Been there, done that: Gingrich's shutdown insight
April 8th, 2011
03:57 PM ET
11 years ago

Been there, done that: Gingrich's shutdown insight

Lynchburg, Virginia (CNN) - The last Republican House speaker to battle a Democratic president as the government neared a shutdown described Friday what the behind-the scenes situation probably looks like, now, just hours before government operations could go dark.

"I think there are a lot of people who are tired, and really focused on trying to figure if they can avoid having a shut down," Newt Gingrich said on Friday to reporters regarding round-the-clock negotiations. His comments came after he delivered a speech at The Awakening conference at Liberty University.

"But they also realize that there are principles involved and they can't – I think on the Republican side it would be very, very hard to accept anything less than significant, very significant cuts in spending," Gingrich added.

In 1995, House Speaker Gingrich and Republicans controlling the Senate clashed with President Bill Clinton over the federal government, forcing a shutdown.

Gingrich told reporters he's optimistic that both parties might avoid the same fate, saying, "I think it's possible they'll get to an agreement this afternoon."

And yet, he also warned of the potential peril of one option that Democrats and Republicans chose during the last shutdown showdown.

"I think it's possible that they could try to keep the government open on a rolling basis for three days at a time. But when we tried to do that in '95, it turned out to be impossible to manage after awhile," Gingrich said.

"This could be the beginning of a very long, rocky period," he said.

Gingrich is currently considering a presidential bid, having formed a presidential exploratory committee and saying he will make a final decision about a bid in May.

But if here were currently president, he was asked, what would he do to spare the nation the same event that happened under his watch as speaker?

"First of all, I would have tried to be involved like, a month ago, two months ago," Gingrich said in an apparent slam against President Obama.

"I would have tried to work it out long before you get to this mess. Second, I would try to find a compromise to keep the government open."

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: Budget • Government Shutdown • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Todd Walker

    Gee, what a shock. That's all she's got. Finger point at the president. She's got no ideas, no solutions, no plans. Nothing but criticism.

    April 8, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "Spin! Spin! Spin!" That is a humorous segment the local sportscaster does every Friday evenings here in NYC.

    April 8, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Name king

    Gingrich the master of shutting down government is tring to give advise to his opponent how not to shut the government down. I wouldn't take Gingrich advice about not shutting down a government if I was his best friend, I know how he likes to flip flop, and might be in between one of his flip flopping episodes and put me between a rock and a hard place. Emagine what advice he would give his rival.

    April 8, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Don't under estimate the spin of the right side.

    April 8, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. John

    Institutional bureaucracies require reform in the information age. Government should be transformed into a non-profit administrative entity – self-sustaining through public – infrastructure, security, justice, defense – services where itemized fees are charged, and without any income tax.

    April 8, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. terdy, va

    Ah yes, Newtered the expert on govt shut downs. Getting advice from Newtie would be like getting hairstyle and bankruptcy advice from Donny Trumped.

    April 8, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. Mike Wilson

    Subject: Federal Budget?Shutdown
    Congress MUST continue to fund the government until they can come to a majority agreement on all of the individual issues, which must be prioritized and voited on individually. No matter how long it takes.

    April 8, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared war on AMERICA!

    Taking advice on government shutdowns from the Newterman is about as useful as asking him to be your marriage counselor.

    April 8, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. terry,va

    I'm really broken up that Obummie is cancelling his Williamsburg trip this weekend. He should go on his family vacation as he doesn't give a crap about the future of everyone else's family. His inaction on the budget and his proposal for next year is a joke and will bankrupt the country. I think that he wants to create a welfare society. He can't be that financially dumb.

    April 8, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. SA in OO

    Principal! What principal?
    You pull a number like $100 billion out of your ______ , and then say you can't go any lower than that "on principal." A principled statesman (not many of those around any more), would actually think through the positions they take and then claim they can't abandon.

    April 8, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |