Gingrich goes back and forth on Libya
March 25th, 2011
09:56 AM ET
12 years ago

Gingrich goes back and forth on Libya

(CNN) - It appears GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was for a no-fly zone in Libya before he was against it.

During an interview on March 7 with Fox News, the former House Speaker was asked what he would do about Libya and he directly answered "exercise a no-fly zone this evening." And on March 17, while appearing at an event in New Hampshire, he accused President Obama of talking loudly and carrying no stick because he believed that Obama lacked a plan for Libya.

But recent comments indicate that Gingrich has changed tack.

Six days later in an interview on NBC's "Today Show" Gingrich, who's launched a website to explore a presidential bid, said "I think that two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a lot…I would not have intervened. I think there are a lot of other ways to affect Gadhafi."

And he's not backing down from the reversal. After being accused of flip-flopping on the Libyan issue, Gingrich posted a Facebook note the same day in defense of his comments on the morning show stating, "President Obama said publicly that 'it's time for Gaddafi to go.' Prior to this statement there were options to be indirect and subtle to achieve this result without United States military forces."

"The president, however, took those options off the table with his public statement," he continued. "That's why during a March 7th Greta van Susteren interview, I asserted that the president should establish a no-fly zone 'this evening.'"

The question posed to Gingrich, however, was not "What should Obama do" but rather, "What would you do about Libya?"

On Facebook, Gingrich asserted that Obama "wasted weeks trying to get approval from the United Nations instead of Congress, the result of which was a weak mandate from the UN," a reinforcement of his Fox News interview, when he stated "The United States doesn't need to have anybody's permission. We don't need to have NATO who frankly, won't bring much to the fight. We don't need to have the United Nations."

Then, during is appearance on the "Today Show," he said, "I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Gadhafi. I think there are a lot of allies in the region that we could've worked with. I would not have used American and European forces."

On Facebook, Gingrich asserted, "Now that we have US forces engaged, any result less than the removal of Gadaffi from power will be considered a defeat."

Politifact has rated Ginrich's conflicting comments as a "full flop."

But the flak he's receiving has not caused Gingrich to miss a step. At an event in Greenville, South Carolina Thursday, he went back to blasting the president's actions in Libya, calling him a "spectator in chief" and, according to, said, "The whole situation is a muddle."

Gingrich will be in Iowa, the country's first-in-the-nation caucus state, on Friday for an interview with Iowa Public Television.

CNN's Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Libya • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Realistic

    This is what happens when arm chair presidents try to get involved in adult conversations. See Newt has been a TV so much that he can not keep up with what he has said the day before, so he flops all over the place. First, I would impose a no fly zone and than i would not have intervened, this is called a flip flop. The problem is, no matter what president Obama does the likes of Newt and others will whine about it. The republicans with their draconian propaganda has become so erratic that they don't even know what they stand for. They are for it until president Obama is for it than they are against it, its called not having any substance or core values or vision or plan for this country thus republicans are useless. Newt keep it up buddy and help president Obama get re-elected.

    March 25, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. GrogInOhio

    "But recent comments indicate that Gingrich has changed tack."

    No change in tack. Like most Republicans, he's STILL simply opposed to whatever President Obama is for. It doesn't matter what the issue may be.

    March 25, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. Norm

    You mean he was flip-flopping??? No, say it isn't so. That's what happens when you simply appose everything this President trys to do... you end up looking like a fool.

    March 25, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. Ron

    It's as plain and simple as this: whatever Obama does, even if it's what you just said he should do, as soon as he does it, jump on it and damn him. If Bush had done what Obama is doing right now, you can bet all the Republicans would be defending it.
    It's all about politics and destroying the other guy, not about good or bad policy. This is what it has come to.

    March 25, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. 2cents4free

    In other words he'd do exactly what Obama is doing? Obama imposed the no fly zone and then handed off operations to NATO and plans to "affect Gadhafi" in other ways.

    Thank you Obama for not lying to us about Libyas weapons of mass destruction or their involvement in 9/11. Thank you for not insulting our intelligence and letting us know EXACTLY why the no fly zone was imposed.

    March 25, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. Jon

    Anyone who doesn't realize that Newt is a disgusting political opportunist with no personal honor or sense of right and wrong hasn't been paying attention.

    March 25, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. BlackPanthers2020

    And this is why he'll never ever be Potus.................

    March 25, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. Sniffit

    "It is sad to watch the leftist forces at work in our country. Attacking people both indirectly and directly. Using their philosophy of if you say something enough times, it will become true."

