Checking the transcript on Gingrich's debate pushback
December 16th, 2011
11:09 AM ET
2 years ago

Checking the transcript on Gingrich's debate pushback

(CNN) - During Thursday's debate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pushed back against charges that he initially derided House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare before ultimately coming out in support of the plan.

Citing comments Gingrich made during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" back in May, Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked Gingrich if Mitt Romney's claims that he has been inconsistent on the issue are fair.

"If you go back and look at the 'Meet the Press' quote, it didn't reference him," Gingrich said, referring to Ryan. "And I'll come back and say it again, a free society should make very big decisions with the support of the people."

According to the transcript of "Meet the Press" from May 15, Gingrich was right to say that host David Gregory's initial question did not specifically reference Ryan, instead referring more generally to "Republicans" and proposals to turn Medicare into a "voucher program." It was to this question that Gingrich responded with his now infamous answer that such proposals would constitute "right-wing social engineering."

But Gregory asked specifically about Ryan's plan in his follow-up question, and Gingrich was only slightly less critical.

"I think that that is too big a jump," Gingrich said, referring to Ryan's proposal to replace Medicare with a voucher program. "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 the - I don't want to - I'm against Obamacare , which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change."

So while Gingrich was correct to say that he didn't expressly call Ryan's plan "right-wing social engineering," the transcript indicates his opinion at the time on the popular committee chairman's proposal was still quite critical.

Also see:

Gingrich 'editing' his words as campaign acknowledges concern

Bachmann camp: Gingrich morphs positions based on 'who's paying'

Perry moving staff to Iowa


Filed under: 2012 • Medicare • Newt Gingrich • Paul Ryan
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Gurgi

    A conservative cannot vote for Gingrich as he would be a second term of Obama-like governing.

    December 16, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Thomas

    Just what we need , another old candidate people distrust and dislike .

    Newt , The Goest of Christmas Past !

    December 16, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    While he didn't use the phrase in the same sentence when referring to the Ryan plan, the very close proximity to it and the context of the questioning would link them.

    What I find intriguin gis his use of the words "right-wing social engineering" as if he was not including himself in that group. Was he trying to position himself as a moderate compared to Ryan? Also to me, right wing and social engineering don't go together. The right tries to empower individuals, not engineer the entire social landscape. That is what leftists do for the collective. I think Newt my have been a tad bent out of shape because Ryan's plan was getting so much attention.

    December 16, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    The public court of opinion says he's guilty as charged. He was dead set against the Ryan Plan during the interview. People should take note of his choice of words because other conservatives have echoed similar remarks on other issues. "I think that that is too big a jump," Gingrich said. In other words, "I agree with the goal but not let's not rush it."

    Newt's remarks are extremely similar to Gov. Kasich's [R-OH] remarks after the 2011 election when The People voted down his union busting reforms. He said, "It was too soon." Republicans have long term plans for the shape and direction of our society. They want to take their country back.

    December 16, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Bruce

    The TGOP cannot dis-own Newt no more than the left can dis-own Al Sharpton!!!!

    December 16, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth, there's an old saying: if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its a duck: Newt was absolutely correct in his description of imposing a right-wing view on people. There was no "incentive" to create a better outcome, ti was forcing people in order for companies to make a profit. To say the Right wing does not engineer or attempt to engineer the entire social landscape is utter nonsense: just ask yourself about conservative attitudes on abortion or gay rights, and you ahve your answer.

    December 16, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.""

    You mean like the Bush tax cuts? Or how about getting rid of child labor laws so you can have poor kids work as janitors in their schools? Maybe a little privatization or destruction of SS and Medicare thrown in for good measure? A dash of environmental deregulation and closing the Dept. of Education? And just a sprinkling of reversing a half century of voting rights and union/labor rights? Riiiiight...he's against conservatives "imposing radical change"...

    December 16, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. Sniffit

    "Also to me, right wing and social engineering don't go together. The right tries to empower individuals, not engineer the entire social landscape."

    Yes, empowering individuals to not have marriage rights or the right to choose whether to have an abortion. Empowering them to sit in public school rooms while the teacher leads the class in a good ole Our Father. Empowering people to never retire because they've been paid the same wage all their lives and couldn't afford to save for retirement. Empowering them to be free of pesky healh insurance and medical care. Empowering them to have no right to organize themselves to gain bargaining leverage with their employers and defend their common interests. Empowering everyone to enjoy the wonderous gift of politically motivated ideological partisan gridlock designed to thwart the current POTUS and prove that "gov't is broken." Empowering non-living, non-breathing, non-feeling, non-reproducing, non-family-raising, NON-VOTING corporate frankensteins to drown out the actual votes of the public with electioneering and lobbying money. Empowering the rich to continue accumulating an ever-increasing share of the nation's wealth, assets and treasure. The list goes on and on...

    The only things the GOP have empowered over the past several decades are a select few exrtemely rich people and the executive branch. Go read something about fascism and learn how much right wing empowers the "people." Then look up plutocracy.

    December 16, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    > just ask yourself about conservative attitudes on abortion or gay rights, and you ahve your answer.

    Many people, even those that don't consider themselves conservatives, do think abortion is the taking of a life and that life should be protected under our Constitution. In this day and age, there are loads of birth control measures that work very well. Abortion should not be a substitute for birth control.

    As for gay rights, I don't think most people care except that gays have imposed THEIR social engineering on the rest of the population. For thousands of years, marriage was between a man and a woman. If gays want to become a union, then call it gayriage, or something else. Don't attempt to commendeer another word and completely redefine its meaning to a vast majority of its society.

    December 16, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Newt changing his mind about things is not new. He has claimed that he only takes money from groups he agrees with. Then he takes huge amounts from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Does that mean he is for the ideas that helped bring about the housing crisis and the banking collapse. Now he says NO. Then he took the money and according to him did nothing for it.
    I'm not certain what passed through his mind, but it is on record what he did.
    The only thing I am certain of is that Newt would attend the opening of a refrigerator if he thought there was a film crew there.

    December 16, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth wrote:
    The right tries to empower individuals, not engineer the entire social landscape.
    -------------------–
    I guess that explains why the right wing voter places such a high priority on social issues.

    -conservatives try to block mosques from being built.
    -conservatives try to define who a person can marry.
    -conservatives try to define who can and cannot serve in the military.
    -conservatives try to convert everyone to Christianity.

    December 16, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Truth and Nothing wrote:
    As for gay rights, I don't think most people care except that gays have imposed THEIR social engineering on the rest of the population. For thousands of years, marriage was between a man and a woman. If gays want to become a union, then call it gayriage, or something else.
    ------------------
    Most people do not care about the details of the relationships of strangers and people the do not know. Christianity defines mariage is between a man and a woman. There are other societies around the world where same sex relationships is accepted as the natural order of things. The US Constitution prohibits the government from endorsing one religion or another.

    You do not have to accept gay marriage, but you must accept the fact that you cannot lawfuly do anything to prohibit it.

    December 16, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |