Gingrich blasts McConnell over debt ceiling
July 12th, 2011
05:41 PM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich blasts McConnell over debt ceiling

(CNN)- Despite recent public scraps with his own party, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich didn't hold back Tuesday on the subject of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's debt ceiling plan.

"McConnell's plan is an irresponsible surrender to big government, big deficits and continued overspending," Gingrich tweeted.

As Democrats and Republicans remain divided on a solution to resolving the debt ceiling, which will reach its limit August 2, McConnell pushed for a limited debt ceiling increase deal.

At issue is whether the deal will include revenue from taxes as well as spending cuts. McConnell favors a deal that relies solely on spending cuts and proposed a plan including three short-term increases in the amount the government can borrow. He pledged the GOP would "choose a path that actually reflects the will of the people which is to do the responsible thing and ensure that the government does not default on its obligations."

But for Gingrich, it seems that's not enough.

He addressed a tea party group in Charleston, South Carolina, saying, "I don’t quite know what Sen. McConnell was trying to accomplish today. It is a fundamental mistake for the congressional Republicans to try to find a way out of the current fight. They cannot allow Obama to intimidate them by trying to frighten senior citizens. What they should be doing is offering very small bites that are impossible for him to turn down."

The 2012 GOP presidential contender advised the GOP to confront the debt ceiling head-on. "What Republicans shouldn’t do is try to back down from this fight," he said.

Battling an old foe, Gingrich, who was at the helm of a shutdown of federal government after a budget stalemate during the Clinton administration, again sought to highlight the value of a standoff between both parties.

"The Washington media will tell you we made a huge mistake closing the government in 1995 and 1996 and I will tell you, as one of the people who did it, that is baloney," he argued.

"I would say to the Republicans in Washington today: You have to have the courage to stand for what you believe in and believe that the American people are smarter than the elite media think they are or political consultants think they are. You have to be prepared to go nose to nose with the president and win the argument."

Gingrich drew fire from fellow Republicans in June when he called House Budget Chair Paul Ryan's plan to battle the deficit "right-wing social engineering." After being openly chastised by GOP leaders for undermining his party's efforts to battle the deficit, Gingrich later walked back on the comments, stating that he'd made "a mistake."

"The fact is that I have supported what Ryan's trying to do on the budget," he said.

"Let me say on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said … is a falsehood," Gingrich continued. "I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate. And I'm prepared to stand up, when I make a mistake … because that way we can have an honest conversation."

And, honestly, Gingrich believes McConnell's plan is just plain wrong.

"The answer to Obama's irresponsibility is a principled "no," not a blank check," he wrote in a follow-up tweet.

CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Filed under: Debt • Deficit • Mitch McConnell • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. Billy


    Palin is next but nobody cares about her opinion either.

    July 12, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    Newter should be..newtered

    July 12, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    He should know – he caused the last big shut-down (followed by higher interest rates and all the other accompaniments). However, Clinton was smart enough to create more wealth for the entire country WITH A MORE FAIR TAX DEAL - You can't tax poor people 15 to 28% and let corporations pay 0% after loopholes and deductions. Get Real.

    July 12, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. sara

    I don't agree with nothing Newty says or does....However, my take on McConnell is he is a COWARD, LIAR and a CON ARTIST

    July 12, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. BeverlyNC

    McConnell is nothing but an Obama basher. He has never been a leader, never presented a single credible solution, and lies on a daily basis about what is really going in when Democrats try to get Republicans to participate in governing and passing laws on JOBS and restoring the economy.
    McConnell needs to be voted out of office for incompetence. He does not serve the PEOPLE. We see the real McConnell is how he is happy to let the US default on its loans, destroy our economy, and hurt Americans once again by protecting corporate wealth and profits over having them be patriotic and legally pay their taxes, end their absurd oil subsidies, tax loopholes, and tax credits for corporate jets. Are you kidding me?
    People are losing their homes, deep in debt, cannot find a job because "the job creators" as the Republicans call them, are NOT creating jobs. These corporations have every advantage there is and are sitting on trillions in profits and not one has hiired any workers or expanded in the U.S.
    Looks to me like Republicans are intentionally sabotaging our economy for sick political gain. That is not leadership. It is betraying America and the PEOPLE.
    Republicans are TRAITORS to the PEOPLE and McConnell is one of the worst. He gets over $150M in subsidies for his horse owners in his home state of Kentucky. He won't even end those absurd subsidies. He has been bought and paid for by corporations and has worked to destroy the lives of the American People.
    No more Republicans in 2012. We want our democracy back and our country that is FOR the PEOPLE and not against us,

    July 12, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Nom nom nom...the serpent will now return to its regularly scheduled program of eating its own tail.

