(CNN) – On the campaign trail, Newt Gingrich profusely criticizes the bailout of two American automakers, but the candidate admitted in an interview Friday that the program did achieve a measure of success.
"The reality is that the bailout has worked to some extent," Gingrich told CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," before transitioning to his criticism of the program, which began under President George W. Bush and continued under President Barack Obama. "It's also left the union dramatically stronger than it would have been. It has shifted the balance of power inside the companies decisively.
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In the interview, which also addressed foreign policy and energy issues, Gingrich made his argument that the bailout was "a very bad example of the Obama administration intervening to pick winners and losers."
Gingrich also hammered the president on his energy policy, arguing that the White House ought to advance the proposed Keystone oil pipeline, expand drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and open parts of protected Alaska land for drilling.
"The president is a left wing radical who appointed a 'secretary of anti-energy,'" Gingrich said, referring to Obama's energy secretary Steven Chu.
"I think we have a deep strategic interest in becoming once again the largest oil producer in the world, and my guess is that we could be the largest oil producer before the end of this decade," said Gingrich, who has claimed that his energy policy would lead to gas prices of approximately $2.50.
Gingrich described the president's Thursday speech on energy policy - in which he proposed developing a broad range of energy resources, including gas, nuclear, oil, solar, wind and algae - as a comedy routine.
"I think bio fuels are important," Gingrich said. "I've supported bio fuels. I think in the long run algae's important. But the idea that he thinks drilling won't work so he's advocating algae? I mean it really is very close to a Saturday Night Live skit."
He continued his criticism of Obama for apologizing after NATO soliders in Afghanistan burned religious materials, including Qurans. U.S. officials said the materials contained "extremist inscriptions."
"I'm not defending burning the Qurans, although the circumstances in which they were being used would strike me as in itself having been blasphemous, because as I understand it, they were being used as part of a process of passing out messages from people who were imprisoned," Gingrich said.
"And you have a lot of young men and women out there doing the best they can, and there's an unfortunate tendency in this administration to always assume that it's the Americans who made mistakes, the Americans who need to be apologized for and I'm pretty unrepentant on this," he continued.
Gingrich said the Afghan government should apologize for a recent incident where an assailant wearing an Afghan military uniform killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded four.
"I'm tired of our young men and women being ambushed, bombed, shot, and then we're being told we have to be sensitive," he said. "Well, I think the other side ought to be a little sensitive, too."
Gingrich had suggested Thursday that if the Afghan president does not apologize, the United States should withdraw from the country.
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