Gingrich’s surge has pretty much made him the GOP frontrunner. But will his past comments come back to haunt him? The Daily Beast rounds up some of the most out-there things the ex-speaker has said.
“When Secretary Sebelius said the other day she would punish insurance companies that told the truth about the cost of Obamacare, she was behaving exactly in the spirit of the Soviet tyranny.”
—Values Voter Summit, 9/17/11
“And if you want to put people in jail—I want to second what Michele said—you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble.”
—Republican debate, October 2011
“The poorest children in the poorest neighborhoods should have jobs in the schools that they go to…The kids could mop the floor and clean up the bathroom and get paid for it and it would be OK.”
—Fundraiser dinner in Iowa, 12/1/11
“I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time [my grandchildren are] my age they will be in a secular, atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”
—Address to Cornerstone Church in Texas, March 2011
“The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.”
—Interview with Mother Jones magazine, October 1989
“The secular socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.”
—In his book, To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine, May 2010
“A mere 40 years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it, and that’s what freedom is all about.”
—Speaking at the Republican National Convention, August 1996
“I want to say to the elite of this country—the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you in Littleton… of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done, and instead foisting upon the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don’t have the courage to look at the world you have created.”
—Speaking about the Columbine shootings, May 1999
“This is, by the way, one of the great tragedies of the Bush administration. The more successful they’ve been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we’re in danger. And therefore, the better they’ve done at making sure there wasn’t an attack, the easier it is to say, ‘Well, there was never going to be an attack anyway.’ It’s almost like they should every once in a while have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us.”
—Speaking in Huntington, N.Y., April 2008
“I did no lobbying of any kind, period. For a practical reason, I’m gonna be really direct, okay. I was charging $60,000 a speech and the number of speeches was going up, not down. Normally, celebrities leave and they gradually sell fewer speeches every year. We were selling more.”
—Campaign stop in Bluffton, S.C., 11/30/11
“It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid. Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”
—Speaking at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, 11/21/11
“All the Occupy movement start with the premise that we owe them everything,” Gingrich said. “They take over a public park they didn’t pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn’t pay for, to beg for food from places they don’t want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park, so they can self-righteously explain they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything. That is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country, and why you need to reassert something by saying to them, ‘Go get a job right after you take a bath.’”
—Speaking at Iowa family values forum, 11/19/11
“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”
—Interview with the National Review, 9/11/10
“How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn’t get out of the way of a hurricane.”
—Speaking at CPAC, 5/3/07
“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. What I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn’t trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them.”
By: The Daily Beast, December 12, 2011
One of the biggest pieces of news out of Saturday’s debate is that Mitt Romney offered to bet Rick Perry $10,000 over the latter’s claim that Romney wrote in his book that he viewed the individual mandate as a “model” for the country. Dems and Republicans alike are pouncing on the casual offer of a large wager as proof that Romney is out of touch, and reporters are predicting that this moment could crystallize a national media narrative about Romney.
But while the $10,000 moment is politically problematic and revealing in some ways, it doesn’t really deserve to rise to the level of national narrative. What’s more deserving of a national storyline about Romney is his serial dishonesty, his willingness to say and do anything to win.
This morning, Romney is pushing back on the idea that there was anything amiss about the $10,000 bet offer, arguing that he picked an “outrageous” sum to highlight just how “outrageous” Perry’s claim was. But Perry’s claim — while not completely accurate — wasn’t all that outrageous.
Perry argued that Romney wrote that the individual mandate he passed as governor of Massachusetts “should be the model for the country.” It’s true, as PolitiFact points out, that Romney’s book did also say that such reforms should be implemented at the state level. But Romney has in fact talked about the mandate as a national model: In 2007, he said he hoped that “most” states would adopt it, and added that he hopes to see “a nation that’s taken a mandate approach.” Romney is now trying to obscure the fact that he plainly saw his chief accomplishment as something that should ultimately be adopted on a national, or quasi-national, scale.
More broadly, political reporters and commentators are always tempted to seize on such moments as the $10,000 bet as defining of a candidate’s character. But this moment is ultimately almost as trivial as was John Edwards’ $400 haircut. More important is the broader pattern of dissembling and dishonesty that only begins with his equivocations over the mandate. To wit: Romney attacked Newt Gingrich for opposing mass deportation of longtime illegal residents without saying whether he supports such deportation. Romney continues to insist Obama apologized for America, even though this has been repeatedly proven flatly false. Romney released an ad ripping Obama’s quotes out of context in a highly dishonest way — and the campaign later boasted about the media attention the dishonesty secured. Romney falsely asserted that Obama is “bowing to foreign dictators” — then his campaign later insisted the claim was “metaphorical.” And so on.
This broader pattern is what deserves the status of national narrative about Romney’s character, not some throwaway line about a bet.
