Gingrich under fire from Republicans over comments
May 17th, 2011
09:11 AM ET
6 years ago

Gingrich under fire from Republicans over comments

(CNN) – Newt Gingrich has been an official presidential candidate for only a week, but the former House Speaker is already under siege from fellow Republicans over recent comments that disparaged a House GOP budget proposal and appeared to endorse some form of a health care mandate that conservatives have long derided.

"This is a big deal," said Charles Krauthammer, the conservative Washington Post columnist. "He's done. He didn't have a big chance from the beginning but now it's over."

"I am not going to justify this. I'm not going to explain this," talk radio host Rush Limbaugh clamored. "The attack on Paul Ryan. The support for an individual mandate in health care? Folks, don't ask me to explain this. There is no explanation."

The uproar stems from Gingrich's comments during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, when the former House Speaker called a Medicare provision in the GOP budget proposal spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan a "radical change" and later indicated he supports requiring every citizen to buy health insurance or instead post a bond for insurance.

The two positions appeared contradictory, with Gingrich hammering Ryan's plan to impulse a mandatory voucher system in lieu of Medicare in one breath while offering support for mandated health coverage in the other.

"What you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose it," Gingrich said of the Ryan plan that has proposed replacing Medicare with vouchers to be used toward private health care plans. "I am against Obamacare imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change."

But in the same interview Gingrich sad of an insurance mandate, "I agree that all of us have a responsibility to pay – help pay for health care…And, I think that there are ways to do it that make most libertarians relatively happy. I've said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond."

Amidst charges of inconsistency, Gingrich released a Web video Monday in which he emphatically stated he was "for the repeal for Obamacare, and …against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone because it is fundamentally wrong and I believe unconstitutional."

A Gingrich spokesman also insisted Monday that "there is little daylight between Ryan and Gingrich."

"Newt would fully support Ryan if it were not compulsory," spokesman Rick Tyler said. "We need to design a better system that people will voluntarily move to. That is a major difference in design but not substance."

Still, some conservatives remain befuddled when it comes to just where Gingrich stands on health care, an issue that is believe to be rival Mitt Romney's biggest vulnerability not the former House Speaker's.

"He can't help himself. Gingrich prefers extravagant lambasting when a mere distancing would do, and the over-arching theoretical construct to a mundane pander. He is drawn irresistibly to operatic overstatement – sometimes brilliant, always interesting, and occasionally downright absurd," Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, wrote Monday.

Meanwhile House Majority Whip Eric Cantor called Gingrich's statements a "tremendous misspeak."

"I think that many have said now he's finished," Cantor Chicago radio station WLS, according to The Hill. "I haven't had a chance to really dissect what in the world he's I probably would reserve judgment on that."

Meanwhile, it appears Gingrich is doing damage control at an event in Mason City, Iowa Tuesday, signing a petition calling for the repeal of the health care law.

And, in an interview with the Des Moines Register Monday, Gingrich said he is the victim of "gotcha" politics.

"I've for two years gone around the country making speeches about ObamaCare. I've said over and over, 'We should repeal it,'" he said. "And then people to go from all of that body of evidence to say, 'Yeah, but for 25 seconds yesterday, I thought you said X,' that's beyond gotcha."

soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. diridi

    listen to this well educated, this dude is a total idiot.....if there is a front runner in GOP thugs, you better know, it is Mitt Romney....period...others are all just good for nothing goose...

    May 17, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  2. GI Joe

    Aw, poor baby. Gotcha will come up every time he flips and flops. Same old Newt, poor baby. NOT what we need in a president. Bu-Bye (AGAIN). Thug and liar.

    May 17, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  3. Rob R

    President Obama doesn't need to do any campaigning for 2012 – the Republicans are all falling down like a house of cards. Mitt Romney should save his money and wait until 2016, if at all.

    May 17, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. rusty155

    Because Newt Gingrich and Millions of American people know Paul Ryan Plan Is a bunch of crap. And If the Republican keep going with thid thing they will be a lot of Republican looking for new JOBS In 2012. But It shouldn't be to hard for them to find one ,because of all the Rich people and BIG BUSINESS they been protecting for years with all these Tax cuts.

    May 17, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. jimm

    Yawn...Gingrich is a hypocrit, as he was in charge of the House GOP when they passed the mandatory statute that employers must provide healthcare for their employees. Most GOPers supported individual mandates dating back as far as the 1990's.

    May 17, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  6. rusty155

    Because Newt Gingrich and Millions of American people know Paul Ryan Plan Is a bunch of crap. And If the Republican keep going with this thing they will be a lot of Republican looking for new JOBS In 2012. But It shouldn't be to hard for them to find one ,because of all the Rich people and BIG BUSINESS they been protecting for years with all these Tax cuts.

    May 17, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  7. Newt Gindrich

    But I just got started!

    May 17, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Gingrich's self destruction due to his verbal gaff is happening sooner than expected. The man has the Palin foot in the mouth disease and can't help himself.

    May 17, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. JB

    Newt, please go away....and never come back.

