The Newt Gingrich campaign on Wednesday
denied reports that he said gay voters should support President
Barack Obama's re-election campaign.
Gingrich made the comment during an
event Tuesday at Smokey Row coffee house in Oskaloosa.
Scott Arnold, a Democrat and an
associate professor at William Penn University, told the Des
Moines Register that when he approached Gingrich on the topic of
gay rights, the former House speaker told him to vote for Obama.
“When you ask somebody a question and
you expect them to support all Americans and have everyone's general
interest. It's a little bit frustrating and disheartening when
you're told to support the other side. That he doesn't need your
support,” Arnold said.
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said
Gingrich was only referring to voters who view gay marriage as a
central issue, not all gay people.
“As you can see from the transcript
and video, Gingrich was saying that he plans to talk to all Americans
about jobs, national security, creating a better future for America
and many issues,” Hammond said in a statement released to the Des
Moines Register. “He did say that for voters whose most
important issue was allowing gays the right to marry, that it was
legitimate for them to support Obama for president.”
The complete transcript:
Scott Arnold: My question is, how do
you plan to engage such a large community of people, who, on this one
specific issue, do not support you – may agree with you on the
other parts of what you stand for – but how do you plan to engage
and get the help of gay Americans and those who support them?
Speaker Gingrich: I think, for those
for whom the only issue that really matters is the definition of
marriage, I won't get their support, and I accept that that's a
reality. On the other hand, for those for whom it's not the central
issue in their life, if they care about job creation, if they care
about national security, if they care about a better future for the
country at large, then I think I'll get their support.
Arnold: So what if it is the biggest
Gingrich: Then I won't get their
Arnold: Then how do we engage if you're
elected, then what, what does that mean?
Gingrich: Then you engage in every
topic except that. I mean ...
Arnold: Except the one that's the most
Gingrich: If that is the most important
to you ...
Arnold [interrupting]: — to many
millions of people.
Gingrich: Well, if that's the most
important to you, then you should be for Obama.
Gingrich: I think that's perfectly
Arnold: I am, but thank you.
Gingrich: Yeah, I think that's
perfectly legitimate. [Gingrich smiles and shakes Arnold's hand.]