|50th Speaker of the United States
House of Representatives
January 4, 1995 â€“ January 3, 1999
|Preceded by||Tom Foley|
|Succeeded by||Dennis Hastert|
|14th House Minority Whip|
March 20, 1989 â€“ January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Dick Cheney|
|Succeeded by||David Bonior|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia’s 6th district
January 3, 1979 â€“ January 3, 1999
|Preceded by||Jack Flynt|
|Succeeded by||Johnny Isakson|
|Born||Newton Leroy McPherson
June 17, 1943
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jackie Battley (1962â€“1981)
Marianne Ginther (1981â€“2000)
Callista Bisek (2000â€“present)
|Alma mater||Emory University (BA)
Tulane University (MA, PhD)
I got active in this business of politics and self-government in 1958 when my father, who was serving in the U.S. Army, took us to the battlefield of Verdun.
The Central Park Zoo is a little gem in the middle of the city. Its penguin exhibit is terrific, and the seals are a permanent center of attraction for children.
What makes me unusually intense is that I personalize the pain of war, the pain of children being killed, the pain of a 16-year-old who has been permanently cheated by his school and cannot read.
Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
I'm going to be the nominee. It's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee.
And my point was one I think that you'd agree with, which is there's no room in America for a black racist, a Latino racist, or a white racist, or an Asian racist, or a Native American racist. Now, we're either color blind or we're not color blind.
I think every religious person should have a deep sense of respect for other people's religious documents and religious symbols just as we were deeply opposed to the Taliban destroying the two historic buddhas which they blew up. So I think we ought to all oppose burning the Koran.
I think what you'll find is overall, overwhelmingly, evangelicals would prefer me to Barack Obama.
The U.S. cannot be the policeman of the world. When we tried that in Vietnam, they beat us up.
One morning, just like 9/11, there's going to be a disaster. I have yet to see the United Nations do anything effective with either Iran or North Korea.
Nixon had this remarkably effective, deeply intense will to power. Reagan and I have a will to ideas.
I think to close half of Magic Kingdom for the purpose of a White House invitation town hall meeting on a phony main street on behalf of a phony president just strikes me as weird.
I had a period of thinking that I would have been called 'Newt the McPherson,' as in 'Robert the Bruce.'
If, as the popular saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, the people who run our public schools fit that description.
The government shut down 12 times under Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill. It was only shut down twice while I was speaker.
We're all human and we all goof. Do things that may be wrong, but do something.
A mere forty years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it, and that's what freedom is all about.
Congress was designed by the Founding Fathers to move slowly, precisely to avoid the sudden panic of a one-week solution that becomes a 20-year mess.
Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman.' Wouldn't they have to withdraw? New racism is no better than old racism.
In the middle of a recession no tax increase is justified because it kills jobs, and any tax increase is a job-killing measure and should be defeated.
One of my messages to Republicans is very simple: One-third of your schedule should be listening to people in minority communities.
I'm not a natural leader. I'm too intellectual; I'm too abstract; I think too much.
Frankly, Governor Romney in his career has created more jobs than the entire Obama cabinet combined, so he could actually talk about it.
In very rare circumstances, the executive branch might choose to ignore a court decision.
You have to give the press confrontations. When you give them confrontations, you get attention; when you get attention, you can educate.
It is time we passed a balanced budget amendment and return this government to limited spending.
If Trump keeps learning, he could become a big asset. He will shatter the traditional patterns.
Frankly, I would not have made any difference in Vietnam, but much more is what difference it would have made in me.
Both sides in Syria are bad. One side is a brutal dictator, and the other includes Islamists and terrorists who are dangerous already and who would be brutal in power if given the chance.
The thing that shocks people… is that I mean what I say. I don't use hyperbole.
We have to be as militant defending America as the enemies of America are in trying to destroy America.
I joined a Republican Party that was used to losing, used to being browbeaten by the Democrats. I represent a totally different style.
My theme is going to be: Together we can win the future. The right policies lead to the right results. And I'm going to argue that President Obama will lose the future because the wrong policies lead to the wrong results.
I've been very clear publicly I'm not a perfect human being, and I've made mistakes in my life, and I've had to apologize to God and to seek reconciliation.
This is about systemic, institutional corruption, not personality. To ask the Democratic leadership to clean things up would be like asking the old Soviet bureaucracy under Brezhnev to reform itself. It ain't going to happen.
I have a sense of being at peace. I understand when you give the sign of peace, and when the priest says, 'Peace be with you,' in a way I never did 10 or 15 years ago. I have a deep personal sense of what that means.
NASA should not be developing its own proprietary version of capabilities it could purchase commercially at much lower cost, especially when we know the agency's bureaucratic tendencies will be to view the commercial versions as competitors to kill.
If you live your life as a hostage to everybody else's decision, you either have to live a very narrow life, or you have to spend a lot of time in pain.
The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.
What is the primary purpose of a political leader? To build a majority. If voters care about parking lots, then talk about parking lots.
