Gingrich apologizes to Ryan after 'radical' comment
May 17th, 2011
07:55 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich apologizes to Ryan after 'radical' comment

Washington (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke late Tuesday afternoon with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin in the wake of his comments regarding Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare.

Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler told CNN Gingrich was “reaching out” and that the call “went very well.”

Tyler did not say directly if Gingrich issued an apology, but did not dispute Ryan’s characterization of the phone call. Ryan told conservative talk radio host Michael Medved earlier that Gingrich apologized.

Tyler said that Gingrich placed the call between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET from Minneapolis, where the former House Speaker is addressing the Minnesota Family Council dinner.

“The objective was to get them in a conversation,” Tyler said. “There weren’t hard feelings between them.”

A spokesman for Ryan said he "accepted Former Speaker Gingrich's apology" during Tuesday's phone conversation.

The former Georgia congressman has faced criticism from members of his party for comments he made during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which he called the Medicare provision in the House GOP budget plan proposed by Ryan a “radical change.”

"What you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose it," Gingrich said Sunday. "I am against Obamacare imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change."

Gingrich later walked back the comment, saying he largely supports Ryan's proposal and has long supported a repeal of the health care law.

"Let me just say I think Paul Ryan did a great job overall but I think the Medicare part needs to go through a public process, discussion, and improvement and modification and I think it can," Gingrich told CNN. "I think he has the beginning of what could be an extraordinary plan."

- CNN's Steve Brusk, Kevin Bohn and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Medicare • Newt Gingrich • Paul Ryan
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. D Grant

    The Newt exhibits one glimmer of intelligence regaring the Ryan bill and has to back track on it. Republicans are reallly eating their own nowadays. And that's a good thing.

    May 17, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  2. Aaron

    This is rich. Gingrich apologizes for badmouthing the guy who wants to dismantle Medicare, cut Social Security, and cut taxes for the rich and corporations. At least he's towing the Repub line again. I was beginning to think he had more sense than the rest of them.

    May 17, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  3. independent

    Now, the Leader apologizing to the firebrand. I guess killing medicare is ok to all the Republicans.

    May 17, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  4. Joe citizen abroad

    Wow...Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan...a has-been from the 80s and a shoulda-been in the 80s. It's like Milli Vanilli getting back together again. With Vanilli's son, instead of the real Vanilli. It's like Wham, featuring original member George Michael, now playing at your local casino. It's like Bon Jovi never split up. 'Cause it's one guy. What a party! Unregulated financial instruments and coke for everyone!

    May 17, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Bill from GA

    Say, Rush, does this make it OK?? Huh, Rush, can I kiss your ring and make it all good again??

    Read between the lines: newt is really apologizing to the Great Repug Master, the limbaugster. Like, Paul Ryan matters??

    Doesn't matter; Americans don't want the Ryan plan; we want our Medicare, not a stinking voucher. (Dems love the Ryan plan; go for it, repugs!!)

    May 17, 2011 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  6. Bill from GA

    If newt was as smart as he thinks he is, he might have actually shown the numbers for making Medicaid and Social Security functional. Previous Administrations made small adjustments to extend both programs; everybody was happy. However , the repugs want to act as if their plan is the only way.

    Bush and Gore both pledged to fix (extend) the programs in 2000 debates; instead we got bush tax cuts. Would have been a lot easier back then. Now it would take a whopping 1.2% employee and employer increase to fix Social Security. If we are going to use it longer, we have to pay more into it.

    May 18, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  7. Dan

    Republicans are eating themselves, and I'm enjoying every minute of it!

    May 18, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  8. DanW

    Gingrich is sorry for everything. Sorry for affairs. Sorry for comments. Yep, he is one sorry fellow.

    May 18, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  9. Patty - Illinois

    My friend thinks that Gingrich is the most brilliant man in America. I said maybe, but he is a hypocrit and reminded her of his own infidelity at the time of the Bill Clinton scandal. Now I think that he is a big mouth hypocrit. He doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Haydes of winning the GOP nomination if he keeps shooting off his big mouth instead of listening ..... oh I forgot, when does he ever listen?

    May 18, 2011 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  10. Steve in Denver

    Which face of gingrich will we see tomorrow?

