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Fox News "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript

Interview

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

NEWT GINGRICH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be back with you.

WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, you came out of South Carolina with a big head of steam, according to the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls. Earlier this week, you were leading Romney by seven points. But now, he's leading you by eight points. Question: what's happened?

GINGRICH: Look, Governor Romney has the ability to raise an amazing amount of money out of Wall Street, from Goldman Sachs, to all the major banks.

And he has a basic policy of carpet-bombing his opponent. He doesn't try to build up Mitt Romney. He just tries to tear down whoever he's running against, and it has an effect. And we are in a very tough campaign down here. Ironically, if you look at the three national polls this week, every place elsewhere that he can't carpet bomb, the ideas I'm representing, the scale of change I represent, the conservative movement I represent, we actually have been pulling away from him in national polls. Down here, one of our challenges, two major conservative candidates, between us, clearly beat Romney who is splitting the conservative vote. And I think that's a challenge.

I have been honored to have Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, to drop out and endorse me. Last night, I was delighted to have Herman Cain endorsed me and Sarah Palin has said very positive things. Yesterday, Rudy Giuliani compared me favorably to Reagan and compared Romney unfavorably. So, we're seeing the conservative movement start to come together.

But I give Governor Romney's campaign respect for the sheer volume of negativity that they use and the sheer amount of money they raise on Wall Street.

WALLACE: Six days before the South Carolina primary, you predicted correctly and I think you can sense the momentum there that you were going to win that race and, in fact, you won by 12 points. All right. It's two days before the Florida primary, what's going to happen in Florida?

GINGRICH: I think it is going to be very close. We had a poll a day before yesterday that we were tied. Santorum and I collectively are bigger than Romney, but Romney beats me as long as we split the conservative vote. And we have a tremendous effort underway to reach out to conservatives to get them to see that the only effective to stop a Massachusetts liberal from becoming our nominee is to vote for Newt Gingrich.

I think it's going to be very, very close. We have a good turn out mechanism here. We're very fortunate to have Jose Mallea who ran Marco Rubio's campaign. He's running our campaign. He knows the state really well.

We're going to have Michael Reagan here on Monday, along with Herman Cain. Fred Thompson has been here helping.

WALLACE: Right.

GINGRICH: Todd Palin has endorsed me.

So, all these things coming together, I think it will be much, much closer at these polls, we have a shot at winning. But, frankly, it's uphill against the sheer weight of Romney's money and the negativity of his campaign.

WALLACE: Well, you talk about the negativity of his campaign. This week, you and Romney have run blistering ads against each other. And let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

AD NARRATOR: If we can't trust what Mitt Romney says about his own record, how can we trust him on anything?

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: By an overwhelming vote, they found him guilty of ethics violations. They charged him a very large financial penalty and they raised several of them raise questions about his future effectiveness.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

WALLACE: Now, you say that Romney lies repeatedly and that ad, that we show the first one, you say he can't be trusted -- is Governor Romney fit to be president, sir?

GINGRICH: Well, let me just take those two ads. NBC is asking to take down the ad of Tom Brokaw on it.

The fact is Romney knows that ad is misleading. CNN has done an entire package pointing out on every single count, I was exonerated. I never paid a fine which the term Romney uses over and over again. I did not resign at the time. I served two more years.

We passed the largest capital gains tax cut in history. Unemployment came down to 4.2 percent. We passed the balanced budget act in 1997 and we balanced the budget out as a result of that, for four straight years, the only time in your lifetime.

Romney knows all these things are true. He's running an ad that's factually false.

Now, let's take my ad. Every single thing in my ad is true. And, frankly, the reason that I was relatively flat on Thursday's debate is I don't know how you debate a person in the civil -- being civil, when he stands there and just blatantly doesn't tell the truth.

And I'll give you just one example. Romney said he only voted for Paul Tsongas in the Democratic primary in 1992, the most liberal Democratic running because there was no alternative.

Larry Sabato of Virginia sent out a tweet during the debate and said that was just a falsehood, that, in fact, he could have voted for George H.W. Bush or Pat Buchanan at the same day.

There are time after time after time when you try to engage Governor Romney -- we just learned yesterday, there are 23 foreign accounts that he did not reveal back when he filed his disclosures that have now shown up because he finally revealed his taxes.

And, you know, this guy is supposed to be a great manager. He misses 23 foreign accounts that just happened not to be disclosed.

WALLACE: Let me -- Mr. Speaker, let me ask about one of -- in your ads, what you say one of Romney's alleged lies is, and that is a radio ad he ran charging that you once called Spanish the language of the ghetto. I understand in the debate, he said he doubted it was his ad and, of course, it turned out it was. But isn't the basic charge he made in that ad true?

GINGRICH: I never used the word Spanish in the conversation. I was talking -- I was giving a speech talking about the importance of everybody learning English. There are 94 languages in Miami-Dade College. I gave this talk the other day with students from Miami-Dade with the president of Miami-Dade there, and they all nodded yes. And I said, we don't want anyone trapped -- anyone, this was not a reference to any one language.

We don't want anyone trapped in America not able to speak English because English is the language of commercial success. English is the language that gives you a better job.

Now, he turned that on its head and basically suggested something that was simply, plainly not true.

