Newt and Callista Gingrich on Al Punto with Jorge Ramos
October 10, 2010
Jorge Ramos: Let me start with politics if you don’t mind. I was talking with Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who told me last week in Spanish that they were not going to lose either the House of Representatives or the Senate. Do you think he’s right?
Newt Gingrich: No, I think that he is almost certainly wrong, but the election is not for 28 more days. But if I were him, I’d say we’re going to hold them. He’ll probably keep the Senate. If I were looking at it cautiously, he will probably lose the House, but it’s still a real campaign.
Jorge Ramos: What’s the main issue right now? Is it the economy?
Newt Gingrich: I think it’s jobs and I think it’s a question of…
Jorge Ramos: It’s not Obama?
Newt Gingrich: No, I don’t think it is. I mean, it’s his policies, but it’s not him as a person. And I thought the most important symbol in June was when the United States paid more people food stamps than ever before in history. And we’re now in the deepest recession and the longest recession since the Great Depression. So what I have told Republicans is they should offer a choice between a Food Stamp Party and a Paycheck Party, and they should say their job-killing policies are killing jobs, and what we need are new policies to create jobs — and make a comparison.
Jorge Ramos: Meg Whitman said during the weekend debate organized by Univision that she can’t win California without the Hispanic vote. Now, can the Republican Party win the House of Representatives without the Hispanic vote?
Newt Gingrich: No, I mean…
Jorge Ramos: How are you going to get it? I mean, how are you going to get the Hispanic vote?
Newt Gingrich: Well, first of all, I think if you campaign in most neighborhoods in America, whether they’re Latino, or they’re Anglo, or they’re African American, or whatever, if your choice is food stamps or a paycheck, I think virtually every Latino voter would prefer a paycheck. One of the things we’re doing at Gingrich Communications is we now have a website called The Americano. In December we’re going to have a forum.
Jorge Ramos: I’ve read it.
Newt Gingrich: And our very deliberate goal, as with the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is we’re talking about how can we create a space that is sort of center-right, pro-jobs, pro-entrepreneur but where the entire Hispanic community feels comfortable arguing, talking, and thinking. We’re going to be putting the DREAM Act on that space and we hope to have, before the beginning of the year, with Jeb Bush’s efforts and others, a very lively debate about whether or not we can develop a step by step solution to help everybody in America come out from outside the law and find a way to ultimately have every person in this country living within the law. That’s got to be our goal.
Jorge Ramos: But for instance, you know Republicans voted for SB 1070 in Arizona. Republicans voted against the DREAM Act in the Senate just a few days ago. Republicans started a debate on the 14th Amendment that would obviously prevent US citizenship for the sons and daughters of the undocumented immigrants. So, many Hispanic voters are perceiving Republicans as anti-immigrant. How is the Republican Party going to get the Hispanic vote with this kind of record?
Newt Gingrich: First of all, I think that the DREAM Act was an entirely political manipulation by Harry Reid, designed to get the result he wanted. Senator Reid said let’s bring it up for open debate — let’s bring it up by itself. There are parts of the DREAM Act that are actually quite useful.
Jorge Ramos: Not a single Republican voted for that. I mean, just imagine what 2 million students are thinking. I mean, Republicans didn’t want to help me.
Newt Gingrich: No, but that’s because he rigged the game. Now Republicans have to be articulate enough to say we have to solve the challenge of undocumented workers and undocumented children. We have to solve the challenge of bringing people in from the shadows into the law. We ought to have a series of steps to get us there. I agree with that totally.
Jorge Ramos: So if you say, as one of the most prominent Republicans, that you are for immigration reform, you know many Republicans are going to follow you. They are going to follow your lead. Are you for immigration reform?
Newt Gingrich: I am for immigration reform and the person who I think has had the most courageous position in this is Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush is co-author of a report on immigration reform, which is much bolder than the Republicans will be ready to be in Washington, but he moves us in the right direction.
Jorge Ramos: And you don’t want immigrants to be, I mean, you don’t want to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants?
Newt Gingrich: No, it’s impossible.
Jorge Ramos: It’s impossible right? So we’re…
Newt Gingrich: But you are going to get Brian Sandoval as the Hispanic Governor of Nevada as a Republican, you’re going to end up with a Republican Hispanic Governor, a Latina, in New Mexico. There’s going to be a significant increase in the number of Republican activists who are very comfortable in the community talking with people.
