(CNN) – Conservative radio host Glenn Beck became the latest Republican to go after newly minted presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich Tuesday.
After saying the radio segment would not be a "gotcha interview," Beck aggressively questioned the former House speaker over issues including climate change and health care reform.
Gingrich somewhat famously recorded a public service announcement in 2008 with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about steps to combat climate change, something Beck in the interview called "the dumbest moment." In response, Gingrich toed the line on the issue, saying he believed "in the environment in general," and that evidence exists on both sides of the climate change argument.
"I never believed in Al Gore's fantasies," Gingrich said, before adding that he worked against cap and trade legislation as a member of Congress.
Criticism of his long record in public office has increased with his recent rise in polling of Republican voters, something Beck perpetuated during his questioning over Gingrich's stance on health care, and more specifically the changes to Medicare he would or would not support.
Gingrich said he promotes a practical approach to changing the program, instead of completely overhauling or dismantling it, as some, including House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan and Beck have suggested.
"I think 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 upon," Gingrich said. "I'm against 'ObamaCare,' which is imposing radical change and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change."
His opinions surrounding the health care entitlement program have come up repeatedly in his candidacy, with his previous statements coming under fire.
In 1993, as Beck pointed out, he said he supported individuals having health insurance "like automobile insurance."
"I am prepared to vote for a voucher system, which will give individuals on a sliding scale a government subsidy so it will ensure that everyone as individuals have health insurance," Gingrich said at the time.
In May he said there should be "some requirement to either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you are going to be held accountable," but said he opposes "the Obamacare mandate. Period."
When Beck said he seemed to be "very interested in the government finding the solution," which would put him at odds with the Republican voting base, Gingrich said he would support the Ryan proposals, which he previously criticized, and added that he wants all Americans to have health insurance. But he stopped short of supporting a national mandate.
"I would allow people to have the option to choose premium support and then have freedom to negotiate with their doctors or their hospital," Gingrich said. "But I wouldn't impose it on everybody across the board. I think that's a very large scale experiment. But I think you could migrate people toward it."
Beck, who hosted a show on Fox News until earlier this year, was the latest Republican to push the former speaker, who cultivated fans and enemies during his time at the top of the Congressional power ladder.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who served with Gingrich in the House as a Republican called him a "bad person" who is a "danger to America" on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday. Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who also served with Gingrich, questioned his leadership style Sunday.
"I'm not inclined to be a supporter of Newt Gingrich, having served under him for four years and experienced, personally, his leadership," Coburn said during an interview on "Fox News Sunday."
Their comments come amid an onslaught of articles, including from conservative George Will, questioning the top tier presidential candidate.
In a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post, Will said Gingrich is the least conservative candidate in the race and "embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive."
"And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything," Will wrote. "Conservatism inoculates against the hubristic volatility that Gingrich exemplifies and Genesis deplores: 'Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.'"
But Beck ended his interview by issuing praise on the candidate.
"It's obvious it was very clear in advance and I hope my staff made this very clear that this isn't going to be an easy interview, but I think you've, you know, there was no gaffes here by any stretch of the imagination," Beck said. "I didn't expect any, but I appreciate the willingness to come on and answer the tough questions."