Gov. Nikki Haley hammers Gingrich over Medicare remarks
May 17th, 2011
10:42 AM ET
9 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. Tim

    The reaction of the Right Wing to Newt Ginrich's comments is very telling. There is no room for divergent opinion in today's Republican Party. You must follow the Party line dictated by the Tea Party and talk radio. There isn't much I agree with Mr. Ginrich on, but he has a right to suggest another approach. Rep. Ryan's proposal is going nowhere anyway.

    May 17, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. sf

    bunch of idiots...newt included!

    May 17, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. diridi

    this lady idiot needs to quit....GOP is hostile of Medicare, don't you know??????? If not what is Paul Ryan's plan, you think people are dumb.....idiotic woman of SC pathetic how she got elected, who the idiot voted...just vote her out.....possible in democracy....

    May 17, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    The GOP is not friendly to seniors. Period.

    May 17, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. Bill from GA

    Everybody knows newt didn't REALLY say what we heard him say on Sunday; it was the liberal press that twisted his words.

    May 17, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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 irony of cutting an entire political party off at the knees escapes these TeaPers who seem more comfortable spouting bumber sticker nonsense than actually trying to govern all of America - and not just their little click of 20%ers, yes?

    May 17, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. kakaraka

    Really? The people of South Carolina support Paul Ryan who want to cut food stamps, medicaid for the poor, medicare for the seniors and education assistance for students? Really? You are out of touch with your own people you say you are governing. Diisgusting Nikki. Why don't people vote all these republicans out of office?

    May 17, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Bill from GA

    newt is really a Chameleon; he can be whatever you want him to be. Except honest.

    May 17, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It's a sad day on earth when a woman and a mother has no empathy for the less unfortunate, seniors, children and the disabled, who need health care. But but then again Ms. Haley is fortunate to never have seen poverty in the World.

    May 17, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. Bill from GA

    Many will say newt cannot be elected. You overestimate the repug voters. newt has BIG money behind him; the repug choices are not so good; and newt is a fast talker. Just don't listen too deeply or you will see that his big words makes no sense. He's a lot like the donald.

    May 17, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Now that all these other Republicans are coming out against old Newtie-boy, and that Charles Krautheimer has started to come out against him, I am reconsidering about switching to the Republican party in time for the primaries to vote for Newt to tweak their noses. The rest of these mooks are so stuck in their supposedly Reagan-Conservative ideology that they will not accept the reality of political compromise to accomplish what they need to.
    Of course, after he got my vote, I would go back to town hall the next day and change back to Democratic membership.

    May 17, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. Robert

    The Republican Circus is so much fun!

    May 17, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Realistic

    rep. Paul plan is exactly what Newt called it, the truth is the truth. Rep. Pauls plan would hurt those who will need care as they age because insurance companies will not cover the cost to cover the elderly because of profits. We know republicans will allow insurance companies to drop those get ill from coverage or raise the cost so much that people will have to choose between eating and healthcare. Republicans are all about profits not people.

    May 17, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. La, La, La

    Haley needs to sink like South Carolina. Talk about people voting against themselves!

    May 17, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |

    Haley is protecting the rich private health insurance companies,.. she's another robot bowing to the false gods of lobbydom. I'm no fan of Gingrich,.. but any dummy can see the flaws of Ryan's radical proposal.

    May 17, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. al in memphis

    Political parties are starting to act more like the MOB. You step out of line and wack, your done. Our political systems says we can only chose from people who have been loyal to their party –even if they know the party principles don't support what is in the best interest of the people.
    Free market is great, but let's not pretend it does not have its failures. Giving people vouchers is not going to lower healthcare cost, it just means people will go where they can get "just-keep me alive" insurance. We need more attention towards preventive care or monitoring before things get to that no-return point.

    May 17, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Chas in Iowa

    Like she implies,....if you are going to run under the GOP you had better learn the speech and stick to the script!
    The GOP has no room for independant thinking.
    Ignore the little man behind the curtain,...the Great OZ has spoken.

    May 17, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Living In SC

    I live in SC and this and this ditzy B doesn’t represent me!

    May 17, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. John in Brooklyn

    While ideologically I don't agree with either of these two, but if Nikki Haley represents the intellectual future of the Republican Party...compared to the smarts of Newt Gingrich....then, the Republicans can "turn off the lights, the paty's over."

    May 17, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. AC

    Your wrong Haley the seniors do not want Ryan's plan to cut medicare and medicaid. Just have a town meeting to find out? What are against seniors? Leave Medicare and Medicaid ALONE!

    May 17, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. starsunbriar

    So the Republicans won't get behind anyone who won't cut Medicare? LOL. That's going to work out great.

    May 17, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Dot

    Chomp, chomp, chomp .. . that's what a TeaPe'er sounds like when they have a little newt for supper. Hee-hee-hee . . . that's the sound of me lovin' it! Thanks again Tea Party for destroying the Republican party. We Democrats FULLY support you in your quest to pillage and burn your own!

    May 17, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Sally


    There is something in the water in Wisconsin.

    May 17, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. Lloyd


    You mean force. Force recipients to buy health care on the private market, while giving them less and less money to do so.

    May 17, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Kent from SC

    "The people of South Carolina" support the Ryan plan!?!? No Gov Haley, YOUR people support the plan. The people that are actually paying attention and/or depend on medicaid/medicare do NOT support the Ryan plan (or lack thereof). "The people of South Carolina" are NOT a collective Gov Haley so clarify your statement. You SHOULD say that "the Tea Party of South Carolina, those that that do not keep themselves informed on the issues, and people that do not depend of social services support the Ryan Plan."

    May 17, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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