Jorge Ramos: Can we talk about President Barack Obama?
Newt Gingrich: Sure.
Jorge Ramos: Has he done a good job?
Newt Gingrich: No.
Jorge Ramos: You’ve said he’s the most radical president ever?
Newt Gingrich: Yes, I think that’s accurate. It may sound like an attack, but I say it’s a fact. When you look at his proposals, you look at the size of government he built, and you look at the values he advocates, he’s clearly more radical than Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton.
Jorge Ramos: But you clearly don’t believe that he’s a socialist?
Newt Gingrich: I think that he is vaguely a socialist in the European sense. He doesn’t want to own all the properties, he just wants to run all the properties. When you look at 274 rule makings in the financial bill, you look at all 159 new offices in the health bill, you look at taking over General Motors, taking over AIG, I mean, there’s a point here where it gets to be little bit absurd. Nobody is that smart, and nobody can run a country this big from the White House.
Jorge Ramos: Colin Powell said recently in one of the Sunday morning shows, as he was talking about the debate about President Barack Obama, that the president was born in the United States of America, do you believe?
Newt Gingrich: Absolutely.
Jorge Ramos: He’s a Christian not a Muslim?
Newt Gingrich: Absolutely.
Jorge Ramos: So how come 31 percent of Republicans still think that he’s a Muslim?
Newt Gingrich: If I were the President, that would really concern me — not because of Fox News or talk radio or Rush Limbaugh — but what it is that he’s doing that would let that many people be confused. I mean, I totally take him at his own word. And certainly all the evidence we have is that he went to a Christian church in Chicago, and he goes to Christian churches in Washington. I think some of this stuff is just a sign of how much fear and anxiety has built up, but I think the President has an obligation to slow down and say, if you’re President of all the people, what is it the White House is doing that so frightens a third of the Republican Party that they don’t even believe something as simple and as obvious as his self-professed religious belief? I think that’s sad, frankly.
Jorge Ramos: And talking about religion, I would like to invite you into the conversation, thank you so much for being with us again.
Callista Gingrich: Thank you for having us.
Jorge Ramos: Why is it important to talk about Pope John Paul the Second right now?
Callista Gingrich: Well, we see growing secularism in our society today and many parallels with Poland in 1979. We see this in opposition to school prayer. We see it in covering crosses and removing crosses from public spaces. And we see it when it’s easier to be an atheist in the classroom or the newsroom than it is to be a believer in Jesus Christ. So it is an important topic for our time.
Newt Gingrich: Callista and I made “Nine Days that Changed the World” because we were so struck by Pope John Paul II’s power to arouse the Polish people to understand the roots of their civilization and have the courage to stand up to the Soviet Empire. In 10 years after he went there in 1979 – literally in 10 years and two days – they had the first free election in the Soviet Empire in Poland. So the movie that Callista and I made is really designed to show you a moment in history that was almost magic and a leader whose impact was so enormous. And I think there are some lessons for America from that.
Jorge Ramos: But now, it’s interesting, why do you think that he was able to change, not only Poland, but communist Europe, and then nothing happened in Cuba? I mean, I really don’t know the answer.
Newt Gingrich: I think it depends on the Castro Brothers. I think the Pope felt that. I think the Cardinal believes that his job is to crowd them as far as he can without a rupture, which is exactly what Cardinal Wojtyla had done for years. Dictators after all can kill you. So you can push them to a certain point, and then you back off, then you push them, and then you back off.
Callista Gingrich: Pope John Paul II reminded the Polish people of their rich cultural heritage, and told them you are not who they say you are. He reconnected them to their Catholic faith and, in doing so, really gave them the strength to stand up to the Communist dictatorship.
Jorge Ramos: And let me finish with a question that you know I am going to ask: people want to know if you want to run for president, basically.
Newt Gingrich: Well, I think we’ve both discussed it, and we want to get through this election. We want to do everything we can to help elect Republicans in the next month. Then we’re going to look at it, and by March I think we’ll make a decision.
Jorge Ramos: Together? Is that something that…
Newt Gingrich: Absolutely, yes. But we’ll decide I think by March, and I promise we will be on your show talking about it.
Jorge Ramos: I’m sure, I really appreciate that. Thank you so much.
Newt Gingrich/Callista Gingrich: Thank you.
Jorge Ramos: Thank you so much for coming again.