    May 18, 2011 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  11. ssinhouston

    in the south we call that crawdadding. he is backing away from his own words fast enough to make your head spin. why can't he say what he means and stand by it? oh yeah he's a politician

    May 18, 2011 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  12. Marry

    "I think he has the beginning of what could be an extraordinary plan."
    Mr. Gingrich is a man without the conviction to serve ALL Americans. He is only interested in the rich and corporate America. He has proven that over and over again. He also has no guts! Never has he defended the Administration when the plans where good. Take health care. The GOP had years to do something about it. They did not because, it does not affect them. They have their health care covert. When the President did come up with a good program (the criticism is it did not go far enough) the GOP/TP had nothing – just rejection. Take taxes. They want to solve the deficit by cutting from the poor and middle class – but never touch the “we create no jobs and rather invest abroad” rich and corporations. So, Newt never came up with anything useful in the last 3 years (actually he did not in his whole political life) and now he is supposed to “know” what would work? He has some nerve! The GOP/TP is so entrenched into their rejection for anything that might benefit the average American or comes out of the current administration that they want to “fail”; they are really way of target when it comes to what the country needs.
    Anyone considering voting for anything the GOP/TP “wants” should do a little research of how it would affect the people and the country! A little hint – not positiv!

    May 18, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  13. MS

    You know I actually gained some respect for Newt because he stood up for what he believed in and told his fellow Republicans what he felt was right.

    RIP My respect for Newt Gingrich 2011-2011

    May 18, 2011 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  14. Orlando Patriot

    I tried hard to get Newt to run in 2008 and was incredibly pleased that he was going to run in 2012. But after this interview I found out Newt is just another RINO. Newt, you might as well drop out now. The comment about Medicare in Paul Ryan's plan simply shows you are not qualified to run. Go back home.

    May 18, 2011 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  15. unretired05

    Gingrich isn't really running for the president for the job, just the money that he can take in while running and as "former candidate".

    May 18, 2011 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  16. chuck

    What a sad mixed up man.

    May 18, 2011 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  17. pravaa

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These clowns were after Obama for apologizing to the world....Romney, Newt and the like. The campaign has barely begun and already Romney is bending over backwards apologizing for Romneycare and Newt on the third day of his campaign has already apologized to Ryan. What was the name of Romney's book again? yeah....NO APOLOGIES. Wow. This should be fun. Welcome to the meat grinder of presidential politics gentlemen. Every word, every syllable is up for analysis.Let's see you get through this. And you still have Miss Loony tunes from MN waiting to enter. Man.....Who needs comedy central at this rate?

    May 18, 2011 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  18. CaliforniaBC

    TOO LATE!!

    May 18, 2011 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  19. George W Smith

    It's amazing how good the Republicans are at getting their entire party to walk in lock-step.

    May 18, 2011 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  20. Kevin

    Flip. Flop. Flip. Flop. The backbone of a jellyfish. Pathetic.

    May 18, 2011 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  21. James Baker

    That's the sad state of the Republican Party these days. It can not tolerate the truth and those that speak the truth quickly have to disavow it. Who can realistically argue that a plan to dump medicare and replace it with a voucher system to allow seniors to purchase health insurance (predominately at age 65 and above) is not "radical"?? Only the right wing of the Republican Party can take that position because it is constrained by neither facts nor reality.

    May 18, 2011 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  22. Wayne Dunaway

    Why would any political person want to cut medicaid, medicare, or social security? I would think aid to countries that hate us, and want to kill us should be the first place to start. The only reason the G.O.P. got elected mid term was to stop big spending, not to take from our senior people,could we have a vote to put all of our leaders on medicare, and social security,take the health insurance, and retirement they get now away from them? We could see how long it takes them to fix medicare, medicaid, and social security.

    May 18, 2011 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  23. EddyL

    Gingrich needs to shut his big stupid mouth

    May 18, 2011 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  24. Damian X

    I don't think he should have apologized for once someone in the GOP was making sense. And believe me I have never liked Gingrich. He's right anything to far left or right isn't the best match for this country. We are too big and diverse for that.........moderation is the key word here.

    May 18, 2011 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  25. BD70

    Newt can back pedal all he wants. Ryan's plan is radical. Vouchers? Only if ALL US citizens get them. That includes Ryan and any other government official being paid with tax dollars.

    May 18, 2011 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
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