[lg policy] Newt Gingrich reports he speaks pidgin Spanish, and has taken Spanish lessons.
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Thu Jan 26 15:46:41 UTC 2012
Newt Gingrich Gets a Grilling on Univision
By TRIP GABRIEL
MIAMI — Where was Jorge Ramos when John King and Juan Williams needed him?
Reporting on the candidates and voters in the Sunshine State.
Mr. Ramos, a journalist for the major Spanish-language television
station Univision, subjected Newt Gingrich to one of his toughest
interviews of the campaign, pressing him on nuances of his immigration
policies, his former wife’s accusation that he sought an open marriage
and his attacks on the news media at debates in which he flayed Mr.
King, of CNN, and Mr. Williams, of Fox News, for their questions.
Mr. Gingrich is aggressively courting Hispanic voters in Florida and
he has scheduled several events before the primary on Jan. 31 focused
on Hispanic issues, including a speech on Latin American policy.
But Mr. Ramos noted that in a poll released Wednesday by Univision,
ABC News and Latino Decisions that matched Mr. Gingrich against
President Obama, a vast majority of Hispanic voters chose Mr. Obama.
“You would lose the general election with these numbers,” he warned.
Mr. Gingrich’s policy proposals for the 11 million illegal immigrants
in the country are a shade more moderate than those of some of his
Asked what he thought of Mitt Romney’s idea that illegal immigrants
would “self-deport” if they are denied jobs and services, Mr. Gingrich
snorted, then answered, “I think you have to live in worlds of Swiss
bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic $20 million a
year income with no work to have some fantasy this far from reality.’’
He accused Mr. Romney of lacking “concern for the humanity of the
people who are already here.”
But when Mr. Ramos pressed him on why, if he were compassionate, he
did not support the Dream Act, which would offer some illegal
immigrants brought to this country as children a path to citizenship –
President Obama called on Congress to pass the bill in his State of
the Union address on Tuesday — Mr. Gingrich said he was for “half the
Dream Act,” giving citizenship to people who enlist in the army.
Mr. Ramos said that two million students were brought to the country
as children by illegal-immigrant parents and that Mr. Gingrich favored
policies “punishing” them.
“They can go to college,” Mr. Gingrich demurred. “I wasn’t suggesting
we run around and try to deport them. I have suggested that if they
want to become citizens, they can join the military.”
Mr. Ramos asked why Mr. Gingrich has attacked the news media for
asking about his former wife’s accusation that he asked her to
tolerate an adulterous affair.
“Do I blame you for asking? No, let me explain,” Mr. Gingrich said,
and he went on to say he had been angry at ABC News for interviewing
his former wife, Marianne Gingrich, while not interviewing people the
Gingrich campaign suggested would rebut the account. His campaign
fought with ABC for equal time “because it’s a lie,” he said. “It’s
Mr. Ramos then suggested that Mr. Gingrich had been hypocritical, as
House speaker, to lead impeachment proceedings against President Bill
Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair at a time he himself was in an
adulterous relationship. “At the same time you were doing exactly the
same thing,” Mr. Ramos said.
Mr. Gingrich pushed back, making the case that Mr. Clinton was
impeached for lying under oath, a felony, not for an extramarital
“I understand,” Mr. Ramos said, “but people think that’s hypocritical
to criticize President Clinton for doing the same thing that you were
doing at the same time.”
“O.K., there is some place there where there’s a mental synapse
missing,” Mr. Gingrich said. “I didn’t do the same thing. I never lied
under oath, I have never committed perjury, I have never been involved
in a felony – he was.”
In pursuit of Hispanic support, Mr. Gingrich started a Spanish news
site, and he has taken Spanish lessons. Mr. Ramos began the interview,
excerpts of which will be broadcast by Univision, one of the top five
broadcast networks, by addressing him in Spanish.
“I speak pidgin Spanish,” Mr. Gingrich said. The interview was
conducted in English.
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