    From wikipedia: "Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to other people."

    Let the GOP/conservative rationalizations continue...

    March 25, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Poser

    Gingrich doesn't care that he's flip flopped because his base doesn't care. Last week he says President Obama should have bombed and invaded Libya immediately. This week, he says I would not have used US forces. What his rabid base heard last week: Obama is doing a bad job blah blah blah. What his rabid base hears this week: Obama is doing a bad job blah blah blah. None of the details that make up reality matter to the rabid right wing base. As long as it's the opposite of what President Obama is doing, they're happy. This makes Gingrich happy because they open their wallets for him.

    March 25, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. Tony Z

    You can't take him serious. He just making statements to get his name in the news.

    March 25, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  11. Okey Moronu

    Just like the Boehner who was at the white house consultation to decide on way forward. The report out of that briefing is that Boehner called in because he could not make it. He asked no questions and offered no opinion. His handlers claim the phone line was noisy. For heavens sake, in a meeting that involved putting US troops in harms way, you could not exercise your stop proceeding authority?
    To come out now and bellyache about the process is totally disingenuous and the American people should reject it and all the "gotcha" move that now characterize Washington.

    March 25, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. Rush

    My man Newt the Fruit at it again

    March 25, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. Chas in Iowa

    This way he is in the right no matter how it turns out. Typical for the ol' Newt.
    All together Newt, Sarah and Michelle might get 10% of the GOP votes. Ought to be a good indicator right there.

    March 25, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. KatR

    "The United States doesn't need to have anybody's permission. We don't need to have NATO who frankly, won't bring much to the fight. We don't need to have the United Nations."

    These are chilling words. Especially when it's a fact that the USA launched the United Nations and NATO after the end of a horrific World War in 1945. Such arrogance that the US doesn't need anybody's permission to do anything it wants to do in other countries is completely out of line with the ideals of the largest freedom-loving nation in the world.

    March 25, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Anonymous

    He was for it until the UN and the President did something- typical politian.
    What gets me is that he and others that say the President didn't have the authority to declare war- he did not declare war and the US is not there – our troops for the UN are.

    March 25, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Joshua Ludd

    Funny how no one will call it a flip-flop when a Republican does it... within about a week, not a couple years.

    March 25, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. FM

    Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee both have personalities but they lack substances!

    March 25, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. enance

    Hopefully this sheds a little light on what many people call the "Party of No!" – the Republicans. The popular practice in their world is to simply disagree vehemently with whatever Obama believes, no matter whether it's good or bad. So long as politicians continue to shape their views and beliefs on the practice of making another party look bad, our country will suffer. Also, wasn't it Newt Gingrich who, when pressed about cheating on his wives, basically said that he did so because he felt such passion for his country? Way to take responsibility for your actions...

    March 25, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. CS

    Gingrich. Your delusions of grander are starting to become comical. The President seems to have gotten international and Muslim support and seems to be delegating responsibility to NATO while at the same time stopping Gadaffi from crushing the rebellion and innocent citizens.

    March 25, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. Biggge

    I can believe it, great job Obama.. When Gaddafi was killing his own people oil and gas prices were going though the roof. Thank you for not letting things get out of hand like the Blood Diamond killings.. It strange how people would like the US to just stand by and let Dictators kill thousands, it was only a good idea when the GOP WANTED SOMETHING DONE...Even with the media just pushing one side of the issue, we will not be fooled like November......

    March 25, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. al in memphis

    Double talk is what happens when your only purpose is the criticize the moment. All these Republican critics knew that Obama was trying to build a coalition and work thru the appropriate international channels. But they couldn't acknowledge that, they know that certain segment of voters want to hear that take the bull by the horn without thinking of the consequences approach which enables them to criticize every move the president takes.
    He offers no solutions because he thinks being president is just like being Limbaugh and Hannity. This is not a job for entertainment personalties.

    March 25, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. New Age Independant

    Perhaps it's just me, but I am more interested in why Obama was AWOL while the crisis was taking place. Sure, liberals can deflect this all they want, and enforce their leftwing double standard, but it doesn't change the facts. As for Gingrich, at least he did have an opinion. Something Obama would have done well to indicate much earlier.

    March 25, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    On Facebook, Gingrich asserted, "Now that we have US forces engaged, any result less than the removal of Gadaffi from power will be considered a defeat."

    Explain to America what our goal is in Afghanistan and Iraq Newt!! We would all like to know!

    March 25, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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