May 15th, 2009
05:54 PM ET
9 years ago

Gingrich rips into Pelosi

Gingrich said Pelosi is a 'trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes.'

Gingrich said Pelosi is a 'trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes.'

(CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is engaging in a "despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort" to withhold what she knew about the CIA's aggressive interrogation techniques, Newt Gingrich said Friday, in what amounts to the harshest criticism yet leveled at the California Democrat.

In an interview with ABC Radio, the former House Speaker said Pelosi flat-out "lied to the House" when she earlier claimed the CIA had never briefed her about the Bush administration's use of aggressive interrogation techniques including waterboarding.

"I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don't think the Speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters," Gingrich said.

Pelosi has been under fire from critics who say that she was fully briefed on the techniques in 2002 and 2003.  On Thursday, the California Democrat accused CIA officials of misleading her, reiterating an earlier claim that she was briefed on such techniques only once - in September 2002 - and that she was told at the time that the techniques were not being used.

Pelosi also said the briefing she received from the CIA was incomplete and inaccurate, and she called on the CIA to release a full transcript of the briefing. She also accused Republicans of jumping on reports of the briefings to cause a distraction.

"She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior," Gingrich also said in the blistering interview.

Earlier: Source: Aide told Pelosi waterboarding had been used

"Speaker Pelosi's the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent, or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses," he continued. "The fact is, she either didn't do her job, or she did do her job and she's now afraid to tell the truth."

Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Lisa in Shelton

    President Bush took the biggest surplus and turned it into the biggest deficit. He and Cheney crafted the Patriot act to subvert protecions citizens have in the constitution. They fired lawyers due to political agendas, they outed a spy which is treasonous, they got lawyers to craft opinions that torture was legal and now Repugs are trying to shift the blame for their host of ciminal acts into focusing on what the Speaker knew when? Are you kidding me?! If that reptile Newt has the goods, why doesn't he release the CIA transcripts – until they're out he needs to put a sock in it.

    May 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Tom

    I am a liberal, and can't stand the GOP at all. However, I don't like Pelosi, either. The problem with her is that she is an ideologist, and not a realistic problem solver.

    Pres. Obama is a practical and analytical thinker who takes a problem apart, and figures out ways to deal with it from many angles while observing cause and effect in the process.

    Pelosi, on the other hand, has some fixed ideals on which she obsesses, and has a very rigid mind. She is ok at attacking the political right, but definitely not good at building consensus and getting problems solved. At this point, she is a stumbling block for the democratic party and Obama; she slows things down.

    If she was really informed about the harsh interrogation techniques back in 2002/03 and has lied about it all along the way, then this is going to be the end of it. She will lose all credibility.

    May 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. joann

    And so are you, Newt!

    May 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Rob Johnson

    Pelosi is a loser, and arguably the single biggest liability Obama has.

    However, even if she did know about waterboarding and torture, it is not like it was her idea, and there is nothing she could have done to stop it. The Democrats were in the minority then, and the idea that if she had only said something she could have prevented it from happening is a fairy tale.

    If Pelosi is found to be lying, by all means she should answer for that. But the real blame here lies with the people who came up with the idea and bent US law into a pretzel to justify their twisted agenda.

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Mike in Houston

    We are wasting far too much time listening to voices on the sideline. Its become exhausting watching people try and do everything in their power to keep a spotlight on themselves when they are not on stage.

    As far as the Speaker goes and the matter of what she knew and didnt know....the country just spent 8 years living under the lies and twisted leadership of Bush and company. As speaker, Pelosi failed to impeach Bush and removed it off the table. That failure alone calls her judgment and character into question long before this issue ever came up.

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Scott

    I can't wait for the day when democrats don't respond to any criticism, with an unrelated rant about Bush lying, WMDs, and the like.

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. banana

    Oh Newt... you're still a pig.

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. G

    A big loser. What is he 5yrs old? lol No doubt this is all political. I can't believe well I kinda can that the republican party is more upset about Pelosi than the fact that torture took place even though Bush deny it!

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Brett

    I knew that she is LIAR to everyone. That is why I never liked her ever since! she better to be leave senate seat in 2010!!

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Alan in NJ

    The Speaker is up for reelection every 2 years like the rest of the House. Her constituents may remove her from office for this or any other number of reasons. But, that is all beside the point as is the time and extent of her knowledge of torture. As Steny Hoyer said last evening, even if the entire House voted publically in favor of torture, that does not make it legal. That is not how the system works. Let’s bring in everybody and have them testify under oath—including Madam Speaker, if that’s what is wanted—and go from there. Newt is irrelevant to everyone but Newt.

