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. Michael Malinas

    I tire of all politicians, like Governor Haley, bolstering their positions by making it seem as if they are the one true voice of their constituents. "the people of South Carolina" are no more homogeneous than any group of citizens. Maybe Haley likes all that Ryan stands for, but she is practicing self-delusion if she thinks that all of the citizens of her state are of one mind. It's rhetorical nonsense.

    May 17, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. John Wright

    I wish Gingrich to go away now! He's done!

    May 17, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. AZ DEM

    Ryan's proposal has no chance of passing the Senate OR being signed into law so they should move on to a more responsible bi-partisan approach. This can be said about immigration, energy, and even healthcare...until this hyperpartisan environment dies down nothing either party solely puts forward will be passed. The GOP is still planning their assault on Obama and all he stands for while he is ACTUALLY trying to help the people who need it. This country needs to wake up and FAST

    May 17, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. kyle

    If we were to replace medicare with private insurance, their premiums probably would be $5000.00 a month. The private market is run on profit and greed.

    May 17, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. deb

    The S.C people should be "Outraged" at their Gov. It seems as though all the "Poverty Stricken" in S.C. would "Wise-Up to Reality! These people have been suffering for decades under Gop Rule? What are they thinking? Ya All better think at the polls???? Because you have,nt seen nothing yet,if you keep voting against yourselves?

    May 17, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. HS

    How arrogant of Governer Haley to say "the people of South Carolina support Representative Ryan"? Really, has she asked all of them? Do polls say that 100% of South Carolinans support Rep. Ryan? I doubt it. She should speak for herself and her administration, not the entirety of the citizenship of her state.

    May 17, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. Kara

    Oops, Newt told people the truth!
    An unfortunate accident, and one I'm sure he won't repeat.

    May 17, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. mac

    Newt to liberal to get elected as a republican! Say it not so. Don't feel bad Newt, these people that love to talk about the party of Reagen would not vote for him either.

    May 17, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. The Dude

    So I guess there is no room for compassion in the GOP anymore. Ryan's plan is going nowhere. Newt was careful in his words but acted stupidly by stirring up the Teaple. Is there not one electable person on the right? Ron Paul is looking better, but he's a freak. Obama going to have a cakewalk to a second term.

    May 17, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Nick

    And they eat their wounded too!!!

    May 17, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. Roscoe

    Keep moving to the right and to insignificance.

    May 17, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. AK

    This is priceless. LAMO

    May 17, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. OneMoreTime

    @Tim: " room for divergent opinion in today's Republican Party". How right you are!!!!!! .."very telling" indeed.

    May 17, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. AEK

    Now, let me get this straight...the new spokesperson for the new Republican Party is the governor of South Carolina? You're kidding me, right? Nikki Haley? That's it? That's all they got?

    May 17, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Russ

    For those of you that don't follow South Carolina politics, Nikki Haley is Sanford reborn and a whole lot worse. She ran on transparency and family values. So far no transparency, many lies and coverups of her pre and post Governor activities. Reports of, and soon to be documented affairs, personal tax fraud and the largest budget in SC history because of her cronies. Why would anyone take this woman seriously?

    May 17, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    way to dogpile on ol' Newtie there GOP. I guess Sarah Palin will either tweet or post something on her Facebook about it next. Though if this were Obama she would have done that by now. But if these right wingers just wait Newt more than likely will flip-flop on this like he has done on Cap and Trade, Libya, and just did on the Healthcare mandate.

    May 17, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. rhumba

    The Tea Party thrives on hyperbole. I'm pretty sure that there's a significant number of people in South Carolina who hate Ryan's plan.

    May 17, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Tony

    I am an independent/Democrat and I agree with Governor Haley. Representative Ryan has shown to think outside the box and he is not afraid to present unpopular ideas (just as President Obama has). He does not take part in that horrible hateful rhetoric. This tells me that he is more interested in taking care of the country’s business than getting re-elected. Both parties could learn a lot from this gentleman. He has earned my respect.

    May 17, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. zxasxz46

    No room in the republican party ! Sound more like the Democrat party, absolutely no room there
    toe the line or they will tie you to the whipping post

    May 17, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. zxasxz46

    "Of course, after he got my vote, I would go back to town hall the next day and change back to Democratic membership"
    anything to deny folks their freedom, am sure while you are there you will be sure to get your handouts

    May 17, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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."
    Nikki!!!! You 'govern' one of the poorest states in the Union, and you're trying to tell your people and the rest of us that getting rid of the only access your folks have to medical system and their meds is COMMON SENSICAL?
    What is truly insane is how you have taken complete leave of your senses by saying something like this with a straight face while looking into the camera like a deer caught in the headlights.
    Your Party has lost it's collective mind in their pursuit of power at all cost,and you have joined them.

    May 17, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country (the real deal)

    The GOP is not friendly to seniors. Period.
    What a joke. Are the Democrats that have NO PLAN to address either Social Security OR Medicare to keep it solvent "friendly to seniors"? Will their inaction and ultimate failure of these programs (or the bankruptcy of the US) be classified as "friendly"?

    The bottom line is that given ever increasing medical costs and a large aging population that is living longer and longer, the Democrats grand scheme for social security and medicare is simply unsustainable. The world and reality has changed since these programs were started. If they are not changed to keep up with the times, THEY WILL COLLAPSE or the US will collapse trying to fund them.

    This is why large federal government programs are always doomed to fail. People get suckered into beleiving they can have everything for practically nothing by the politicans that lie and kick the financial can down the road. Well, eventually reality comes into play when you run out of road to kick the can down. We have now reached that point.

    May 17, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Realizing that they are completely devoid of intelligent ideas, and presidential nominees the Republican Party has turned to cannibalism.

    May 17, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. wright

    Wow – the misinformation being exhibited in these comments is really something. In between the 'GOP hates seniors' to "forcing people to but insurance on the open market" I wonder if these commentators actually bothered to read Ryan's proposal or if they are aware of the catastrophic shortcomings of the current system. Instead of chanting the tiresome liberal talking points, they should take a couple of hours to educate themselves. If they still feel the same way, fine, but at least base it on something real.
    To the commentator who said that Obama is really trying to help people I say that he is only trying to help himself. His divisive rhetoric works – just read the comments – but is incredibly harmful to the nation.

    May 17, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. FM

    Though am not a fun of Gingrich but the man was speaking his mind and what he believes in. Whats wrong with that?? Also people of same Party attacking each other openly, doesn't impress me.

    May 17, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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