10 of The Craziest Things Newt Gingrich Has Ever Said
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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is the latest not-Romney to capture the attention of GOP primary voters. With a solid lead in three early primary states, he’s giving the erstwhile front-runner a serious run for his money. While Newt may be the flavor of the moment, the Iowa caucuses are just three weeks away, so while he's behind in fund-raising and has had trouble organizing a nationwide campaign, it's impossible to count him out.
In light of his resurgence, let’s take a trip down memory lane and examine some of the most absurd statements Gingrich has made over the years. Rehashing every outrageous comment by Gingrich would be a lengthy endeavor, so this is not a comprehensive list.
1. No free speech for you!
In 2006, at an awards dinner honoring the preservation of free speech no less, Gingrich unleashed the scary specter of terrorism to argue that free speech must be curtailed, which he admitted would ignite “a serious debate about the First Amendment.”
Either before we lose a city or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.
His remarks immediately sparked controversy, leading him to write an op-ed days later in which he clarified that the First Amendment should not be used as a shield for terrorists working “to build 'franchises' among leftist, antiglobalization groups worldwide, especially in Latin America.”
2. Muslims don’t count
Remember last year when the right freaked out over Park 51, the planned Muslim Community Center in lower Manhattan? Because of its location, two blocks from the World Trade Center site, the right renamed the proposed interfaith, Muslim-run community center the “ground zero mosque.”
Some of the most appalling right-wing statements against Park 51 came from none other than Newt Gingrich, who made one bigoted comment after the next. First, he demanded that America adopt the same religious intolerance that marks the repressive monarchy of Saudi Arabia: “There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
He then proceeded to equate American Muslims not just to terrorists, but Nazis, arguing that building a mosque near Ground Zero “would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum.”
3. Yay for child labor!
Newt Gingrich longs for an era when children as young as five could slave away for 14 hours a day in a sweatshop. At least that’s the impression he gave when declaring to a crowd at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that child labor laws should go.
“It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child [labor] laws, which are truly stupid,” said Gingrich, adding, “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.”
Weeks later Gingrich doubled down:
Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, so they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday.
They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of "I do this and you give me cash" unless it’s illegal.