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. njcv

    Gingrich opposes whatever Obama decides to do. Therefore when he misjudges what Obama will do, he necessarily has to change his previous position.

    March 25, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. Dave

    Give us all a break, Newt. We all know you're nothing more than a brainless opportunist who will say anything to score cheap points. It doesn't matter anyway. Pee-Wee Herman has a better chance of becoming President than you do. Hell, I'd vote for him before I would even consider voting for you.

    March 25, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. victoria

    this man is a joke. that's all i can say. run for president Newt.

    March 25, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Emerson

    "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."

    Isn't this the same arrogance that caused this country to become mired in Iraq and Afghanistan? Newt you had better hope that the President does not institute a "no unscrupulous blowhard zone 'cause you will be out of business.

    March 25, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. lynn

    How those flip-flops fitting ya?

    March 25, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. kincas

    "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."

    -I wish all the other nations that are helping in I. and A. to leave - just let the US deal with the f. mess...

    March 25, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. Milton

    He has ODS...Obama Derangement Syndrome. With ODS you must always criticize Obama, even if you have to contradict yourself....Next time Newt, take the whole pill

    March 25, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Bill

    This flip-flopping, self-consumed, hyprocritical buffoon will never be president. Surely he is intelligent enough to figure that out.

    March 25, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. Mr. Moderate

    Just shows the depths to which these Obama haters will sink. The cannot bring themselves to say anything that might remotely be construed as agreeing with him. Obama does A, we should have done B. Oh, he did B, I misspoke (favorite work of theirs), we actually should have done A.

    March 25, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. Greg in Arkansas

    The only job this fool is capable of is a grill cook, flipping pancakes or making waffles at the IHOP,.

    March 25, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. kakaraka

    How about that: Flip flopper in chef.

    March 25, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Independent In Albany

    France is in the fight and Newt is a surrender monkey? OMG somebody pinch me!

    March 25, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  13. Ken in NC

    We have Newton's Law of Relativity and now we have added Newt's Law of Flipology. He reminds me of the open beach shoes called "Flip Flops".

    March 25, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. Laura

    It's truly laughable how these Monday morning QB's with political agendas talk out of both sides of their mouths. The whole bunch of them should form a comedy troupe and take their show on the road. Oh that's right... they already are. First stop, Iowa.

    Obama '12

    March 25, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  15. steven harnack

    I think we all know where the muddle is and that is in newt's head!

    March 25, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. mgc florida

    Where do these people come from??? Scary to think idiots like this could be running the country.

    March 25, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. Sniffit

    Awwww, it's so cute when Newtypoo flip-flops. One might even argue that he's actually being remarkably consistent: his position is always, no matter what, to criticize, disagree with and take the opposite position of President Obama. However, it should be noted that here, there was no underlying flip-flop by Obama to cause Newtered to then flip-flop. Obama consistently but calmly spoke out against Gaddafi's behavior and then called for him to go...he also remained calm and thoughtful while seeking UN, NATO, Arab League and foreign ally support and cooperation before taking any military action, presumably based on the War Powers Act and other legal precedent giving him authority to do so. Newtypoo is just scrambling to damage anything Obama does...not just damage the perception of it, but damage the action itself. He's nothing if not predictable, which is a sign that he's stupid. Stupid people are not capable of taking honest nuanced positions and standing by them even when it means agreeing with someone they don't like.

    March 25, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. Lee

    And this is surprising to who?

    March 25, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. Dale

    One thing is clear– Republicans will criticize Obama no matter which decision he makes. Therefore, these Republican comments are knee-jerk reactions not well-informed opinions and should be ignored.

    March 25, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. Sniffit

    "there were options to be indirect and subtle to achieve this result without United States military forces."

    Assassination, Newtered? Is that what you mean? Or maybe something like we did in Iran to help effect a regime change a few decades ago? Yeah, that worked out sooooo well.

    March 25, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. RTB

    It is self evident that the disgraced former speaker is a complete flop.
    Who really cares what this windbag says anyway?

    March 25, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Al-NY,NY

    Of course he's flipping. He will say the exact opposite of whatever Obama does and make some bogus excuses. How typical

    March 25, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. Steve

    I just find it so hard to believe that these people think that what they say doesnt matter just a few minutes after they say it. Gingrich is a huge joke, has proven he will say anything to make himself or his position look good, even if he has to blatantly lie right to your face.

    I cant believe this man is trying to run for president. He is nothing more than a pathological liar (you would have to be to stand by your own complete backtrack) and has no more interest in the betterment of this country than Sarah Palin, michelle bachmann, or really, any of the other Republican candidates. Sad...

    March 25, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. bernie

    What else do we expect from the republicans.they will be for something until Obama does that same thing.they are trying to get some dirt on Obama,but they have not been lucky thus far.They would have used the tax breaks for the wealthy, but Obama gave them that just to save the middle class from a tax hike.They would have used the depression/recession but as the numbers show, the economy is improving.The would have used health care reform but the tide is turning to favor HCR/UHC.They would have used busting the unions but their actions only aggravated the working men and women of America who support each other.They would have used "jobs", "where are the jobs?", but they have been in control for four months now, not one job producing bill.They would have used Tunisia,Egypt,and now Libya, well that's back fired as well.Sorry to break to the repubs but looks like they are all out of options.Recent polls show that The Grinch will loose to Obama by double digits,so would Palin(badly), so would Huckabee, Pawlenty and yes so would Mitt even though its by single digits.The republican field is extremely dull, they have no one to energize their base,but even if they do, the democrats have a secret weapon and they are going to use it i can assure you,much to the demise of the republicans.So go ahead Newt, keep full flopping on your own words(D*** A**)

    March 25, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Surpri

    PIT BULL. He bites onto anything President Obama does and fights for dear life against it. Completely counter productive. Follow the trend my friend. If Barack is wearing black this week don't wear yellow. You are so imbearassing.

    March 25, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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