Democrats highlight Gingrich controversy to GOP stance on Medicare
May 19th, 2011
08:57 AM ET
10 years ago

Democrats highlight Gingrich controversy to GOP stance on Medicare

Washington (CNN) - It seems the Democratic National Committee isn't worried about Newt Gingrich's warning.

In apologizing for his critical comments of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, the former House Speaker and GOP presidential candidate is warning Democrats not to use his controversial comments from Sunday's "Meet the Press" in any commercials.

"Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate," Gingrich said Tuesday night in an interview on the Fox News Channel.

Thursday morning the Democratic National Committee went up with a web video which showcases both Gingrich's Sunday comments and the ensuing pushback against what he said by a number of top conservatives, to highlight the Republican stance on Medicare.

As of now, the DNC is not paying to run the ad on commercial television. The video can be viewed on the DNC's website and on YouTube.

"If there's one lesson we learned from the ferocity with which Republicans attacked their supposed 'ideas man' and the speed with which he caved, it's that dismantling Medicare is the new litmus test for any would-be Republican presidential nominee," says DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan.

For those of you out of the country the past few days, Gingrich sparked this firestorm on Sunday when talking about Ryan's Medicare proposal, saying, "I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate."

Since then Gingrich has apologized to Ryan and conducted interviews with conservative commentators in what appears to be an attempt of damage control.

The House GOP 2012 budget, authored by Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican, passed the House last month without a single Democratic vote and included a proposal to overhaul Medicare. Under the plan, the government would no longer directly pay medical costs for those 55 and older, but instead would offer subsidies for seniors to use to get private health insurance coverage. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicated that 49 percent of Americans prefer President Obama's approach on Medicare, with four in ten favoring the GOP proposals on Medicare.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer is also weighing in on the Gingrich controversy, saying on Twitter Wednesday that the "biggest takeaway from the Gingrich flap – ending Medicare as we know it is the new GOP litmus test."

Filed under: 2012 • DNC • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    Last year he was defending Tea party this year they dumped him

    May 19, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. robert

    Just the whole thought in Newts mind that he would even be considered "Popular" with the American People, is Mindboggling in itself? He has never been "Popular"???? To much "Flip-Flop in the Gop,scary?

    May 19, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Four and The Door

    Honestly, isn't it wonderful for the elderly to just have the government pay their medical bills directly? What's not to love about that? Except it is a program that does not make sense and it is an important part of what the US federal government does that needs to be better managed to help our country climb out of this huge crater of debt.

    So sure it took a lot of courage and leadership for Paul Ryan to deal with the problem it has become. But what the Democrats will not tell you is that this is really what is necessary to save the Medicare program. In order for it to survive long term, it absolutely needs to operate within a structure consistent with economic reality. In its current form ( we pay everything ) it obviously has no bounds. It runs out of money we know that. Lets look for leaders with the fortitude to fix it so that future generations can have it in their retirement years. It is a program that is important enough to fix.

    May 19, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. GrogInOhio

    Exactly how much more buffoonish can a candidate becoming than saying anyone that quotes him is lying?

    May 19, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. American

    It is unbelievably odd how Newt was right on MTP before his flip-flop. Rep. Ryan's disastrous engineering would give more unnecessary tax cuts to the uber rich off the backs of our seniors by privatizing (eliminiating) Medicare. It's wrong.

    Shame on any politician for supporting Ryan's nonsense, and these politicos should be held accountable by Americans for scheming against our seniors next election.

    May 19, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Newt needs to man up to the fact that his habitual "armageddon-esque" comments blew up in his face. You see, Newt has a habit of making apocoleptic sounding comments whenever he opens his mouth. He is always looking for the eye popping sound bite. It worked all too well this time.

    I still cannot believe that Gingrich is being blasted for being too moderate. Such a though would have been unthinkable a mere 15 years ago, prior to the Bush era. Newt is still the same guy that he has always been. His politicking does not appear to work within the GOTP of today. The "ideas man" is far too liberal. Imagine that. Amazing!

    May 19, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. robert

    Flip-Flop in the Gop! Go figure?

    May 19, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Chas in Iowa

    So lets see ,.....anything he said last Sunday has been repudiated,.......were you on drugs on Sunday?,........or did you have an epiphany on Monday?,.......Are there more of these ignore what I said moments coming up?,......ignore the little man behind the curtain,....the great OZ has spoken.

    May 19, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Tony

    Republicans knew exactly what Gingrich meant by his comment on Ryan's budget plan. That is why they jumped all over him. Are they going to say with a straight face that the inevitable Democratic ads are misinterpreting Gingrich's words, when he said that he was not in favor of "radical change" or "right-wing social engineering"?

    May 19, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
1 2