August 14th, 2013
02:21 PM ET
5 years ago

Gingrich: Republicans have 'zero' health care ideas

Boston (CNN) – Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich reprimanded his fellow Republicans in unusually harsh terms Wednesday, blaming GOP members of Congress for developing "zero" alternatives to President Obama's health care reform law.

Gingrich, who was speaking at the opening session of the Republican National Committee's summer meeting, fielded a question about "Obamacare" and recalled that Republicans were able to block Bill Clinton's health care reform effort in 1994 because they had "a positive alternative approach" to health care.

But Republicans today have nothing comparable to offer, Gingrich told nearly the 200 state party chairs, operatives and activists gathered in Boston for the conference.

"I will bet you, for most of you, you go home in the next two weeks when your members of Congress are home, and you look them in the eye and you say, 'What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?' They will have zero answer," Gingrich said.

Gingrich blamed the problem on Republican culture that rewards obstruction and negativity instead of innovation and "being positive."

"We are caught up right now in a culture, and you see it every single day, where as long as we are negative and as long as we are vicious and as long as we can tear down our opponent, we don't have to learn anything," Gingrich said, acknowledging the "totally candid" nature of his remarks. "We have to do the homework."

"This is a very deep problem," said Gingrich, who was recently named one of the hosts of CNN's political talk show "Crossfire."

Gingrich's remarks were pegged to his forthcoming book "Breakout," which calls on Republicans to embrace new technologies and policies in an effort to become a party of the future.

President Obama also accused Republicans of having no health care plan during a White House press conference last week, a claim that was met with disdain by House Republican leaders who circulated a series of health care ideas to reporters after the president's remarks.

A number of prominent conservatives in the House and Senate are pushing to shut down the federal government in a bid to de-fund the president's health care law when Congress takes up a government spending measure in late September.

Asked if he agreed with Gingrich's arguments, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said "not completely." He pointed to a number of piecemeal health care proposals available on the web sites of House Republican leaders.

Priebus said he supports repealing or de-funding Obamacare, but pressed on whether he would support a government shutdown to accomplish those goals, Priebus said he did not want to debate tactics.

Filed under: Crossfire • Health care • Newt Gingrich • RNC
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    The Individual Mandate WAS the alternative, the alternative that became law. This is what happens when reflexive hatred is substituted for policy.

    August 14, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. anotherGDlefty

    Sure they have a plan Newt, they are just now required to hate it.
    It's the same plan you and the Heritage Foundation pushed in 1994...except now a democrat president proposed it and renamed it the ACA.
    There is no winning with the Tealiban only destruction.

    August 14, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Peppy

    Does either side have anyone whos head isn't in their backside ????

    August 14, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. O'drama ya Mama

    You would think that these old GOP guys would be stuck in the past but its seems that they are the ones who are waking up and realizing their party is in trouble.

    August 14, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. I'm NOT a liberal

    And the democrats plan will destroy the country.

    As a democrat recently said "It's a TRAIN WRECK".

    August 14, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. I'm NOT a liberal

    Democrats forgot to mention in this bill that they're exempt from the taxes.

    August 14, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. California Gary

    This is the most "sane" statement Newt has made in years. Saying no to everything and obstructing those that are trying to do the right thing, while offering no viable alternatives, is not a policy and it's certainly not leadership. But these days, it's all the GOP can offer up. Sad state of affairs.

    August 14, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. tstorm92

    Gingrich could have stopped with "Republicans have ZERO ideas", period!

    August 14, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Data Driven

    Admirable candor from Newt, but then he's no longer running for anything, so it's easy.

    Remember when McConnell et alia were talking about "repeal and replace"? Well, the "tea party" got into Congress and were too dumb for the "replace" part. So the only answer is ... shut down the government! defund Obamacare! Er, except it's been shown that they can't defund Obamacare.

    Have fun at those town halls, Congresscritters! ... er, except the media is reporting that you're not scheduling town halls this break.

    Er ...

    August 14, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Vikingsrule

    "Republicans were able to block Bill Clinton's health care reform effort in 1994 because they had "a positive alternative approach" to health care." Yeah everyone knows now- it was Obamacare.

    August 14, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    -–I like this dude, it is the basic reason they lost the election like a crazy dog. Know this truth. For a decade or two–they never make it. News is known to all direction with coffee time.

    August 14, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. sonny chapman

    Careful Newton: Speaking truth to power is bad for your health. Just ask Jesus & John the Baptist.

    August 14, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. California Gary

    Good question Peppy........there does seem to be a lot of folks from both ends of the political spectrum hiding their heads where the sun don't shine. But at least some of those on the Dem side of things are "trying" to do the right things........the GOP folks are offering up nothing but a whole lot of no.

    August 14, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    Remember when Newt describe the Ryan Plan as " Right-wing Social Engineering"?. Whatever his other faults are, Gingrich knows how to call a spade a spade, and since he has no current politcal aspirations, he can afford to be honest. This confirms what the rest of the country has known for years anyway: too bad he did not bother to access their absence of real policy on everything else, but I'm sure he had a time limit.

    August 14, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Laverne

    I can't beleive I am agreeing with Newt 100%, damn!

    August 14, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. You're NOT smart enough to be a liberal

    I'm NOT a liberal said "And the democrats plan will destroy the country."
    No there's the Tea Party view – over-the-top, apocalyptic rhetoric completely untethered to reality.

    BTW, did Newt accidently ingest some truth serum? Quick, ask him some more questions.

    August 14, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Data Driven

    "they lost the election like a crazy dog"

    Sometimes you say the coolest things, Gurgyl. 🙂

    August 14, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. just me

    Proves that blind squirrel and a nut saying

    August 14, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. sonny chapman

    Hey Repubs., this is an idea; rename the ACA the "Bob Dole/Richard Nixon/Mitt Romney Personal Responsibility Health Care Act". Take Obama's name out of the picture & watch the hate level drop.

    August 14, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    The only answers the rethugs/teatrolls have is to impose their antiquated will on women, gays, the poor, seniors and veterans among others.
    @just saying, going back to Iraq . . . Hussein might have been a dictator but Iraqi citizens didn't have to worry about bombs everyday of their lives as they do now. The thousand deaths include American soldiers. Just because your head is impacted in your behind doesn't mean the truth isn't out there.

    August 14, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Newt said constituents will ask their [R] politicians 'What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?'.... They will have zero answer,"

    Out of the mouths of babes, and rightwing cranks.

    Soon even he, one of the primary authors of the [R]-driven partisan political genecide we see now in Washington, will not be welcome in his own party, as it leans ever rightward after each election failure.

    August 14, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |

    Newt also called the Ryan budget right wing social engineering. They couldn't get the votes in the House for it. The Guns over People Shutdown Government tea potty have nothing to offer America but unconstitutional abortion and voter supression ideas.

    August 14, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Gone from Ga

    The actual truth from Newt- the gop has zero to offer on a alternative. Wonder how FAUX news will spin this one.

    August 14, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. comfypaws

    Here are 9 Republican health care alternatives to lower cost, provide better care and protect jobs:

    August 14, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. I'm NOT a liberal

    You're NOT smart enough to be a liberal

    I'm NOT a liberal said "And the democrats plan will destroy the country."
    No there's the Tea Party view – over-the-top, apocalyptic rhetoric completely untethered to reality.

    BTW, did Newt accidently ingest some truth serum? Quick, ask him some more questions.
    Your radical communistic ways are pathetic at best. The closest thing you liberals could be described as is a parasite.

    August 14, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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