WALLACE: Well, all right. Wait a second. Here is what you actually said. Here is the clip from 2007. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and so they learn the language of prosperity, and not the language of living in a ghetto.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Now, Mr. Speaker, you are quite right. You never said the word Spanish. But Spanish is, in fact, by far, the language that's most widely spoken in this country, and after there was an uproar about it, you apologized for your comments in Spanish.

GINGRICH: That's right. And I did so deliberately because it had been taken out of context. And if you look at my apology, I tried to make it clear it was not a reference in Spanish.

First of all, and you talk about -- as you know well, ghetto originally was a term for Jewish neighborhoods in the Middle Ages. The idea of -- the question was whether you're -- whatever your language background, this country has over 200 languages and frankly Spanish is the least isolated because it has the largest number of people who speak it. You have all sorts of people who speak in very small languages --

WALLACE: But, sir --

GINGRICH: So, here's the great irony -- here's the irony and here's why Romney's behavior is so outrageous. As governor guess what he was in favor? Immersion in English. He has said this on the debate stage. So, here's a governor who's for immersion in English who attacks because I'm for immersion in English and it's a way for him to try to divide people in a fundamentally false way.

WALLACE: I want to ad move, but I just want to -- just to button this up, because I did look at what you said. I can't -- you said in Spanish, I had it translated. You just said that the words you chose were inartful. You never said that you weren't talking about Spanish.

GINGRICH: Well, that was inartful. I wasn't talking about any single language. And you can go back and read the text. You admitted yourself, I don't reference any single language.

As I say, English should be the language of every single student because it's the language of getting ahead in America. I stand by that. And I think Romney's misuse of it is outrageous.

WALLACE: You have been going after you called the elites in this country. And, in fact, you said they are hurting America. Let's take a look at what you said this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: Under the elites, the people who oppose me, some in the Democratic Party, some in the Republican Party -- under these elites, we have become the America that couldn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Who are the Republican elite and how are they hurting the country, sir?

GINGRICH: Well, I think you can take a fairly large list of Romney's key supporters. They are the people who, in fact, operate inside the old order. They are the people who want to keep the old order comfortable.

I don't -- I want to change Washington and I want to change it decisively. I've said publicly that I made this part of the campaign, I'd like to see all of the decision documents at Treasury and Federal Reserve for the last three years published. Now, this goes back to the Bush administration.

I'd like to find out why a Goldman Sachs got $13 billion in the backdoor from AIG from the American taxpayer. How was that decision made? Why do they Parisian bank get $19 billion from the U.S. taxpayer? Who has helped, who wasn't help and why?

I think it is astonishing that you have a country in which enormous amounts of money have gone to very, very big, big institutions.

The Dodd-Frank bill has actually increased the size of the largest banks. The banks are a problem. The Dodd-Frank bill is actually crushing small independent banks, and yet the Washington power structure seems incapable even of having hearings to look at this.

And, frankly, if you look at the list of Romney's fundraisers, they're all from Wall Street. They're all from the old establishment. They all have a vested interest in protecting the old order. And I think that's a mistake. We need to change Washington, not keep it in its current form.

WALLACE: Let's talk about one member of that Washington power structure part of he Republican elite, and that's Bob Dole, who was the Senate Republican leader at the same time that you were the speaker of the House. And he put out a statement this week about you.

Here it is. "He," referring to you, "He was a one-man band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway. Gingrich had an idea every minute and most of them were off of the wall."

Sir, how do you respond the charge? And you know it's come from a lot of people who worked with you in the trenches, in Congress, in the mid-'90s, that you were a great insurgent, you were the man who brought the Democrats back to the majority for the first time in 40 years, but you couldn't manage the House, let alone the presidency?

GINGRICH: Look, we have tried a moderate in 1996, and we couldn't debate Bill Clinton effectively and he lost. We tried a moderate in 2008, we couldn't debate Obama effectively and we lost. I think if we nominate a moderate this year, the gap between Romneycare and Obamacare is about that big. I think it would be very hard for Romney to defend himself.

But let's take the case of Senator Dole, who I respect a great deal, I campaigned for in '96. The fact is, I led the House Republicans to the first reelection as a majority in 1996, the first time since 1928. I did it knowing that we were going to have to run ahead of Senator Dole. He said I wasn't effective. Welfare reform was the first entitlement reform in your lifetime. The first four balanced budgets came out of the 1994 act, the only four balanced budgets in your lifetime.

We had $1 billion plus-up of intelligence, which the 9/11 commissions called the Gingrich plus-up, and said was the only time the intelligence community was helped in the 1990s.

You go through after item by item. Do I ruffle feathers, you betcha. If I go to Washington as president on behalf of an insurgency of American citizens who are tired of being told that managing the decay is the best we can do, we're going to ruffle a lot of feathers.

This campaign is precisely about challenging the establishment. The establishment and I think Senator Dole is a quintessential part of the establishment. And I respect him as a person. We have fundamentally different views about the role of government.

I want a very different model than he does, and I'm willing frankly to have a lot more challenges to the old order than he would comfortable with. I respectfully disagree.

WALLACE: Well, and let me just say, wrapping this up, Mr. Speaker, that I take your point that when you talk about my lifetime, you are talking about a very long period of time, sir.

(LAUGHTER)

GINGRICH: I didn't quite mean it that way, Chris.

WALLACE: Well, that's all right.

Mr. Speaker, thank you. Thanks for talking with us.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

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