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. Chuck

    Every time I hear Newt talk, I wonder if he has ever had a REAL JOB!!
    He seems to live in a non real world!!

    February 24, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    I'm beginning to think it must be National Insult Everyone Week for conservative republicans.

    February 24, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    No one can make up history as well as Newt. As a history professor, you would think he wouldn't play with the facts, but he always has had a habit of reinventing them to make his point. The only thing he said that makes sense is that the Republicans should "lay out a whole series of options", something they have yet to do.

    February 24, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  4. jeff jackson, alabama

    BULL !!!!!! The problem in Wash. D.C. is
    that very few of the congressmen and senators
    have ever HAD A REAL JOB !!!!!

    February 24, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Chandler02

    Gingrich needs to listen to NPR. MOST of health care legislation from the past 30 years has passed due to reconcillation. Plus, the GOP used reconcillation to pass $2 Trillion tax cuts, and their $1 trillion Medicare Part D plan.

    February 24, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Let's see a show of hands of those who care what Newt has to say about anything!

    February 24, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Come on Newt!

    Thanks for admitting that *you're* too stupid to understand health care - some refreshing honesty. But then it descends to the usual Republican hypocrisy. Of course it was OK for Bush to pass his disasterous welfare for the wealthy with 51 votes, but God forbid the Dems try to help people using the same method. Please Dems, for once stand up against GOP bullies and get something done for the people.

    February 24, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. aware

    There is No Money for a massive bill – kill it you spineless, greedy wimps! 🙁

    February 24, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Norah (Boston, MA)

    Reconciliation is only "cheating" if the democrats do it – and how can it be breaking the rules- it is a rule. Gingrich is another one of the ethically challenged people who should just go away. He is repulsive. He really should go out into the public for a couple of years to meet the people who are hurt because of the republican's failure to do anything at all that is constructive and then he can talk about reality.

    February 24, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Larry

    As a prior Senate office employee, I resemble those remarks. However, Mr. Gingrich doesn't realize the knife cuts both ways. Both Dems and Repubs use the same sorts of young staffers. What applies to healthcare today applied to tax cuts and anti-terror legislation back in 2001.

    February 24, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Newtie tried to shut down the government against Clinton. He is a worthless pile of hypocritical crap. He even tried to convince Americans that the Richard Reid was mirandized because he was American. Not true again Newtie, he was British. I am beginning to think that Newter has as much gas as Rush.

    February 24, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. gwen from Ohio

    Newt you old blow hard go away – it was alright for the republicans to push through bush tax cuts for the wealthy with has caused a huge part of our current deficit (less taxes collected, higher deficit) I know your plan and the republican plan is to keep cutting taxes and starving the beast (the federal government) until all spending has to be cut – medicare, medicaid, social security, dept of education – but it won't effect you rich people, your kids will go to private schools and your all wealthy enough to live the high life and screw rest of us as we do our $7.00 an hour jobs (only ones republicans left in this country) serving all you rich guys!! Anyone who votes for these guys are crazy or stupid – of course the teabaggers hate Obama for high taxes when he has cut their taxes and they don't even realize it!STUPID< STUPID< STUPID!!!!

    February 24, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Texas Doc

    That's rich coming from a guy whose party used reconcilliation to pass 100% of the failed Contract With America. Go away Newt, you're a dinosaur.

    February 24, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. Lisa P

    Well I guess Gingrich should know, having fed off the public trough or its' spillover his whole life. What an idiot.

    February 24, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. ran

    More fear/hate/obstructionism by a Republican. Were was he and the other Republicans when Bush's tax cuts were ram through using reconciliation. Oh. they were the ones voting. My bad.

    People to really get our country to work for us all we need to get ride of the fear/hate/obstructionist/purity Republicans, blue dogs and Lieberman. So vote for either a true Democrat or Independent or if you must a Republican but make sure he or she is ready to do for the people first not their party.

    February 24, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. single mom

    People might laugh, but he's right. The people who make the policy, rules and bureaucracy never have to actually implement it. It's the written word equivalent of loving to hear your own voice.

    February 24, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Jane/Seattle

    Go away, Newt! No more Contracts ON America!

    February 24, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Can't Wait Til November

    I hope the Dems do pass their healthcare bill by using the reconcilliation process. Grand finale to the self implosion and a guarantee of sweeping (literally!) changes in Congress.

    February 24, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Dave L

    I'm having difficulty remembering any "real job" Mr. Gingrich has held, either before or since his failed stint in Congress.

    February 24, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  20. Sadie

    This man is the one that is out of touch with Reality........he has the same attitude that most Republicans have.......the attitude that they are smarter than everyone else and everyone else is below standard in their minds.....they think they have all the answers to all the problems and can solve them all by themselves......by have you yet heard any real debates from any of them on the solutions they would bring to this country to solve our problems.......NO

    February 24, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. harold

    Hey Newt.....Your Health Insurance plan and your Republican friends was a simple plan also... Just have no Health Insurance plan all 8 years of the Bush power years... So you pretty simple yourself Gingrich....Only your girl firend knows how well you did on the job at your work in Congress........huh? ....So who is calling who simple?

    February 24, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Dean

    Got some news for you Newt we don't have high esteem for political has beens like you either.

    February 24, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. davec.0121

    Newt's comments are amusing considering he's spent most of his life as a college professor, congressman, and/or professional talking head. Lots of contact with the 'real world' there.

    February 24, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. DCTWMT

    Once again, he reveals himself as a first rate hypocrite and jerk.

    February 24, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. Jim

    Has Newt ever had a real job?

    February 24, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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