Newt Gingrich has watched the videos showing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney telling donors that the "47 percent" of the population who pay no income taxes will support President Barack Obama "no matter what."
Romney was right in one sense, Gingrich insists. But, he's also dead wrong.
First, what Romney got wrong: It is a mistake to write off nearly half the population as Obama supporters, Gingrich said. His reading of the election—and history—suggests Romney is underestimating his support. If Romney truly believes that 47 percent opposes him, he does so at the party's peril.
"I think that's false. Period," Gingrich told Yahoo News in an interview. "What he was saying was specifically about voting patterns. I actually don't agree with it. I'm a Reaganite, I think that we have an opportunity to win much bigger elections. I don't believe in fighting between 47 and 53 percent. I believe in trying to get to 60 and to keep pounding away to create much bigger margins."
And what did Romney get right? While his analysis of the electorate was misguided, Gingrich backed up Romney's general assessment that many Obama supporters consider themselves "victims who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them." For evidence, Romney's former rival pointed to another set of videos.
"Go watch tapes from the Democratic convention," Gingrich said. "You have people who had extraordinary opportunities in the most open society in the world who explain how they're victimized and government should take care of them. It's the heart of the Obama majority, people who would like someone to take care of them."