Fort Dodge, Iowa (CNN) – Newt Gingrich threw his support behind Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden's new Medicare reform plan, calling it "a big step in the right direction."
"It's nice to see us break how Washington's been operating and a Democrat and a Republican come together for that kind of bipartisan approach," Gingrich said Thursday, speaking at the Willow Ridge Golf course in Fort Dodge.
Gingrich made similar comments to Iowa Public Television earlier Thursday, suggesting the plan might be the "beginning of breaking up the logjam, and starting to get Democrats and Republicans to talk to each other."
The proposal from the two lawmakers, which would go into effect in 2022, would keep traditional Medicare as an option and allow private insurance to engage in regulated competition with the government-run health plan.
Gingrich's comments follow criticism from the campaign of rival Mitt Romney, who has pounded the former House speaker over his past opposition of Ryan's initial proposal to overhaul Medicare.
Gingrich called the plan, which would institute voucher accounts for beneficiaries, "right-wing social engineering." Following public outcry Gingrich walked the statement back and eventually offered support for the plan. But Team Romney has released web videos and a series of fact-check emails attempting to paint Gingrich as unreliable.
– CNN's Gabriella Schwarz and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.