to rationalize the defeat but enough people recognized how retro and dangerous this new repub party truly is and how they have been hijacked by the loons....

    November 18, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  19. david Rutledge

    And to think that Romney came within 3 million votes of being our President is terrifying – never mind even the politics – how could so many people vote for such an arrogant stuffed shirt with no vision, no rapport and no intention of coming clean on his taxes?

    November 18, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  20. rs

    Well, that extra $800,000 dollars that Romney was promising to the richest 125,000 Americans in his 20% tax cut certainly wasn't "gift" right? It is amazing how Mr. Romney considered even bigger tax cuts for people who didn't need them necessary, but programs for average Americans were "gifts".

    We are so better off without the likes of Romney.

    November 18, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. Seve

    It is comical how Dems post constantly on boards like. The president is a puppet to the lazy and crazy. Seriously, money will always run this country which means Republicans will always run this country. Go hug trees and complain about the climate. Somebody has to take care of it for the rest of enjoying life. Thanks for doing the dirty work Dems!

    November 18, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  22. Michael, Chapel Hill

    It is partially true. Everyone likes freebies. Obama announce most of the gifts just two to 4 months before the election. In some instances he overlookd congress and established them thru executive order.

    November 18, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  23. Larry in Houston

    oh wow , newtster – lol – u r a pc of work ! lol – all of u guys runnin down your 'ol buddy romney – amazing, I mean wasn't the election over – like over 2 weeks ago ? lol – hate to be a bearer of bad tidings there newty – but the best Man "bailed out" during the primaries. Hunstman was the only one up there behind his podium, that made any sense, and had any conversation that was interesting to the Voters Now Days, not saying things that Voters were interested in, back in the 50's or 60's. wow ! – – as a matter of fact, I really Liked Hearing Jon Huntsman speak, he spoke with character / conviction / and spoke the truth, and he was for ALL People, not the chosen few, like romney was speaking for. oh well, I guess Obama will be our Leader for the next 4 – my Congrats to Obama.

    November 18, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  24. Sf

    Nxt thing to get rid of this thing called jerry mandering which allows districts to be drawn or redrawn so they can effect the outcome of how ongressmen/women are voted in! Republicans actually carried the house with fewer votes than dems...dems had more votes however, their district candidates were minimized because of this redistricting crap. For example, a dems district may only produce 2 congressmen/women and have a large district where as republicans can produce 4 or mose congressmen/women even tho they have a smaller district...they do this to gain control, silently! Wake up america! 2014 is the next step! Vote all these crazy republicans out of office! Yes, we need a two party system but it certainly does not include the tea party or repugs..i say a democratic and independent party is what we need. People that will WORK TOGETHER.

    November 18, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  25. kenny in Nc

    Republicans are the only Party know to man that thinks they can openly insult their voters and still get their vote. They are also the only party of fools that believe their own crap (SPIN).

    November 18, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
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