Gingrich blasts McConnell over debt ceiling
July 12th, 2011
05:41 PM ET
4 years ago

Gingrich blasts McConnell over debt ceiling

(CNN)- Despite recent public scraps with his own party, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich didn't hold back Tuesday on the subject of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's debt ceiling plan.

"McConnell's plan is an irresponsible surrender to big government, big deficits and continued overspending," Gingrich tweeted.

As Democrats and Republicans remain divided on a solution to resolving the debt ceiling, which will reach its limit August 2, McConnell pushed for a limited debt ceiling increase deal.

At issue is whether the deal will include revenue from taxes as well as spending cuts. McConnell favors a deal that relies solely on spending cuts and proposed a plan including three short-term increases in the amount the government can borrow. He pledged the GOP would "choose a path that actually reflects the will of the people which is to do the responsible thing and ensure that the government does not default on its obligations."

But for Gingrich, it seems that's not enough.

He addressed a tea party group in Charleston, South Carolina, saying, "I don’t quite know what Sen. McConnell was trying to accomplish today. It is a fundamental mistake for the congressional Republicans to try to find a way out of the current fight. They cannot allow Obama to intimidate them by trying to frighten senior citizens. What they should be doing is offering very small bites that are impossible for him to turn down."

The 2012 GOP presidential contender advised the GOP to confront the debt ceiling head-on. "What Republicans shouldn’t do is try to back down from this fight," he said.

Battling an old foe, Gingrich, who was at the helm of a shutdown of federal government after a budget stalemate during the Clinton administration, again sought to highlight the value of a standoff between both parties.

"The Washington media will tell you we made a huge mistake closing the government in 1995 and 1996 and I will tell you, as one of the people who did it, that is baloney," he argued.

"I would say to the Republicans in Washington today: You have to have the courage to stand for what you believe in and believe that the American people are smarter than the elite media think they are or political consultants think they are. You have to be prepared to go nose to nose with the president and win the argument."

Gingrich drew fire from fellow Republicans in June when he called House Budget Chair Paul Ryan's plan to battle the deficit "right-wing social engineering." After being openly chastised by GOP leaders for undermining his party's efforts to battle the deficit, Gingrich later walked back on the comments, stating that he'd made "a mistake."

"The fact is that I have supported what Ryan's trying to do on the budget," he said.

"Let me say on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said … is a falsehood," Gingrich continued. "I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate. And I'm prepared to stand up, when I make a mistake … because that way we can have an honest conversation."

And, honestly, Gingrich believes McConnell's plan is just plain wrong.

"The answer to Obama's irresponsibility is a principled "no," not a blank check," he wrote in a follow-up tweet.

CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.


Filed under: Debt • Deficit • Mitch McConnell • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. Billy
    July 12, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Al-NY,NY
    July 12, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. GI Joe
    July 12, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. sara
    July 12, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. BeverlyNC
    July 12, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Sniffit
    July 12, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Cyric
    July 12, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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    July 12, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. michaelam
    July 12, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. texan
    July 12, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. AndreLinoge
    July 12, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. Stephen in VA
    July 12, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. Jess C.
    July 12, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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  18. AZ DEM
    July 12, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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    July 12, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
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    July 12, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
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