Until someone is prepared to lay out the systemic problem, we will simply go through cycles of finding corruption, finding a scapegoat, eliminating the scapegoat, and relaxing until we find the next scandal.
By definition, the person who learns enough to become the nominee is almost certainly the best person for the general election.
If you're not in 'The Washington Post' every day, you might as well not exist.
The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.
I would just say, if Gov. Romney wants to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, that I would be glad to listen to him. And I would bet you $10 – not $10,000 – that he would not take the offer.
Somehow we must reintegrate the scientific with the popular and reconnect the future to the present. This is less a job for scientists, engineers, bureaucrats, and administrators and more a job for novelists, moviemakers, popularizers, and politicians.
We tried to have diplomas without learning, we tried to have jobs without work, we tried to have houses without savings, we tried to have government without responsibility.
I would replace most foreign aid with a tax credit for businesses to invest. I think U.S. bureaucrats giving foreign bureaucrats money is a guaranteed failure. And we've had about 50 years' experience at failing with foreign aid.
The genius of guys like Lincoln and Reagan and FDR – the great communicator leaders – is that they're actually educators, so they understand when they use a phrase that they have to explain it, because, by definition, you won't understand it or they wouldn't need to be using it.
I don't see how the party that says it's the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century.
If you take all the money we've spent at NASA since we landed on the moon and you had applied that money for incentives to the private sector, we would today probably have a permanent station on the moon, three or four permanent stations in space, a new generation of lift vehicles.
Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington.
The fact is inner-city black districts are not the same as suburban Republican districts. That's a fact. And people need to go and learn about the whole country.
There I was on the front page of the 'London Times' as speaker of the House with an animal on top of my head. I liked it, but it was not what my staff thought was appropriately dignified.
You talk about crying! The spring of 1988, I spent a fair length of time trying to come to grips with who I was and the habits I had and what they did to people that I truly loved. I really spent a period of time where, I suspect, I cried three or four times a week.
My challenge to all Republicans is to invent the systems and approaches to help people help themselves.
You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there's nothing wrong with heroin and cocaine, or you can be in the tradition that says, 'These kind of addictive drugs are terrible; they deprive you of full citizenship, and they lead you to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American.'
Have you heard a single national figure tell you all of the crises of the recent past are not economic, they're cultural?
Trump would represent turmoil – unless he changed, unless he said, 'Now that I got to be president, I'm gonna be normal.'
Think about it. If it's taking pictures, it's not a cellphone. If it has a McDonald's app to tell you where McDonald's is based on your GPS location, that's not a cellphone. If you can get Wikipedia or go to Google, that's not a cellphone.
Should the Catholic Church find itself discriminated against by the Obama administration on key delivery of services because of the bias and the bigotry of the administration?
This is a candidate who never even thought about policy. What Trump represents is pure willpower and the notion of breaking through the system.
Trump has got to, I think, move to a new level. This is no longer the primaries. He's no longer an interesting contender. He is now the potential leader of the United States and he's got to move his game up to the level of being a potential leader.
While abolishing judgeships and lower federal courts is a blunt tool and one whose use is warranted only in the most extreme of circumstances… it is one of many possibilities to check and balance the judiciary.
There is no question that at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about my country, that I worked far too hard and that things happened in my life that were not appropriate.
I clearly have done things that were wrong. I've clearly had to seek God's forgiveness.
I believe we are now in a struggle over whether or not we are going to save America.
You know, modern liberals are just, I think frankly, totally off the deep end… their only answer is to yell racism and hide.
I think one of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don't encourage you to be nasty. We encourage you to be neat, obedient, loyal and faithful and all those Boy Scout words, which would be great around a campfire but are lousy in politics.
My style is to stay on the offensive: to take risks, to recover very fast when you make a mistake, but to keep moving forward.
We're at the crossroads. Down one road is a European centralized bureaucratic socialist welfare system in which politicians and bureaucrats define the future. Down the other road is a proud, solid, reaffirmation of American exceptionalism.
More than just a zoo, the Animal Kingdom is an extraordinary experience of animals, rides and performances. The exhibits have the scale and creativity you associate with Disney. The African safari ride is terrific and worth riding several times.
I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office.
The values of the Left cripple human beings, weaken cities, make it difficult for us to in fact survive as a country.
An energy tax punishes senior citizens, it punishes rural Americans, if you use electricity it punishes you. This bill will increase your cost of living and may kill your job.
America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.
Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for 'religious toleration' are arrogantly dishonest.
And by the way I don't object if people want to attack me, that's their right. All I'm suggesting that it's not going to be very effective and that people are going to get sick of it very fast. And the guys who attacked each other in the debates up to now, every single one of them have lost ground by attacking.
We have big ideas. I just think that's part of how you campaign. You talk to the American people about big things.
Philosophically, I am very different from normal politicians, and normal consultants found that very hard to deal with.
Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
Whether it's his beloved game of polo or his magical success in business, Norman Brinker simply does not know how to lose.
