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12.12.11

Beach Volleyball, Child Labor, and Other Craziest Newt Gingrich Comments

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.”

Interview