Gingrich: I made a mistake
May 18th, 2011
09:26 AM ET
12 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. is he for real

    "Distort what you said". Is he for real. He said it, plain and simple and when it came back to bite him, he said I am sorry and backed away from it. There is no distortion, you just need to get your stories straight before you do an interview.

    May 18, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Biggge

    This guy has no backbone, he is more scared of the Repub's than sticking to his guns...U can't take a guy like this seriously, if U stand for nothing U will fall for anything.. Famous words of Fat Albert " NO RESPECT " We have enough puppets in Washington....Gingrich tell us how U really feel or should I ask Ryan... U look pretty funny with his hand up your backside. Grow a pair..........................

    May 18, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. JCC

    Seriously? He says one thing on national TV, gets spanked by his owners, and now wants to claim that any reference to his words is a 'falsehood'? No, it's not. The falsehood is thinking that people are going to keep believing the conservatives "Big Lie".

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Joseph Goebbels

    May 18, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  4. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Why don't we start a tax on lying. Heck, we could pay down the debt quickly with just those who work at Fox news.

    May 18, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. Alina77

    Gingrich said that Ryan's bill is a "crap", of course the right will not forgive him this after all the whole Republican Congress voted for it, now those poor congress people have to go back to their cities to "push it", and yes they HATE every bit of it, I dont believe Boehner has any brains in that crying head of his for making them voting for it. Now Republicans have no choice but trying to win their seats by "running" on this bill and LOOS America, or not running on it and being bashed by their own "right".

    Nice planning guys, the good thing that this time only the Republicans will go down with out dragging the whole country with them (as it happened in the past).

    May 18, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Biggge

    Gingrich I bet it is terrible when you can't speak your mind.. feels like a FOX news

    May 18, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Amazing

    The man lacks courage to stand by his convictions. He said what he really beleives and now is retracting it to coddle favor from his peers.

    May 18, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Julia

    Why apologize, Ryan's medicare plan is a death plan for the elderly, sounds like HITLERISM to me.

    May 18, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. SayWhat

    "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.

    This has got to be a new low in American politics. "If you quote me its a lie." Someone please show this poor unfortunate person the door.

    May 18, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  10. Madtown

    I'm sure that was a very sincere apology. Dear Lord, is there anything more pathetic than politics?

    May 18, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. SDN

    So.....what exactly does Gingrich think...........about anything?

    May 18, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. DavidNYC

    "Any ad which quotes what I said Sunday is a falsehood." WOW! Can't wait to see what Stewart and Colbert do with that quote tonight. You just can't make sentences like that up!

    May 18, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. GOP = Greed Over People

    ONE mistake?

    Remember, "thy money shall perish with you" so I guess that is why GOP "christians" are out to kill the poor among us by cutting Medicare and Medicaid.

    Some of us "libtard" heathens were taught to help those less fortunate, of course, we think Jesus was the first liberal.

    Therefore, that explains why GOP "christians" do a 180 and get as far from Jesus' original teachings as they can.

    But do not worry, your money will share the same end as you GOP "christians" and it will be in ashes.

    Something to smear over your bodies in attempted atonement?

    May 18, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  14. rusty155

    You know Newt Gingrich you all most had me , A Republican telling the Truth. I couldn't believe it when I read It, but It was just another LIE by a Republican. What are you going to flip flop on next time. I will tell you lost my vote. You haven't change ,you are the same person you all way been. A Crook , A Cheat and a person that don't know how to tell the truth. Just like every Republican, The tell you what they think you want to hear. And than when you vote them In they do the most they can to do the opposite they told you they would do.

    May 18, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. musician

    You know, you just can`t make this stuff up. He`s like a cartoon character from some political satire farce that repeatedly flais around spouting contradictory things and then denying that he ever said such things. It is.... incredible.

    May 18, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. Sean-on-the-right

    If thr Repubs nominate Newt or even consider Newt for the primary, they are the biggest fooools on this planet. For them to buy this garbage he's selling is ............well, let's just say it's priceless!

    May 18, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. Poser

    So Newt has now gone full circle and is toeing the party line. There will be no need for Democrats to distort what Newt said. It was very clear and was recorded on video for anyone to go back and view.

    "Let me say on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said Sunday is a falsehood." Wow. If that isn't a statement tailor made for Faux News. In other words, if it doesn't match the narrative I want to portray this second, blame anyone using verifiable facts as lying (because it's the lame stream media). It's sad and pathetic that people tolerate the nonsense.

    May 18, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Shane Botwin

    Enjoy those campaign contributions Newt. But if you're wondering why there's a fork stuck in your stomach, it's because you're done.

    May 18, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  19. Mike Dallas

    It is embarrassing to watch a grown man participate in such blatant groveling and pandering to a group for votes.

    Yes, even Newt.

    May 18, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. Bill from GA

    "Any ad which quotes what I said Sunday is a falsehood. "

    What??? Now he's talking faster than his brain. This makes NO sense at all.

    newt didn't REALLY say what we heard him say; the liberal media twisted his words.

    May 18, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. ClarasBeau

    I see Mr. Gingrich as a sort of schoolboy on a playground, watching the other boys play ball, and wishing that they'd change their minds and let him play with them. Not gonna happen. Best you get on home now, Newt.

    May 18, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  22. Sean-on-the-right

    Newty, don't you know in order to be a true Repub that you have to lie, lie, lie and lie some more. You been lying all these years and now that you are running for president, you decide to tell the truth about Ryan's plan. You're FIRED.

    "The Donald"

    May 18, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  23. 8 Years of "Trickle Down" economics has only left a dribbling wet spot on working Americans's shoes!

    If the slimy salamander is doing all this billing and cooing for forgiveness from Ryan, he would have to get out the knee pads if he pissed off someone of any consequence.

    May 18, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. Bubba

    He's Donald Trump in a different wig. Please, someone show this clown the exit.

    May 18, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. 'merica ruined by rethugs

    Newt need not apologize for calling Ryan's budget right wing social engineering and a Path to Poverty - that was accurate. He does need to apologize for the "food stamp" remark and for being a gutless wonder who kowtows to Rush and the know-nothing pundits at Faux Noise

    May 18, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
1 2 3