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Gingrich: Republicans 'Flat Footed' Approach on Minorities Is Alienating

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Thursday, 21 Feb 2013 05:25 PM

Republican incumbents in Washington must devote large amounts of their time to minority neighborhoods, in a bid to repair the perception that the GOP doesn’t care about them, Newt Gingrich says.

“Part of it is just frankly paying attention and sitting down saying, what are your problems? . . . The fact is we don’t even show up,’’ the former Republican House Speaker told Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’

“I would say every Republican incumbent in the House and Senate, for example, should spend one third of their time in minority communities.

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“And they don’t have to go there to sell out; they ought to go there to listen. What are their concerns about bad schools? What are their concerns about crime? . . . The fact is we don’t even show up.’’

Gingrich, now a political consultant, said Republicans had a “flat-footed approach’’ in reaching minorities that did little but “alienate’’ them.

“Take for example Asian Americans, which actually was Obama’s second strongest group after African Americans. Republicans did worse with Asian Americans than they did with Latino Americans,’’ Gingrich said.

“The legal visa system for people who we want to have come here legally is a total mess. It is a bureaucratic nightmare . . .  [Reforming that] would be seen by every ethnic group as a sign that we’re at least aware of one of their major problems.’’

Gingrich complained that the GOP has relied too much on the use of political consultants in elections.

“It’s a huge mistake for a lot of different reasons . . .  This idea that one or two brilliant consultants are going to look out over 50 states and handpick who ought to be the nominees. I can’t imagine any worse idea,’’ he said.

“We’re at a time when we need more talent, we need to open the party up, we need more people involved, and nobody is smart enough to do all this.’’

And among the people trying to do so, Gingrich said, is George W. Bush’s senior policy advisor-turned-political consultant Karl Rove, who recently roiled the GOP by forming the Conservative Victory Party to find “electable’’ conservatives.

“Karl Rove and others, they point toward two states: Missouri and Indiana, where our candidates frankly made mistakes, and they say, we would have saved you from that,’’ Gingrich said.

“They don’t point to Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida where we also lost.’’

Gingrich said that when he was in the running for the Republican presidential nomination last year, “we had all of our major consultants leave in June of 2011. It was the end of campaign.

“Then by December without any of those consultants I was the frontrunner and Gallup showed me leading the pack by a big margin.

“It was only when [Mitt] Romney used enormous amounts of money that they were able to slow down our campaign.’’

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