Gingrich: I made a mistake
May 18th, 2011
09:26 AM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich: I made a mistake

(CNN) – Amid predictions from some within the GOP ranks that Newt Gingrich has fatally harmed his presidential chances, the former House Speaker issued a full-throated apology Tuesday for leveling criticisms at Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan.

"I made a mistake and I called Paul Ryan today, who's a very close personal friend – and I said that. The fact is that I have supported what Ryan's trying to do on the budget … the budget vote is one that I am happy to say I would have voted for, I will defend, and I will answer any Democrat who attempts to distort what I said." Gingrich said Tuesday during an appearance on Fox News.

"Let me say on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said Sunday is a falsehood. I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate. And I'm prepared to stand up, when I make a mistake – and I'm going to on occasion – I want to stand up and share with the American people that was a mistake, because that way we can have an honest conversation," he added.

The uproar stems from Gingrich's comments during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, when the former House Speaker called a Medicare provision in the GOP budget proposal spearheaded by Ryan "right wing social engineering" and later indicated he supports requiring every citizen to buy health insurance or instead post a bond for insurance.

Gingrich again walked back those comments in his interview with Fox.

"I do not support a mandate," he said. "I am opposed to Obamacare and have been for the past two years."

The two comments resulted in stinging rebukes from several commentators and politicians who say the former House Speaker is undermining his party's efforts at reigning in the federal debt, but the former House speaker said he merely misspoke while mistakenly choosing to answer a "hypothetical boloney question."

Meanwhile, Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler told CNN the uproar is largely result of Washington's "literati" who "cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world."

"The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the from establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods," Tyler said. "Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces."

On another matter, Gingrich refused to address a story first reported by Politico that he and his wife, Callista, carried a revolving charge account between $250,001 and $500,000 in 2005 and 2006 for the Tiffany & Co. jewelry store when his wife worked as a congressional staffer.

"If it doesn't relate to solving our problems, from now on my answer's going to be, 'I'm not commenting on it,'" Gingrich said. "I'm not playing Trivial Pursuit."

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • Paul Ryan
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. maine liberal

    News to the Newt

    Food stamps return 1.61 in economic benefit per dollar. This is because the dollars are all spent locally and provide an economic ripple effect up the supply chain. farmers/producers, manufactures, delivery local merchants and jobs. The tax cuts that you are so fond of provide 31 cents per dollar. Do the math

    May 18, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  2. Russ

    Damn it Newt, not another mistake. How can we vote for you for President if you keep making stupid mistakes.

    May 18, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Biggge

    Gingrich no Nuts...
    Daniels no respect for woman health, would not be re-elected Gov.
    Pallin enough said...
    Huntsman never heard of this guy
    Romney same healthcare as Obama
    Bachmann just make things up, issues with the facts
    Ron Paul has let Rick Perry rob Texas...
    Santorum has no chance....

    If I were a Republican I would be very worried....

    May 18, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    But President Clinton wasn't allowed a mistake in lead the lynch mob to crucify him!!!

    May 18, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. maine liberal

    funny how his words in real time are now "twisted" and out of context from the liberal media.
    and yet its the republicans and the conservative talk radio calling him out.
    when did rushbo become liberal mainstream media

    May 18, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. rs

    So it is again possible to say that the Republican Tea Party speaks with one voice:

    "We are for giving the super-rich, and the hyper-profitable oil companies big tax breaks; running up the deficit, and; hurting the poor, the sick and elderly to make that happen".

    Whew- what a relief.

    May 18, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. jd

    You are in a sad position when you cannot stand up for what you realy believe. gingrich, be a man,

    May 18, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. al in memphis

    You can't apologize for having an independent thought that contrary to the Republican party line- this tells us you will never be about what's in the best interest of the American people. The mistake your making is missing your opportunity to stand for the people and against those principles from either party that doesn't make sense.

    May 18, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    He got a call from Der Fuehrer Fatty LimpOnes and presto!! he made a mistake. Not that he had a chance anyway but he was telling the truth

    May 18, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Massive Head

    Its great to see Newt pee all over the GOPee.

    May 18, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. PulTab

    looks like his current performance isn't doing much better than the past, (that we are not supposed to judge him on).

    May 18, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. 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!!!

    This IDIOT Newt career and personal life has been dominated by alot of APOLOGIES!...Apologise to all the many wives and cuncubines he has cheated with...apologise to screwing America with his ethics violation & being disgraced out of congress....and apologising to little Paul Ryan & and his group of Rush Limbaugh Medicaid killing buddies!

    Next, Newt will be apologising to America after he must have SCREWED America Again!!!

    May 18, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Paul1st

    Gingrich doesn't have to worry about defending what he said against Democratic critics. He has his hands full with his Republican critics. Gingrich has to get past his own party's primary first.

    May 18, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Dave

    How many "mistakes" does this guy get to make before he's declared incompetent? He's always making mistakes. He made mistakes with two wives, he makes mistakes with things he says. We can't trust this guy's judgement when he makes so many wrong decisions. And it's obvious that he's not making "mistakes," but excuses when he gets caught and called out on his behavior. Give it up, Newt, you're not presidential material, and you were frankly lucky you got into Congress. We'll put *that* down as a "mistake" on the part of the voters.

    Go home, you joke.

    May 18, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Nurse Lisa

    The comment: "I will answer any Democrat who attempts to distort what I said." leaves me wondering why he felt it necessary to say is is ready to attack the Dems – when yesterday's articles were all saying how it was the GOP was incredulous at his wacky stance. The Dems do not need to distort what he said – he is a slithering gaffe magnet.

    May 18, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. Kathy

    Pulling a trick out of the Palin Handbook of Lies...the "Leftist Media" distorted what you said????? Pathetic little man who takes his orders from Flush Rimjob!!

    May 18, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. Nurse Lisa

    The comment: "I will answer any Democrat who attempts to distort what I said." leaves me wondering why he felt it necessary to say he is ready to attack the Dems – when yesterday's articles were all saying how it was the GOP that was incredulous at his wacky oppositional stance. The Dems do not need to distort what he said – he is a slithering gaffe magnet.

    May 18, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. doug

    this is no less than pathetic.....PERIOD!

    May 18, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Dirk Wladon

    Newter Blingrich punked out against his own boys! He can't go toe to toe with those whimps and he will try to take on President Obama in an intellectual debate.

    May 18, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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