The incident has generated a good deal of media attention, some of it highly cynical. The press overlooked what he said shortly after: "Mothers are the civilizing influence...Mothers play an enormous role in sustaining civilization." Gingrich was echoing Tocqueville's Democracy in America:
For my part, I have no hesitation in saying that although the American woman never leaves her domestic sphere and is in some respects very dependent within it, nowhere does she enjoy a higher station. And now that I come near the end of this book in which I have recorded so many achievements of the Americans, if anyone asks me what I think the chief cause of the extraordinary prosperity and growing power of this nation, I should answer that it is due to the superiority of their women.