(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."
If Newt wins the GOP, it's OBAMA 2012!!!!
Minor problem here bucky... Obama loses in a head to head matchup with the dog catcher from Poughkeepsie. Obama's approval numbers continue to plummet. By Nov. 2012, even a majority of Democrats will vote against him.
Beck is the male version or Palin
I agree with Morning Joe. I can't stand Gingrich either and think he is a pompus idiot. As far as Romney's religion what does that have to do with being Pres. Its ridiculous already people both liberal and conservative bringing it up.
Yes, yes they do
"When two turds collide and nobody is around to hear it, does it still smell horrible?"
Beck is no GOPer. He's a circus clown. And CNN should be ignoring him.
The GOP's mantra if you are poor get out of America or die
the Democrats mantra, become goverment dependents and slaves, we'll steal the money from others that will keep you dependent. Trust us, you'll enjoy "living" in those government tenament houses.
Every time he opens mouth, he inserts foot. I can not believe how dumb the people are who adhere to this crackpot adulterers ideas. Let the poor children work, there is no global warming, Obama was not born in the USA etc etc. As Jay Leno says SHUT UP. To that I will add GET LOST.
OMG I thought he was gone – if this isn't like a fool calling an idiot stupid – I don't know what it
My father, a lifelong Republican and one-time John Bircher, were he alive today would spit on Gingrich's candidacy, once calling him a "fat, deceitful, conceited troll."
Yep, Dad, you're right.
Ah Beck – the political dumpster diver – they deserve each other.
Is Newt's tie tucked into his pants in that picture? This could be a major problem. Just not presidential at all. .....sigh
Becky boy strings words together to make the ignorant right wing believe in what he is saying...
Democrats answer to everything, TAX THE RICH, TAX BUSINESS, what government tenement houses? Please explain your sources, if you can.
If I show that I am truly crazy by teaching my kids how to speak Klingon, could I get a job as a right wing disc jockey?
One would have thought that Beck and Gingrich were soul brothers, but Beck is far too stupid to challenge Newt in any way. They deserve one another.
Please vote for Newt Gingrich.
You cant stop a turd from smellin bad,
When there's one in the bowl jus flush it down
So the idiot Left rides again. You people crack me up.
The GOP is a joke!!!
"saying he believed "in the environment in general"....
I do too Newt.. I'm looking out the window at the environment.. I believe what I see
I suppose this was another test to see if a candidate is crazy enough to satisfy the right-wing that controls the Republican Party. Newt is smart and dishonest enough to handle Beck. If any actual moderate, Barry Goldwater-type Republicans still exist they'd better show some support for Jon Huntsman – the only Republican candidate with pragmatic solutions and some level of compassion for the middle class.
Glenn who ?
They just need to go to town on each other and get it over with.
I told my doctor i wasnt happy about the medication he put me on,
and he told me to find another doctor.
Newt is freaking crazy.
The Koch Brothers are running out of hand puppets.