    July 12, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Cyric

    The Republican party is imploding, any deal without additional tax revenues is pointless and dangerous. They are destroying there own party.

    July 12, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Angy

    Hey newt, did we hear from you when bush & company were digging this HUGE hole? NO! So what is your solution? Oh forgot you don't have one. you can only go blah,blah,blah,blah Obama this and Obama that. But no solutions. typical repug!

    July 12, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. michaelam

    Shutting down the government worked soooo well for you, didn't it, Newtie?

    July 12, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. texan

    Now is the time for the Demos to stand firm on a balanced deficit reduction plan.--- Eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the rich which "we" can no longer afford to give those who GAN afford to share some of the "pain" of getting our house in order. --Balancing the budget on the backs of those making less than $250K/ yr is exactly what the rich want. Leona Helmsley said it best several years ago-- " Only the poor pay taxes" (unquote)--– This is exactly what the Tea Party brain trust won`t dare say in public.---

    July 12, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. AndreLinoge

    Hey, look: Gingrich finally got up the nerve to speak again, lol.

    July 12, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. Stephen in VA

    The man has about as much political strategic ability as my right shoe does. It was actually brilliant for McConnell to suggest shifting the power to the President as a way out of this mess...the only way, really...for Republicans without clearly abandoning one of their chief camps of support.

    July 12, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. Jess C.

    Both of these old hacks should retire from politics. Tired and worn out ideas. Bring on some progressive thinking. Neither is in touch with the average American.

    July 12, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Ken in NC

    Ya gotta love those Republicans. It is their intent to put the USA in default and they have the means to do it. They have said "NO" to everything since the election. It is their way or "NO: way. Problem with that is they each have different ways and each one of them is right and the other is wrong and they can't agree and finally they cannot do anything to raise revenues on behalf of the government but they can cut out any and everything the government does except give tax breaks to their owners.

    July 12, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Gingrich is mad about the "Marriage Pledge" that points a finger at him.

    July 12, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. master11

    From Sen. Obama’s Floor Speech, March 20, 2006:

    The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

    Obama in his own words still holds true today.

    July 12, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. kayla

    your opinion is irrelevant at this time

    July 12, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  18. AZ DEM

    No the said part is that Newt was telling the truth originally when he said Right wing social engineering was not the way to go.

    July 12, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. af

    well Gingrich, you are the most irresponsible politician ever. First of all you are even irresponsible in your own family( married xtime). 2nd, you are irresponsible in your staff ( 16 member of your staff had to quit). 3rd , you talk like an empty brain. Go away

    July 12, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. Dee

    I'm not a republican but I feel sorry for any rational, intelligent member of the GOP who is trying to govern in a party of ignorant extemists. EVERYBODY WHOS ANYBODY knows the debt ceiling must be raised and that if the US defaults on its debt it would be a disaster for all of us. And yet when McConnel tries to compromise even a little he is thrown to the wolves by his own party. Whether one likes it or not we are a two party system and compromise is built into that system. Compromise is what saves us. It's what keeps us from sliding too far to the left or too far to the right. On the right the patients are running the asylum. The far right is a response to fear and the bogeyman is in their imagination. They are the last gaspers, holding on desperately to a changing world that will not and can not stand still for them.

    July 12, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. Tony in Maine

    Newt is irrelevant in addition to being wrong again.

    July 12, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. G D

    He's right to criticize McConnel and the majority of the GOP in their "no new taxes or death" stance. He should have stuck by his original comments instead of saying something he clearly said & meant re: the Ryan plan was "inaccurate & unfortunate". Once again, no leadership here...

    July 12, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. FactCheck

    Dumb and dumberer.

    July 12, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. Tom in Desoto, TX

    For years now each time I see Newt I can't help envision him with a mustache only blow his flailed nostrils. I guess this is the Teddy Bear Newt he refers to him as.

    July 12, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. obayashi

    The ever changing position and the bait and switch tactics of the GOP/TBaggers are getting exposed. The public is realizing that the SS checks and Veterans checks and others are in jeopardy, if the "Do-Nothing-Congress" will not come out with the debt ceiling bill. They rest assured that their doctrine of tax cut checks first for the millionaires and billionaires and subsidized big corp. ,who earned billions of dollars was in placed. Trickle down economics. Where were the jobs during the Bush tax cut? More lobbyists hired, those were the jobs created. I need to take a break.

    July 12, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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