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. NC

    He sure is living in the past word processors? I would not talk about cheating if I were him. Forget 2012 Gingrich, your time has passed.

    February 24, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. Hi I'm TriG, and my mommy scares me :-(

    Can anyone please list every hypocritical statement Newt just made above?

    I only have ten minutes online left and I just can't. Perhaps I am just "too emotional" to even write coherently 😉

    February 24, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. cayce

    What else is new,just like their leader O Great One NObama-what is a community organizer,kinda like a czar,What did he organize?Could not run a kool-aid stand in the desert.

    February 24, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Pete

    It is ironic that the good Mr. Gingrich is blasting Congressional staffers. I mean, he left his cancer stricken wife in order to marry...wait for it...a member of his Congressional staff.

    February 24, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. J.P.

    I didn't know Obama was a congressional staffer.

    February 24, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Aunt Bea and Opie

    And neither has old Clutch Cargo mouth here,he cant even do the peoples business in Congress,but he sure is good at taking bag money for special interests.

    February 24, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. jack

    Spoken like the true hypocrite he is. This from the man who used reconciliation like a club to get his way.

    Please make a run in '12, I will be LOL when you fail.

    February 24, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. paksa

    A very succinct, graphic, and correct analysis of the proposed health care bill now being reworked and shifted around in hopes of duping the American public. This whole long and incredibly foolish charade is beginning to seem like lunacy and has no real concern for the people – just an irrational determination by the Democrats to 'win' again. It's time to stop the circus, get rid of the clowns, and start over again!

    February 24, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. BeverlyNC

    And what real job has Gingrich ever held? He was a corrupt career politician who is still trying to pretend he is relevant. He wrote the horrible disaster "Contract with America" that ended up destroying jobs, enriching corporations, hurting the middle class on taxes and was the beginning of the end of the Republican Party.

    I don't think a man who was kicked out of Congress for corruption and ethics violations and who committed open acts of adultery on his wife with cancer should be criticizing anybody. Of course these old white guys like McCain, Ensign, Gingrich and many other Republicans think adultery is just fine and that commandment is not in their "value" system.

    February 24, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. JOHN

    I thought Newt was a convicted criminal..

    February 24, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. Nija

    This is the same man that wants to run for the president of the United States of America. You're so funny Mr . When you become a President in 600yrs from now then you can write the bill yourself. What a JERK.

    February 24, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Susan

    Kinda nailed this one Newt–NObama and his court of czars could not run a kool-aid stand in the desert- no job no experience– how could anyone believed this clown prince.

    February 24, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Ken in Mt

    Newt is so last millenium. He needs to find a real job himself and quit being a hipocrit. On the other hand that is the only real job he's ever had.

    February 24, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    I love reading crap like this from you GOPers:

    "Where are all those Dem Doctors? This is where the process should have started. Not with a bunch of control freak politicians and lawyers."

    Now, let's see. Obama and the Dems proposed having a panel of doctors and expert health care professionals who would be able to make recommendations to Congress about how to fix the system....what was it you GOPers called that again? Aaaaaaah yes, "death panels." Thank you oh so much for your hypocrisy...truly, it is an impressive delight to behold.

    February 24, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. CONNIE

    All you democrats keep drinking the Kool-Aid, i just read a lot of comments about bi-partism and they blame everything on the Repubs, just like reid and pelosi wants you to believe. I watch C-Span last night and the Repubs and Dems were debating and the same think kept coming up the Repubs aren't invited to join the discussions with the dems, the dems don't want to hear anything the repubs say. The repubs can't stop any vote and this is want i don't understand they have no power so why do you keep blaming them its the dems that are stopping the bills from being voted so wake up dems and see what is going on.

    February 24, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. JF

    I do believe most of the GLOBAL WARMING phenomenon is coming from the hot air expelled (on a daily basis) by irrelevant people like this ......HO HUM

    February 24, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. mjm

    I don't think anyone could have said it better. That was awesome.

    "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."

    Reconciliation is restricted to OMNIBUS budget bills, like the Bush tax cuts. Byrd wrote the rules on it. He told Clinton he couldn't use it to pass health care in the 90's because it violated the rule.....I'm guess Hamby missed that part.

    February 24, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Kyle Muncie, Indiana

    This man is a creep

    February 24, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. gary

    Now that's the pot calling the kettle black. Has Newt ever had a real job?

    February 24, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  20. OldUncleTom

    Newt Gingrich... isn't he the guy that impeached Bill Clinton for banging a bimbo, while simultaneously banging a bimbo of his own?

    Tell me again, why is he not in the Congress any more? And he wants to be President?

    February 24, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  21. Ann

    Hey Newt, have you ever had a "real job" other than being a politician???Big pile of cow dung that's what our Newtie boy is....

    February 24, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  22. No Incumbents 2010

    Looks like not too many current or former Hill staffers will be donating time or money to the Gingrich 2012 campaign. Throwing staffers of both parties under the bus with personal insults is no way to get ahead. Without staffers the Legislature Branch could not function at all. We need the Legislative Branch to reduce spending and make the Bush tax cuts permanent.

    February 24, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. Steve

    It is one thing if Newt Gingrich disagrees with health care reform, but why must he also insult the staffers who work very hard doing most of the heavy lifting for senators and congressmen? It is telling that this man has so little regard for the people who once worked tirelessly for him as well, writing legislation, taking calls from constituents, "getting the coffee" for members of congress, etc. He clearly thinks these people, most of whom work far harder than the senators and congresspeople they work for, are beneath him. Its funny how he mentions arrogance in his speech, while showing a great deal of arrogance himself in his remarks about congressional staffers. We need congresspeople who respect the hard work that those under them do, and who understand the huge power imbalance that exists between staffers and members of congress. I expect that my representative and senators treat their staffers with the respect and gratitude they deserve.

    February 24, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  24. Jim

    Sounds like a (very black) pot calling the kettle black.

    February 24, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  25. Welches, Oregon

    well neither have you, you pathetic windbag. Hypocracy at it's finest.

    February 24, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
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