By: Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, The Line Plum, December 12, 2011
GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich (oh how I love typing that!) is fighting hard to negate much of the baggage that will bedevil him over the coming year. Like the story of how he accosted his first wife with divorce matters while she was recovering from surgery at a hospital.
To try and rewrite that bit of his sordid history, Newt enlisted his daughter Jackie, who was 13 at the time of the incident, and apparently claims no talk of divorce occurred at that hospital visit.
For years, I have thought about trying to correct the untrue accounts of this hospital visit. After all, I was at the hospital with them, and saw and heard what happened. But I have always hesitated, as it was a private family matter and my mother is a very private person.
So what did she see and hear at that hospital visit?
[H]ere’s what happened:My mother and father were already in the process of getting a divorce, which she requested.
Dad took my sister and me to the hospital to see our mother.
She had undergone surgery the day before to remove a tumor.
The tumor was benign.
As with many divorces, it was hard and painful for all involved, but life continued.
Notice anything missing? Yeah, pretty much everything that happened at that visit. And there’s a reason she might want to skip any details. They were as nasty as advertised. Here’s her mother recounting the (then-unchallenged) event to a reporter for the Washington Post, Jan. 3, 1985 (ellipses are in the original article):
“He can say that we had been talking about [divorce] for 10 years, but the truth is that it came as a complete surprise,” says Jackie Gingrich, in a telephone interview from Carrollton. “He’s a great wordsmith . . . He walked out in the spring of 1980 and I returned to Georgia. By September, I went into the hospital for my third surgery. The two girls came to see me, and said Daddy is downstairs and could he come up? When he got there, he wanted to discuss the terms of the divorce while I was recovering from the surgery . . . To say I gave up a lot for the marriage is the understatement of the year.”
Yup. The reality is a lot harsher than the new sanitized version Newt and his daughter are peddling. A Newsweek reporter actually challenged Gingrich on this:
When the subject came up in my conversation with Gingrich, he urged me to read Jackie’s column. I told him that I had, and suggested that the actual story of that day, as recalled in contemporaneous accounts, was more complicated. Jackie, a cancer survivor, was in the hospital for the removal of a tumor, which proved benign. According to the Gingriches’ pastor at the time, the Rev. Brantley Harwell, Gingrich brought his daughters to visit their mother, and while he was there, he began discussing particulars of the proposed divorce settlement—“division of property, alimony, that kind of thing,” Harwell would recall. (Harwell, who recounted his version of events in 1995, died this summer.) A bitter argument ensued, which Jackie later discussed with her pastor and others.
So how does Newt square away his new claim that the hospital story is a big lie, with the fact that it wasn’t?
“I haven’t disputed that there was an angry discussion,” Gingrich says now. “We got into an argument. Now, how many people do you know going through a divorce end up occasionally getting into arguments? That then got spun into its worst possible interpretation.”
Well, so much for claiming that story was a lie.
By: Markos “Kos” Moulitsas, Daily Kos, December 12,2011
The latest 2012 GOP presidential frontrunner, Newt Gingrich, has, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) before him, released a plan to overhaul the U.S. tax code by giving taxpayers the option of paying a single, flat, income tax rate, as opposed to using today’s progressive tax code. In fact, Gingrich goes a bit further than Perry, setting his flat rate at 15 percent, as opposed to Perry’s 20 percent.
Gingrich claims that his plan will “allow Americans the freedom to choose to file their taxes on a postcard, saving hundreds of billions in unnecessary costs each year.” However, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, the plan will also achieve another of Gingrich’s ends — giving millionaires a tax cut of more than $600,000 per year:
Gingrich’s plan would create an optional 15 percent flat tax with a per-person deduction of $12,000. He would drop the corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent from 35 percent, allow businesses to write off capital expenses and eliminate taxes on capital gains and estates, according to his website.
People earning more than $1 million a year would receive an average tax cut of $613,689 in 2015, compared with what they pay now. That change would boost their after-tax income by 28.7 percent and put their average tax rate at 11.9 percent.
Under the plan, half of the entire benefit goes to the richest 1 percent of taxpayers. The richest 0.1 percent of the country will receive a tax cut worth nearly $2 million each and every year. These tax cuts are in addition to what the wealthy are already receiving from their disproportionate share of the Bush tax cuts.
The end result of the plan would be millionaires paying a lower tax rate than middle-class families, as a millionaire would pay an 11.9 percent rate, while a family making $40,000-$50,000 would pay 12.7 percent.
Gingrich has already criticized his top competitor, Mitt Romney, for not lavishing enough tax breaks onto the wealthy. And it would seem that Gingrich’s critique is extremely genuine, as his own tax plan hands out tons of breaks to the very wealthy, in the misguided hope that prosperity will then trickle down to everybody else.
By: Pat Garofalo, Think Progress, December 12, 2011