Gingrich: I made a mistake
May 18th, 2011
09:26 AM ET
4 years ago

Gingrich: I made a mistake

(CNN) - Amid predictions from some within the GOP ranks that Newt Gingrich has fatally harmed his presidential chances, the former House Speaker issued a full-throated apology Tuesday for leveling criticisms at Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan.

"I made a mistake and I called Paul Ryan today, who's a very close personal friend – and I said that. The fact is that I have supported what Ryan's trying to do on the budget … the budget vote is one that I am happy to say I would have voted for, I will defend, and I will answer any Democrat who attempts to distort what I said." Gingrich said Tuesday during an appearance on Fox News.

"Let me say on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said Sunday is a falsehood. I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate. And I'm prepared to stand up, when I make a mistake – and I'm going to on occasion – I want to stand up and share with the American people that was a mistake, because that way we can have an honest conversation," he added.

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 Ryan "right wing social engineering" and later indicated he supports requiring every citizen to buy health insurance or instead post a bond for insurance.

Gingrich again walked back those comments in his interview with Fox.

"I do not support a mandate," he said. "I am opposed to Obamacare and have been for the past two years."

The two comments resulted in stinging rebukes from several commentators and politicians who say the former House Speaker is undermining his party's efforts at reigning in the federal debt, but the former House speaker said he merely misspoke while mistakenly choosing to answer a "hypothetical boloney question."

Meanwhile, Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler told CNN the uproar is largely result of Washington's "literati" who "cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world."

"The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the from establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods," Tyler said. "Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces."

On another matter, Gingrich refused to address a story first reported by Politico that he and his wife, Callista, carried a revolving charge account between $250,001 and $500,000 in 2005 and 2006 for the Tiffany & Co. jewelry store when his wife worked as a congressional staffer.

"If it doesn't relate to solving our problems, from now on my answer's going to be, 'I'm not commenting on it,'" Gingrich said. "I'm not playing Trivial Pursuit."


Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • Paul Ryan
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Paul Hogue

    So he's sorry about criticizing Republicans, but he's not sorry about the "food stamp President" remark? That's pathetic.

    May 18, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. ConservaFASCISTS

    The republican party has disowned you Newt. You're done! You said what you meant and you can't run away from that. You tried to sound like a centrist and got clobbered by your own party for doing so. Plain and simple, you're a hypocrite!

    May 18, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. ED FL

    Ginghrich is right .He is one SORRY idiotic person. Being a GOP politician is just one of the excuses he uses but all who have known him since the 1990's are well aware of how sorry he really is.

    May 18, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. j

    I don`t see anything to "distort" !!!!!!! -- Poor Newt, he just forgot he no longer holds any political office.

    May 18, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. d

    Newt's turning into a bigger Flip-Flopper than Mittens.

    May 18, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. JT

    The sad thing here, other than the fact that Gingrich actually believes he has a shot, is that he has to apologize for criticizing something if he actually felt the criticism was warranted. In this case, it absolutely was and apparently, the GOP operatives behind the budget plan knew it. As much as I dislike Newt and disagree with him on just about everything, I actually feel for him here. The crazies are in charge of the asylum.

    May 18, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. sgoodell07

    Makes you wonder if he is nothing more than another puppet, his strimgs being pulled by whoever he thinks holds the keys to the kingdom, and make no mistake that is exactly what politicians think...the keys to the kingdom.

    May 18, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. Henry

    I love it when these Republicans blame their "misspeak" on the media. Folks who watch Fox eat this up because they really see themselves as the victims of the "lamestream media" as Palin describes the honest news people.

    It is so interesting to see how, when a Republican says something contradicting the party line, they are whipped into submission and into giving an apology.

    May 18, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  9. kari

    Get on board Newt. If you're not in lock step with the ultra conservative fringe, you have 0 chance. And for g*d's sake don't ever ever ever even hint that you support any of Obama's policies.