In every election in American history both parties have their cliches. The party that has the cliches that ring true wins.
I am for deporting all recent unattached illegals. I am for a local citizen panel to consider certification of those who have been here 25 years and have family and community and have been law-abiding and tax-paying.
Whether you're talking about Chris Christie, or you're talking about Rick Perry or Scott Walker or John Kasich, there's more interesting evolution at the state level than there is in Washington.
The one period of glory in NASA was the first nine years when they weren't a bureaucracy yet… and they haven't gotten back to that excitement, that adventurism, and won't. So, I would take most of the NASA budget, and I would turn it into prizes for private sector.
It's been one of the most painful things I've ever been through in my whole life: trying to understand the degree to which behaviors that I thought were totally appropriate were destructive.
I read 'Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them,' and I found frightening pieces that related to… my own life.
If I had to choose Reaganomics or 13 staffers quitting, I think for the average working American, Reaganomics was a much better deal.
We don't we agree that litigation reform to lower the cost of healthcare would be a good starting point?
Without Jimmy Carter we might not have gotten Ronald Reagan, without Ronald Reagan there would probably still be a Soviet Union.
When you come to America, you get to become an American, and Trump, who has grandparents who came to the U.S., should understand this as much as anybody.
If the Obama administration is this afraid of Glenn Beck, how do they deal with the Iranians?
If a liberal were to attack Justice Clarence Thomas on the grounds that he's black, we would all go crazy.
If the Soviet empire still existed, I'd be terrified. The fact is, we can afford a fairly ignorant presidency now.
The secular elites are so terrified of telling the truth about radical Islam. When you talk about the radical Islamists, we have got to get straight and get serious and talk about it in the right way.
People have to render judgment. In my case, I've said upfront openly, I've made mistakes at times. I've had to go to God for forgiveness. I've had to seek reconciliation. But I'm also a 68-year-old grandfather, and I think people have to measure who I am now and whether I'm a person they can trust.
People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live.
Is the purpose of free elections to allow the most clever and vicious person to aggregate power, or is the purpose of free elections to enable the American people to have a serious conversation about their country's future and try to find both a policy and a personality that they think will carry to them that better future?
We need a visionary leader with very big and bold ideas. This is a very big, very bold country.
I think my health is probably fine. Let's be honest, you never know what could happen to somebody, but I think I'm in very good shape right now.
I think you can write a psychological profile of me that says I found a way to immerse my insecurities in a cause large enough to justify whatever I wanted it to.
Because I am much like Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, I'm such an unconventional political figure that you really need to design a unique campaign that fits the way I operate.
Surely the President can agree with us, that theft from government is not good. I know it's bold. It's out on the edge. I know from a Chicago-Springfield background it's hard to fully grasp that honesty could be part of government.
All unemployment compensation should be tied to a job training requirement. Now the fact is, 99 weeks is an associate degree.
Now, I know among the politically correct, you're not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.
President Obama has created at least three jobs that I know of – Bob McDonnell, Chris Christie, and Scott Brown.
Part of why the Tea Party so deeply threatened the elite media is the tea party looked around and suddenly realized, there are more of us than there are of them.
President Obama is the most successful food stamp president in American history. I would like to be the most successful paycheck president in American history.
The Constitution of the United States has absolutely nothing to say about a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Were the federal courts to recognize such a right, it would be completely without constitutional basis.
The bigotry question goes both ways. There's a lot more anti-Christian bigotry today than there is concerning the other side. None of it gets covered by the news media.
If we are all endowed by our creator with the right to pursue happiness, that has to apply to the poorest neighborhoods in the poorest counties, and I am prepared to find something that works, that breaks us out of the cycles we have now to find a way for poor children to work and earn honest money.
Islamic extremism may well be the greatest threat to Western values and Western security in the world.
Cincinnati has one of the most diverse animal collections in the world, with more than 500 species represented. They also have a really good insect exhibit.
I will continue to find ways to help poor people find a job, get a job, and learn someday to own the job.
I don't know of a single economist who disagrees that when you raise the minimum wage, you kill jobs for the poor.
I can tell you I can work on four or five hours of sleep a night and cat nap all day, and I can go for 8 or 10 days on the road, and it doesn't seem to affect me.
You have a very poor neighborhood. You have students that are required to go to school. They have no money, no habit of work. What if you paid them in the afternoon to work in the clerical office or as the assistant librarian?
The time has come to tell the truth about the corruption of the government employee unions in this country.
If you get involved in a controversy, then that becomes the mesmerizing event that people remember you by.
I believe most evangelicals know that defeating Obama is at heart of our country's future.
You've got the North Koreans building weapons; you got the Iranians building weapons. You've got – the Pakistanis already have at least 100 nuclear weapons. Do you think there's any serious effort in this country to come to grips with that?
So I'd be quite happy to have a three-hour Lincoln-Douglas-style debate with Barack Obama. I'd let him use a teleprompter. I'll just rely on knowledge. We'll do fine.