Gov. Nikki Haley hammers Gingrich over Medicare remarks
May 17th, 2011
10:42 AM ET
12 years ago

Gov. Nikki Haley hammers Gingrich over Medicare remarks

Dallas (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich might not want to count on a presidential endorsement from South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

In an interview with CNN Tuesday, Haley sharply admonished Gingrich for his comments over the weekend disparaging the Medicare plan proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan as "radical change" and "right-wing social engineering."

The remarks opened a floodgate of conservative criticism, with elite opinion writers on down to Iowa voters accusing Gingrich of throwing his own party under the bus and making it easier for Democrats to attack the Ryan plan.

Haley, whose promise to endorse a presidential candidate has made her a key power broker in the Republican primary fight, joined in the chorus Tuesday and said she is "terribly disappointed" in Gingrich.

"What he said was absolutely unfortunate," Haley told CNN in a phone interview. "Here you've got Representative Ryan trying to bring common sense to this world of insanity, and Newt absolutely cut him off at the knees."

"When you have a conservative fighting for real change, the last thing we need is a presidential candidate cutting him off at the knees," she added.

The controversial Ryan plan proposes replacing the current government-run Medicare program with a voucher system that would allow recipients to buy health care on the private market.

After Gingrich criticized the plan during his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, his spokesman Rick Tyler attempted to clarify his remarks, saying there is "little daylight" between Gingrich and Ryan when it comes to Medicare reform.

"Newt would fully support Ryan if it were not compulsory," Tyler told the Weekly Standard. "We need to design a better system that people will voluntarily move to. That is a major difference in design but not substance."

Asked if presidential hopefuls should back the Ryan budget plan in its entirety, Haley answered: "What I can tell you is, the people of South Carolina support Representative Ryan. The people of South Carolina support conservatives who are trying to push real change, and the people of South Carolina expect their presidential candidates to back them up when they show courage."

Filed under: 2012 • Medicare • Newt Gingrich • Nikki Haley
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. MiddleOfTheRoad

    "Haley, whose promise to endorse a presidential candidate has made her a KEY POWER BROKER in the Republican primary fight....."

    Big mistake by the Republicans

    May 17, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. thomas

    Gingrich has shown his true colors. In Newt's world it's all black and white , depending on what day it is !

    I find it funny when Newt name drops failed Texas " log cabin " Governor Rick Perry as a economic visionary ,

    Gingrich / Perry 2012 Two angry Men !

    May 17, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Someone needs to remind Gov. Haley that Newt is pretty much sticking to statements and policy agendas he had when she was still in high school. As much as he flip-flops and rides the prevailing wind, he knows he cannot run from his past on the health insurance mandate that he (and most of the senior GOP members of Congress) supported in the 1990s.

    May 17, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. Sal

    Yassir, fight among yourselves you republicans and make it easy for Obama and the democrats to win the next election. Let's see, who can the republicans pick a fight with next, Pawlenty, Romney, etc? Let the fights begin....  I enjoy watching them tear each other apart. Go at it boys! 

    May 17, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Sal

    And then there were none.......

    May 17, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Paul Ryans Plan to Kill Medicare as We Know It is a Radical Social Engineering says Newt Gingrich. Newt now supports HCR INDIVIDUAL MANDATES like he has ALWAYS done!!!

    I'm wondering who Newt is gonna apologise to now that the GOP-Tea Party are eating one of their own....Rush Limbaugh or this Indian woman who is a Gov. of SC?

    May 17, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. BlackPanthers2020

    If anyone took the time to read Paul Ryan's plan , they would see it in a very destructive light . Now what I don't understand about his plan is that it put's all the weight on people who can't afford to pay but at the same time does not ask for the wealthiest of Americans to contribute to his plan . Everyone needs to understand that the republican way is the wrong way for this country and if your poor , elderly and middle -class , you would be an idiot to support Ryan's plan or republicans for that matter because they are creating a class warfare that will make people like you and me the loser's !!!

    May 17, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Michael

    Gingrich was actually telling the truth for once.I don't know why he would turn aside from the GOP's "Final Solution" of driving 98% of America into the poorhouse, but he was right on the money this time.
    Of COURSE the TP is upset.

    May 17, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. MikeB

    A gaff in Washington is when someone accidentally tells the truth.

    May 17, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Tony

    Governor Haley is living in a conservative backwater in South Carolina.

    The rest of the country believes that Congressman Ryan should be arrested for attempting to gut Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security. And, I believe the Republicans will be thrown out of the House and Senate in record numbers in the election of 2012; and they have no hope of taking the White House.

    Governor Haley will probably be re-elected at the end of her current term, but only because of where she is.

    May 17, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Michael

    Who told Haley that she can speak for the people of South Carolina?
    She is not speaking for me. She has not paid her taxes in years and therefore should shut up

    May 17, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. William salisbury

    Nikki Haley and paul Ryan both have their heads so far in the Sand that they have no idea what the Middle or lower class want or need.
    I think they both have made the Kool Aid and have it all stirred up and are planning to drink at any time.
    WAKE UP you Republicans that put these people in Office thinking that they would care anything about you.
    All Republicans seem to care about is BIG Business and Campaign donations.

    May 17, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. RB

    No, they certainly shouldn't let anybody voice his or her own oipinion. If they're going to win the election, they ALL have to goose-step together! I'm not a Newt Gingrich fan – in fact, I think he's about as close to insane as any cnadidate can get. But, this whole scenario is sooooo typical of the party of NO. They don't focus on what would be right for the country, they focus on attacking the current polices in unison – regardless of the merits of the argument. They have already lost the election.

    May 17, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Retired Army in San Antonio

    @ rhumba "I'm pretty sure that there's a significant number of people in South Carolina who hate Ryan's plan."

    Agreed! Newt's an idiot for even commenting/providing analysis on Ryan's plan......and Haley's an idiot for not knowing enough about her constituency to realize that many of them MUST rely on Medicare......and Medicaid.

    Actually.....these nut jobs deserve each other!

    May 17, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
1 2 3