    May 18, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. Jess C

    Sure, and how many other "mistakes" has this creep made targeting Dems just for sport. The GOP seems to be desperate and hyper-crazy for years now.

    May 18, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. StrategicBob

    The one time Gingrich is actually right and he ends up being forced to apologize for his "mistake." The current GOP stands for many things but, unlike its earlier incarnations, America and Americans aren't on the list. I dislike the Dumbocrats but I despise the Rethuglicans.

    May 18, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. Terry Gloege

    After all these years in the Republican Party Newt should know better than to tell the truth about anything. Everyone knows that it is right to perpetuate a failed system that benefits the wealthy rather than do what is best for all.

    May 18, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. gt

    you sure did make a mistake,,, you should not have run,,,,

    May 18, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Aaron

    Gingrich's next huge politically disastrous apology should be to the oil companies that their having to pay taxes at all. He's back in good graces with the Repubs on eliminating Medicare and Social Security, while cutting taxes for the rich. So, it's time to kiss up to the oil companies now.

    May 18, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  15. knapplc

    America needs to demand more from its political leaders. This nonsense of trying to make the best soundbite then backtracking when you get it wrong is endemic to politics, and it needs to stop. Gingrich is just the latest of these blowhards from both sides of the aisle who, apparently, have no real policy convictions, no actual planks in their platform, but rather create a candidacy out of saying what they think people want to hear at the time. Gingrich put his foot in his mouth – again – but it won't be his last, nor will it be the last any of these buffoons blunder. Had he said what he believed there'd be no need to backtrack like this. Sad.

    May 18, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. Grundoon

    Sing to the tune of Rapper's Delight:
    I said a flip flop,
    flippy to the floppy,
    the flip, flip a flop,
    and you don't stop a flopping,
    To the flip fliip floppy
    Say, up jump the Floppy
    To the flippy of the floppy the flip

    May 18, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Bessy

    Sure he did, and Rush Limbaugh told him so. WHAT A JOKE !

    May 18, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. aatami

    Of course he's saying he's sorry. He doesn't have the moral or ethical conviction to stick to what he truly believes, even if it does go against his own party's latest platform. Let's face it people, Blingrich and the Republican party as a whole are completely devoid of any ideas valuable to the vast majority of the american public. They represent the needs and desires of the nations wealthiest one percent and that is all! Don't be fooled with their scare tactics or their appeal to your religious ideals.

    May 18, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. jaywingfuller

    Your mistake, gNewt, is running for president. You have nothing to offer and, once again, you stick your foot in your mouth and have to 'walk back" comments you made off the top of your head. And, of course, you run like a scard rabbit to FAUX news to reverse course, because a real news agency with real reporters would pick you apart like they did on NBC on Sunday. You need to go away. Hey, the Donald needs a new roommate in obscure-land. You're a perfect fit!

    May 18, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. Thankfully Independent

    What a spinless excuse for a presidential candidate. Aside from his moral issues, I thought Gingrich had some leadership qualities that made him a viable candidate. Not any longer. I don't vote for jellyfish.

    May 18, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. FM

    How come Gingrich is admitting he made a mistake! Was it after he has been put in a box??? Can we call him a mistake man!! He made mistake with family value and now this???? We get judged of what we do and hence say. He has been judged already regardless how many millions times he will say sorry!

    May 18, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Pathetic man.

    May 18, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. once upon a horse

    Oh BOO HOO HOO...the Newt Gingrich apology tour now begins. He said what he meant to say but now he's sorry because he really didn't mean it. And THIS is the man some want for POTUS?? I bet he caught an earful from the wife when he got home after this because she looks like the kind who doesn't take any crap off of him.

    May 18, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. TEE

    Walk it back Newt....Go see a doctor for that consistant foot in mouth problem you have.....

    May 18, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. sh

    This is even better than "He was for it before he was against it". Sorry Newt, this is just one more misstep in a long line of missteps. It sounds like somebody got taken to the wood shed.

    Good bye and good riddance pumkin eater!!!

    May 18, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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