Gingrich on ‘self-deportation’: It’s ‘the most anti-human phrase’
January 30th, 2013
08:57 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich on ‘self-deportation’: It’s ‘the most anti-human phrase’

(CNN) – Just over a year after Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney battled in the first primaries for the GOP presidential nomination, the former House speaker on Wednesday blasted his ex-political foe for advocating an immigration policy of “self-deportation” during the campaign.

“I said we're not going to deport grandmothers who've been here for 25 years. Romney came and said, ‘Well they'll self-deport,’” Gingrich said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

“That is the most anti-human phrase you can imagine,” said the Georgian.

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Gingrich’s comments come as the GOP grapples with its image among Latinos, especially on the topic of immigration. President Barack Obama overwhelmingly won among the voting bloc, 71% to 27%, and now Republicans are part of a national push to reform the country’s immigration system.

At a debate last January, Romney said he was in favor of "self-deportation," a policy that involves creating barriers for undocumented workers so that they choose to leave the country to find better opportunities. Romney has since been roundly criticized for his position, even more so from his own party after the election loss.

Asked who was to take the blame for the Republican nominee’s lack of popularity among Latinos, Gingrich said “you have to blame Mitt Romney.”

“You think a grandmother is going to self-deport? Leave her children and grandchildren?” Gingrich said, arguing that such a position creates outreach problems for the GOP. “That's why we didn't just lose Latinos. We lost Asian-Americans by a bigger margin than we lost Hispanics.”

Gingrich said the party’s message on immigration is honest and sometimes candid, but the GOP could perhaps tweak its tone on the issue.

“I think it was very unfortunate and frankly helped cost us the election,” he said.

As for his own position on immigration, Gingrich said he is "modestly encouraged" by the bipartisan group of eight senators who outlined their framework for immigration reform, which includes tighter border security and a pathway to citizenship. However, Gingrich doesn't think a comprehensive bill can get passed.

"I think you can pass even or eight bills that together form a comprehensive reform," he said, saying a bigger bill will lead to more delays, red tape and less transparency.

While he said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who’s part of the so-called “Gang of Eight” is “ moving us in the right direction,” he just doesn’t want to see lawmakers “get pushed into a corner where you have to once again say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to some 1,700 pages."

The former speaker was one of the first Republican commentators to take to the airwaves after the election and call for change on the issue. The morning after Election Day, Gingrich argued the party needed to improve on not only reaching out, but being more inclusive.

"The difference between outreach and inclusion is outreach is when five white guys have a meeting and call you," he said on CNN. "Inclusion is when you're in the meeting."

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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Hotdog

    You mean he hasn't started his colony on the moon yet? Who really cares what Newt Gingrich has to say. It's a shame that CNN would waste their time to print any thing that he says.

    January 30, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. Ancient Texan

    True. Romney did cost himself a lot of votes with that statement.

    January 30, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    The moral high ground of immigration reform is still a steep climb for many in the Republican Party.

    January 30, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |

    Newt Gingrich? Who is this person again? YAWN.

    January 30, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    No legislation should ever be passed that has not been read by the members of Congress. I don't care how long it takes them to read it.

    January 30, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  6. WachetAuf

    It is possible that Gingrich has overcome his own malignant form of narcissism with his recognition of the narcissism of the GOP as recently represented by Mitt Romney. It is possible. However, one thing about narcissists is that some of them know how to manipulate the media and the voters. He has learned, over the course of many years and failures, to mimmick and display what appears to be compassion for his fellow travelers. Still, he is only an empty shell of a man without any core. It is what narcissists do. They are addicted to power.

    January 30, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Newt , Please go away and stay away !

    Or at least change your wig !

    January 30, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  8. Larry L

    Romney is the sort of candidate you get when the Republican Primary requires an ultra-right-wing, Fox news drone and the General Election requires common sense. Romney was bland, deceptive, and dishonest. Americans rejected him and his ridiculous comments. Gingrich is smart and dishonest. The GOP is in trouble.

    January 30, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  9. Miles

    This "come to Jesus" moment the republicans are having is hollow and self serving. All of the anti women, anti minority, anti gay rhetoric they used for decades, including in the last election- would still be going on if Romney won.

    January 31, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  10. jerseylou

    So Romney zig and you Gingrich zag. So Gingrich if Romney would have won you would have zig and the sugar coated racism would have been okay.Wow you guys are way,way out there.

    January 31, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  11. Brandon

    Rubio is part of the "Gang of Eight?" I am losing track of all these "Gang of #" arrangements. They don't even mean anything.

    January 31, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  12. stars

    Get rid of the old tried racist white guys and we can all move forward. Thank you god for taking the veil off of these bigots for the world to see. Wonder why the other countries dont like us. It is because of the bigot like Newt, Rush and the hold faux freaks on fox fool chanel.

    January 31, 2013 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  13. Jane

    The bogus "wisdom" of Newt.

    January 31, 2013 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  14. T

    .......Newtie........still trying to stay relevant...........He doesnt want to be like Palin.........

    January 31, 2013 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  15. fiftyfive55

    Ya know,Newt,why dont YOU take a stroll thru south central L.A. sometime ? I mean without your security team,go on foot , at night , then tells us what you think of illegals and the govt taking away our right to self protection. Go on Newt,I dare ya !!!

    January 31, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  16. Marie MD

    Oh please, after the twit was the last clow left you campaigned for him so that you, probably, could pay off your debt to adelson.
    Say one thing, think another when convenient is the mantra of the rethugs.

    January 31, 2013 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  17. Name lynn

    Take a back sit gingrich you look good that way.

    January 31, 2013 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  18. anonoymous

    Sounds like Newt's trying to run again.. Too bad we like him less than we liked Mitt...

    January 31, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |