Gingrich goes back and forth on Libya
March 25th, 2011
09:56 AM ET
11 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. ConservaFascists/FUBAR

    I don't know whether to call him a flip-flopper or a flop-flipper.

    March 25, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Surpri

    Stop Congress was the Newt Gingrich. He was so revolutionary in his day. Similar to the anarchy of our poorly run Congress today. Tea Party and Republicans in government will kill all social programs. 700,000 people are going to lose jobs because of todays Congress. Were you told that they would get jobs not flush them.

    March 25, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. willie floyd

    Flip, flop, flip,flop. Same ole Newt. IMO Pres. Obama showed true LEADERSHIP in his handling of Libya. Had he attempted to go to congress first, they would have argued the point until JULY4TH!!!! He also kept his scheduled trade mission trip which had been planned for quite some time. Just shows he can do more than 1 thing at a time-quite a difference from previous adms.

    March 25, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. Little Tin God

    Gingrich was FOR the NFZ because it appeared that Obama wasn't going to do anything. Then when Obama did, Gingrich hopped that the American public's memory was really short and thought he could hammer Obama. And this guy wants to be POTUS?

    March 25, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Greg

    So Gingrich lacks commitment? Shocking.

    March 25, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. ConservaFascists/FUBAR

    "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."

    It's this kind of mentality that got us into the Iraq war. A war based on lies and deception. Our current President has a REAL COALTION OF THE WILLING.

    March 25, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. Ann

    Newt, Newt, Newt, when will you get it in your thick fat head, that you are not ready for prime time?

    March 25, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. CMartin

    This is a surprise? Like any politician, Gingrich has two heads and four mouths. which one will he use? Why, it depends on what you want to hear! He's for a strong and aggressive US unless the President is for it, then he's against it. WAKE UP, AMERICA! POLITICIAN'S LIE!! YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT ALL!!

    March 25, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. maf

    Confusing – Yes! True Republican – Yes! Go read the Huffington Post article on this. It's much more thorough and shows Gingrich to be a true deceiver. Run Newt Run!!
    Can't wait for the Republican Primary, where they will eat their own and spew so much "misinformation" it will be full speed ahead for fact-check!!! When pathological liars get caught in their own webs, it is very interesting. . .

    March 25, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. Dennis B.

    By his comments Newt Gingrich shows he has no real plan on how to deal with the Libya situation except to be critical of whatever President Obama is doing. Just another Republican who has no real plan for anything except to be negative.

    March 25, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Newt The Grinch !

    Once again the loud mouth windbag prematurely shoot's off his mouth and proves what a complete hypocritical moron he is ! This is just further evidence that Newt is just as clueless as the rest of the GOP 2012 contenders ! President Obama is making the GOP contadict themselves ! They can bash Obama's style but he alway's seem's to comeout on top at the end ! Give it up GOP and set your sight's on 2016 because there is no way you will be able to compete with President Obama !

    March 25, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. insert sarcastic remark here

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

    Shouldn't this really say...Now that we have US forces engaged, any result other than what actually happens will be considered a defeat in the eyes of Republicans.

    March 25, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. rs

    Well, Gingrich is a typical Republican politician who sees his job only to attack Democrats and the President. Gingrich who started the "hate speech" movement in politics with his famous 1994 GOPAC memo, sets out daily to find something the President is or is not doing and makes that an attack point. So, first Obama isn't setting up a no-fly zone in Lybia, and is assailed for that. The he "dithers" about a no-fly zone. Then, once one is set up, he "moved" too fast, or something else.

    Yes, to those paying attention, Gingrich is flip-flopping like a fish on land (and looks like a baboon), but to Republicans- a hero. This policy allows endless attacks to be made, and helps clarify how Republicans can be on both sides of issues or even attack their own issues like: cap and trade, universal health care insurance (the so-called individual mandate).

    This just proves that Republicans like Gingrich are out only for themseves- not America.

    March 25, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Rick James B----

    Well what did you expect...he will do everything opposite of the President. If the President cured AIDS tomorrow he would say how much of a bad idea it was.

    March 25, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. once upon a Horse

    Newt is doing what the GOP has been doing to Obama since he took office......DON'T AGREE OR SUPPORT HIM ON ANYTHING. It doesn't really matter what it is. The joke has been if President Obama says the sky is blue the GOP says no it's green. And I think more people can see this for what it is. Only the right wing talk show groupies and FoxNews fans refuse to see this because of the bubble they lock themselves into. Maybe the "evil left wing media" needs to call these guys out on it more.

    March 25, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Busted2010

    And this pretty much sums up the republicans response to Obama since taking office.

    March 25, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. The Situation

    Why is this troll wasting his time. This isn't 1994 Newt. There isn't going to be no Revolution. Just crawl back to the rat hole you and the other jokers came from!

    March 25, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. V in Chicago

    "But the flack he's receiving has not caused Gingrich to miss a step."

    Of course not. He's an experienced liar. Those that lie at his calibur are very good at not missing a step.

    But, Newt, we are paying attention. You may not miss a step, but "We the People" are watching you step in to it! Don't you have a skirt to chase somewhere?

    March 25, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. nick2

    Gingrich – when all is said and done, is a talking head – a major political opportunist. If Obama says 'white', when Gingrich will find a way to say 'black'. Frankly, he exemplifies everything that is wrong and insincere about Washington DC. I believe that it is power that he wants and that public service is barely on his radar.

    March 25, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. Dan from Tx

    No surprises. When somebody spends every waking moment saying exactly the same thing, you always know what they will say next.

    Much like a "Speak and Spell". Or any other type of cheap robot.

    March 25, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  21. once upon a Horse

    if somehow God forbid the country came under attack again like a 911...people like Gingrich instead of standing behind and with the president as they did Bush would more than likely BLAME him for it. It's really PATHETIC if you ask me.

    March 25, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. tbone

    He changes his story to the opposite of what Obama does. How pitiful and weak

    March 25, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. jma58

    Newt is exactly like all the other GOP whack jobs lining up to run for office. Even Trump is willing to say anything to have a chance at the nomination. Politics in this country is not only corrupt but also the biggest side show in the world.

    March 25, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. Nathan

    What an idiot. He has no chance of winning the Presidency, but, he's using this window of opportunity to throw punches in the dark. How can anyone take him seriously?

    March 25, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. CBR

    Newt Gingrich – just put am ! next to his name. The man is making statements without knowing the facts. He believes he is powerful and that hos words will effect the nation's policies.

    D o allitle research and you will found the letters Newt Gingrich has written to the public over the last two years.

    March 25, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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