    May 17, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. GrogInOhio

    Newt is a firebrand who doesn't really care who he is burning. He's flighty, all over the board, vapid, inconsistent and hipocritical. Not exactly presidential material. Not even for Republicans.

    May 17, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. juliei4

    Stick a fork in him – he's done.

    May 17, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Mark L.

    NEWT GINGRICH For President? 2012? The same moron who initiated the entire Monica Lewinsky controversy against our former GREAT President Bill Clinton, and yet, Mr. Gingrich himself, engaged in an adulterous affair... Give me a BREAK !! If Gingrich were to be elected President in 2012, or any Republican for that matter, than forget about the GREAT RECESSION OF 2008, and HELLO GREAT DEPRESSION OF 2012, 2013, 2014, etc. Another Republican administration after the 2012 election will literally make the Great Depression of 1929 look like a "cake-walk..."

    May 17, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. bassman

    It appears to me that Mr. Gingrich was staking out the middle ground on the issue. Something our media should applaud. Any Republican that is a threat to Pres. Obama is immediatley attacked. Palin, Trump, now Newt. It is all about protecting this President.

    May 17, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. Chas in Iowa

    Newt never was a candidate.
    Up on ethics charges, misappropriation of funds, let alone the fact that he is a womaniser.
    Born again Christien,......right! How convenient is that?

    May 17, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  15. Clwyd

    Yes, Newt, who I don't respect, at least had the guts to make a statement that wasn't in keeping with the republicans who have become zombies to the right of their party!

    May 17, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    What we have here, folks, is a FAILURE to communicate!!!
    The Presidency: NOT for every Huck, Newt, Trump or Barbie!!!!

    Obama 2012

    May 17, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  17. Once upon a horse of the reasons they might be saying Newt done is that he ticked off "Boss Limbaugh" and once that's done, welll might be time to bring out the forks. The funny thing is for once I AGREE with Newt on something, the Ryan plan DOES suck and is too extreme. But Newt is a notorious flip-flopper, he did it on Libya, now within 24 hours he's done it on the mandate. He may not be able to escape this time though. The far right is not very forgiving when what is supposed to be one of their own takes a somewaht leftist view on something they support. I don't think I've ever heard Limbaugh go off on a Republican like he did on Newt yesterday.

    May 17, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  18. John Wright

    I truly was interested and liked Gingrich enough to seriously consider voting for him in the republican primaries. But after he disparaged a big segment of the party, including me and those I admire, Paul Ryan, Gringrich can go pound sand!

    May 17, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    JJ Jones

    Where is the editor?
    On sabbatical with the FACT RESEARCHER!!

    May 17, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. HereComesMoreRacism

    And they're off! Immediately Carl Rove jumps on the evening news with reports of how a well known rapper with one song with "cop killer" lyrics was invited to the White House by the Obamas. Sean Hannity was all over the lyrics, quoting them with his GOP buddies on Fox News, totally out of context btw, and blasting Obama as "how could you invite this black rapper to our White House. Jon Stewart pulls tape on Ted Nuggent's concert with him saying "Obama can suck on my machine gun" and then more tape with Sean Hannity saying "Ted is my good friend, I won't condemn him for saying that, he's welcome on my show any time". Of course, Sean, he's white, he's alright! Republicans are counting on racism to win the election and they've started early this campaign to taint the minds of idiots who would rather vote lilly white and lose Social Security, Medicare, Medicade, pay more taxes while the rich pay none, loss unemployment benefits, lose health care altogether, and die early than to watch someone different from them (black) win a second term. My, my, my... Republicans are dirty, evil, low life, elitists who know right where to strike during an election campaign. And the sheeple follow.

    May 17, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  21. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Another beautiful snapshot indicating a political party that has truly lost its way. THIS Republican party is SO AFRAID of the extreme right (see Tea Party, Limbaugh and Hannity) and so ignorant of what an INFORMED public thinks that it is left no choice but to eat itself. Reagan would be dismissed as a soft liberal by this crowd. And, after President Obama's devastating 1-2 punch (Death of Birth-gate, Death of Bin Laden) this joke of a once-proud party is running and screaming without direction again. With a steadily-improving economy in 18 months, Obama could win by Reagan-esque landslide numbers.

    May 17, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Stick a fork in him – he's done.
    Cut me a piece of white meat!!

    May 17, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. Adalbert

    Newt is one of the most power hungry egomaniacs in the republican party. This direct mail scam artist has no loyalty to his family, to his many wife’s and to his country. Everything that he does is to promote his huge ambition to be president.

    May 17, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  24. lgny

    This is exactly what's wrong with the current Republican party. It has become an orthodoxy with little tolerance for differing opinions or positions.

    When I vote for a representative, I want that person to represent the interests and needs of our local district - not blindly follow party orthodoxy. Yes, the candidate comes with a set of beliefs that align with one or other party, but they must be tempered by the local concerns.

    May 17, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  25. Bessy

    @ Mark L.---I agree with you 100%
    We cannot put another Republican President in office for many years. Not until they see that they represent the people and not big business. When will that be ??? Not until we get another generation of them.
    Actually that goes for senators and congressmen also.

    May 17, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
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