February 24th, 2010
05:01 PM ET
12 years ago

Gingrich: Capitol Hill staffers 'have never had a real job'

Washington (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich apparently doesn't hold Capitol Hill staffers in high esteem. Or at least the ones writing health care legislation these days.

Gingrich, discussing the Obama administration's health care plans during remarks to the Atlanta Press Club on Wednesday, said "no one is smart enough" to write a comprehensive health care bill.

"It's not possible to write a comprehensive bill that that makes sense, because nobody understands the system," he said. Gingrich claimed that the White House and congressional Democrats are writing their health care bills in secret, something he called "suicidal hubris."

He went on to ridicule the men and women who work in the halls of Congress, where he served as a congressman from Georgia for two decades.

"Of course it's the nature of the modern Congress, which hires lots of nice young staffers who have never had a real job, who spent their entire life being arrogant to visitors from back home, who end up thinking they know a lot because they stay up until 3 o'clock working on a word processor, and who write legislation as though they have some contact with reality," he said, eliciting laughter.

Looking ahead to Thursday's much-anticipated health care summit in Washington, Gingrich predicted that "very little" will come out of the event, which he described as "a public relations dance for the purpose of setting up a last desperate effort to pass a bill through reconciliation," the budget process by which Democrats could pass a bill without having to break a potential filibuster by Republicans.

But Gingrich, who is mulling a possible bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, also said Republicans should be prepared to demand equal time and "to lay out a whole series of options" so they can find common ground with Democrats on health care.

He said using reconciliation would be "cheating" and "breaking the rules."

"For Harry Reid to try to use reconciliation on 18 percent of the economy, on life and death, would be an act worthy of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and a fundamental violation of 200 years of Senate precedent," he argued.

Reconciliation, of course, has been used in the recent past for major legislation, including the Bush tax cuts and landmark welfare reform during the Clinton administration.

Filed under: Health care • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Paul Illinois

    Newt has a point – each Politician in the House and Senate therefore should fire 25% of their staffers (*we have all been laid off or have friends who have been) and between the salary, benefits and operating expenses we'll save millions – over time = billions

    February 24, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Scott

    ...and nor has Gingrich himself.

    February 24, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Steve

    Gingrich is a blowhard

    February 24, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. E.J.in Mexico

    Gingrich and Palin would be a perfect match for one another come 2012 election. Both health care bill basher's with no solutions of their own only spewing a bunch of hot air.
    Here he is cutting young staffers and his colleagues but adding no real substance to the table. What a maroon and joke to the GOP. Go for it Newt and Obama will surely win another election in a landslide and leave the failing GOP in the dust.
    Better get lots of buttered popcorn for the next election.
    E.J in Mexico

    February 24, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  5. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Neither has Newt Gingrich! Once he got elected to office, he dumped his wife (who worked multiple jobs to put him through college), for another woman.

    February 24, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Jim

    Wow! Newt Gingrich talks about hubris. Newt Ginrich is the egomainiac champion of hubris. And he calls reconciliation, which he has used before cheating. Well, I will at least agree that he is a cheater...

    February 24, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. birdy

    newt gingrich has never had a real job doing anything for this country other than keeping it at a complete standstill by thwarting progress.

    February 24, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. m smith

    this fat boy is what the repos consider a smart man. They keep saying how dumb our president is but that this clown is smart. We need to get rid of all these fat old worn out repos instead of recycling them over and over again. Count how many times reconciliation has been used and you will find that the repos win hands down. It only works for them The Hugo Chaves remarks where not only stupid but unpatriotic and since the repos used it last wll he must be loosing his memory too. Let's ditch this ol dirtbag.He is about as useful as 9/10s of the repo party. No free thinkers just a bunch of followers.

    February 24, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Adalbert

    Gingrich is one of this country's most dishonest politician.

    February 24, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. I am Newt Limebaugh

    Why does anyone take the time to listen to this piece of crap, he is an adulterous sinister being who initiated the whole aura of divisive partisanship in the 1990's. Remember this is a conservative who bashed Clinton about Ethics but mysteriously went quiet during Clinton's Lewinsky deal.....why?...because he was out there showing off his GOP moral values in an affair.

    This guy is only relevant because they keep him on Fox News and appeals to the neo con base........You can NEVER trust anyone named Newt.

    Between Newt and Tom Delay and their "gerrymandering"....they set politics back 50 yrs.

    February 24, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  11. Emma

    Gingrich, what makes your opinion mean anything? You are so lopsided
    with your political ideology.

    February 24, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. Dean

    Most people in our government have never had a real job. Including the slimey lawyers who feed off of people's problems.

    February 24, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. tmart

    He's a rude, crude, and bizarre little man, and he makes me laugh because I just can't take him seriously anymore.

    February 24, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Aside from wrecking the government, what job has this evil buffoon ever held?

    February 24, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. mikec

    Looks like Newt has alienated another group of voters. Who's going to vote for him if he runs for president.

    February 24, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  16. Craig H Easton, PA

    Neither have you!

    February 24, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. John W. Olver

    Gingrich is a pathetic political loser. Clinton kicked his butt and he's now trying to become viable again. He's a twit, a philanderer and has little respect for the truth. He has not changed one iota since he briefly held the stage years ago. Old and tired.

    February 24, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  18. JJ

    Wow, talk about calling the kettle black.

    February 24, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  19. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    So what "real job" has Newt ever held? Legislator, lecturer, think tanker. hmmmmmm. At least he has kept his divorce lawyers employed.

    February 24, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. Cindy

    Gingrich is going down, so he's trying to throw stones along the way.

    There must've been a nice young staffer in his past, who hurt his feelings...

    February 24, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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