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. matt

    Pelosi is a lying incompetent looser. Lets dig deeper and find out the truth.

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Joseph

    Bush authorized torture, the OLC made the illegal sound legal, Cheney implemented it, Rice "conveyed" the authority, the CIA did it, and Pelosi heard about it.

    Even without a gag order on what she could say or do, her briefing pales in comparison to the culpability of those who are directly responsible for using illegal techniques for interrogation of those who are disarmed and in our custody.

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Fair Is Unfair

    Well Nancy? Hmm Nancy? What are you going to do now Nancy? Don't you see, Nancy, how all democrats lie? Don't you see now, Nancy, how much better Republicans are? Huh, Nnacy?

    Name one time Republicans have lied, Nancy? Excluding, of course, Nancy the last 30 years of political banter and fear-mongering. Can you, Nancy?

    Thank God for Nancy, other wise Republicans would have a monopoly on trust issues.


    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    So? Even if she knew, it wouldn't have and doesn't matter. She had no power nor authority to stop it (nor to have started it in the first place)and speaking up publicly about it, given the GOP's propensity to enjoy a good burning at the stake of anyone considered a heretic, would have resulted in her prosecution. The most the GOP can hope to do with this tyrade is distract from the FACT that Bush and Cheney committed crimes against humanity in our names, deserve to be prosecuted for it and Obama has no choice if he wants to uphold his oath of office.

    That black blob in the picture is the dark side of the force moving in to envelope his soul. Let the hate flow through you Darth Gingrich. He's like Dr. Evil, but instead of sitting around stroking a cat, it's a red herring.

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Obama Victim

    Gingrich doesn't really have to make her look silly.................she is doing a great job of that hersef

    May 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Todd in Georgia

    Pelosi should resign. She is clearly at fault on this one and is just playing the blame game.

    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. JB

    First, if you recall, i was Newt Gingich and the Republican controlled Congress that balanced the budget and created a surplus. And, it is amazing that people like Dona Brazile cries and complains when a Republican is "paiting with a broad brush" when speaking about liberals being intolerant to other peoples views. Then you read almost every post by CNN viewers and "reporters" and they do just that in regards to republicans. Can you say hypocrites?

    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Eddie B.

    Good ol' Newt continues to try to speak for the Republicans along with Cheney and Limbaugh. This is and will continue to be the face of their party and until they change, this country will never embrace them. Also, what office does Gingrich hold now....not a one, so isn't he the trivial politician??! I agree with him though that their should be a full inquiry to whether Pelosi is telling the truth because someone needs to take accountability.

    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Kurt


    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. magella

    Fenarkleman, May 15th, 2009 12:01 pm ET
    "Gringrich's time as Speaker of the House was to politics what Drew Peterson is to being a good husband. Let's move on. This dude's 15 minutes were up a long time ago. He's not elected. He's not appointed. He's just annoying and now he's irrelevant."


    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Justin

    To Drake. Its funny to hear a republican refer to democrats as "self-righteous" and "zealots". This from a member of a party that caters to actual religious zealots in the true definition of the word, and that believes they are literally "holier than thou" (i.e. self righteous) on every social and political issue. By the way, Pelosi does not speak for all democrats, myself included, and frankly I can't stand the woman. Her and Reid give democrats a bad name because they stoop to the level of Republicans in their partisan attacks and level of hypocrisy.

    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Sacto Chris

    Basically he's saying she knew what Bush was doing but didnt try to stop shes the loser...not the rethugs ordering the torture. Nutty logic going on there!

    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. Kelby In Houston, TX

    Republicans believe that the Democrats are going to circle the wagans and try to protect Nancy Pelosi.
    We are not going to do that.
    If she was complicit with torture, she is going down too. The Democrats will 'rip into Pelosi' with a vicious passion. We don't care!
    There is no protection, no cover up and this will not cause the calls for justice to subside

    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. C Spurgeon

    Wow Gingrich is a moral authority now. You know I think Pelosi should go but not because she is a liar. She should go because she is a fool and has allowed the Dems to get off message and in fact make herself the message. I do think the CIA would and is lying. That is part of their job and I casn see where the disdain for Congress would come from. Two term limits are the answer. Very few are pure. Just a matter ofm who is worse and I believe the republicans will stay in the worst for a while.

    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. Babs

    A ho-hum example of an argument between a pot and a kettle.

    May 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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