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. Bobby G.


    May 18, 2011 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  2. AndyF

    When you let a wound fester too long, radical intervention is required to save the patient. You bury changing how this nation has long put profit ahead of human life when it comes to healthcare, what the GOP ultimately is advocating and are against changing, then radical change is required. You wand radical Newt? After decades of abuses that have undermined fundamental security and welfare of the people of this nation, industries like health care, Wall St, big banking, big oil, all should pay a penalty by facing partial if not all out nationalization b/c at least with a nationalized industry like big oil, I can vote out those running it. Can't do that with BP, Mobil, and while the nation suffers, they continue to make obscene levels of profits so that they can what, maintain a way of life that needs to be viewed as traitorous to all of civilization.

    May 18, 2011 05:54 am at 5:54 am |

    Keep talking lizard but understand that reality isn't an option in the GOBP echo chamber. No thinking allowed. You moved way out of lockstep by telling the truth about Ryan and his plan. That will get you fifty lashes from Snookie Palin.

    May 18, 2011 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  4. johnmenacherjr

    I can't beleive anyone in their right and I mean right mind would even bother with a liar and master of deciet like Paul Ryan. Simply put he is a totally corrupt Republican from Wisconsin living totally off the middle class while Paying the rich for more and more. neither of these two tools will ever get any support from me!

    May 18, 2011 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  5. Marie MD

    Here we go. Coward!!! Unfortunately this is the way of the party of hell no. Nobody can have a different opinion than the koch brothers or tubby limbaugh.
    What ryan is doing is completely wrong but here we have somebody who wants to be president not having what it takes to stand up to him.
    Not that you ever had a chance, but you are going to find out this isn't 1994!!!

    May 18, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  6. mike

    you are a wuss, gingrich

    May 18, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  7. Whammybar

    Newt is not going to be President. That's a good thing!

    May 18, 2011 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  8. RB in FL

    "Holy Cow! I didn't know what I was saying, must have been the medication. What I really meant to say was . . . ." Let the games begin. Newt G is winning the "Flip-Flop" competition leaving his opponents in the dust.

    May 18, 2011 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  9. Dawn

    Here is what happened: Newt wanted to appeal to the older voter, those who don't want to lose their existing medicare and those who don't want to lose their future he went after Ryan in hopes those people wouldn't hear the apology. Folks those of you who actually call yourselves, Republicans..........please get up to speed and understand that this party is a mess and that if given the chance they WILL take away medicare and social security and remember they are not entitlements, you have been paying into them since you received your first pay check. They want to privatize it to make their rich banking friends even richer and they don't care how you make out in the end. Wake up republicans!!!

    May 18, 2011 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  10. PAT

    FLIP FLOP Iis all he's got.

    May 18, 2011 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  11. taylor

    He should have stuck to his guns, Ryn is a right-wingnut rich boy
    whose family i am sure has enjoyed corporate welfare.

    May 18, 2011 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  12. L

    The republican orthodoxy continues.

    When I vote for a candidate I expect that person to represent my region - not be a blind mouthpiece for his/her party. It is disappointing how intolerant the republicans have become to any deviation from the official doctrine.

    May 18, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  13. Tam

    Hey, people. Medical care in America needs reform. The truth. Why are people still afraid of doctor and hospital bills, of losing everything?

    May 18, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  14. sick of republican phonies

    Boy, that fiery, bold, independent-thinking Newt Gingrich has his fanny paddled by his cohorts for veering from their "message"and he jumps right back in line, meek as a lamb! Just another ignoramus republican phony!

    May 18, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  15. Shane Botwin

    That's a great way to start a campaign, by apologizing to your fellow Republicans. Stick a fork in Newt, he's done.

    May 18, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  16. annieL

    The people he SHOULD be apologizing to are all the American people who have suffered from his Contract with America, the conservative document that de-regulated Wall Street, undermined all social welfare programs, and basically handed us over to the governance of corporations to be exploited. It is a big reason we are where we are today and he wants to finish us off as president.

    May 18, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  17. Jeff In Ohio

    When will he apologize to the rest of us for making us suffer through his demagoguery.

    May 18, 2011 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  18. annieL

    Why don't the Republicans just come out and say it. They want America to be governed by a corporate board of directors of the Fortune 500 instead of an elected Congress. Really, that's what we have now except we still have to pay for elections and Congressional salaries and benefits. Woud save a lot ot fax dollars to disband Congress and let GE, Exxon, Microsoft, Bank of America and Cigna CEOs move into the White House, Senate and House.

    May 18, 2011 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  19. zb

    So Gingrich says something that almost sounds sane and he apologizes for it to the Republican/TParty thought police. Here's a question: if Social Security and Medicare are so awful they want to get rid of it, how come they promise to keep it as is for those currently 55 and older. If you are under 55 you should ask yourself how come the Republican/Tparty wants to take away the 2 best programs that benefit all Americans Equally this nation has. Why do they want to destroy them instead of fixing them. And ask yourself why are they broken in the first place which is mostly do to Republcian/Tparty policies. As usual first they make things not work and then they complain that they have to destroy it because it isn't working.

    May 18, 2011 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  20. keylargo

    Pathetic, Newt has always been a rat, now he's an old rat!

    May 18, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  21. Thankfully Independent

    Sounds like a flop being flipped to me.

    May 18, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  22. Cfrench

    I'm sorry I cheated on my first wife, I'm sorry I cheated on my second wife, I'm sorry I threw away the republican majority in the house of representatives because I was obsessed with Bill Clinton for doing the very thing I did, I'm sorry for saying Ryan's plan was radical.

    Time to grow a brain and go away Newt. Your mouth gets you into more trouble than even Sarah Palin's.

    May 18, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  23. cecilia

    Man the Republicans would eat their young – I don't like Gingrich and never have, but the man is right about one thing – Ryan's bill is radical and will not fly – what a shame that a politician cannot voice his opinion and have it discussed intelligently on network news. what a mean spirited hateful political divisions we have today. from calling the President a liar by a Supreme Court Justice to throwing glitter on Newt and wife – I really wish there were more adults in politics – at least we have the President, Kerry and Clinton.

    May 18, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  24. Njfinest2009

    Where's your birth Certificate? Your a socialist! You are radical! Maybe if we understood the American Pie dream we would be able to understand Mr. Newt here huh! Starting to feel a little bit like you make our current president feel huh Newt?? You should consider paying off your Unlimited Credit Line at Tiffany's before taking another stab at President Obama. By the way. You never had a chance at winning and I hope the republicans eat you alive. I never thought I'd see the day when I would say At least $arah Paylin had the smarts to stay out of this one!

    May 18, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  25. bewhiskered

    Let's see, less than a week after announcing that he's running, Gingrich has committed political suicide by not only referring to Ryan's attempt to dismantle Medicare as 'radical right wing engineering,' but, has also agreed that there should be a mandate as far as health insurance goes, which is exactly what the President's affordable healthcare is (did you see the Republican in Iowa, who told Newt that he was an embarrassment to his party?). Now, hopefully, this will end those ridiculous statements of Gingrich being the 'smart one' of the GOP/Baggers (KKK), who is running for President! The man is obviously suicidal and quite frankly senile! The fact that his own party has reprimanded him, not to mention the GOP/Baggers (KKK) leader Rush Limbaugh, is the bell knoll of the death of Gingrich's political career, no matter how much he backtracks and apologizes to Ryan! Bye Newt!

    May 18, 2011 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
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