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)

    I thought Newt already dropped out of the race, is he still around? Does anyone care what Newt says, although I do agree that McConnell is just kicking the can down the road. The GOP needs to start really taking these talks to heart. They can't there and just say it's my way or the highway, do you job and quit like Half Gov. Palin did, don't just stand around and muddy up the waters.

    July 12, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. Drogo, who bit the dust

    Once a gas bag always a gas bag.

    July 12, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, what does Gingrich actually advocate? I would say that he is trying to have everything. I don't think that he would win the nomination anyhow. It doesn't really matter what he thinks.

    July 12, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. Reggie from LA

    That's right, Newt! Don't let McConnell and gang compromise anything. Let it all come crashing down around our ears. No matter how it shakes out, you'll still be able to pay that Tiffany's bill. Listen you morons. Peoples futures are at stake here. You have battled every single thing that Obama has stood for. Both of these 2 were around when ceilingS were raised during the Bush administration. Ooops. I can't talk about that. They can talk about Reagan, but Bush is sacred ground because...uhh...because, well they say so that's why. It's because it mirrors their failure. Just keep on pandering.

    July 12, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. ED FL

    Here we go again, DUMB and DUMBER,each who are or have been in relatively high positions and what they have in common. Mcconnell is from the LOWEST EDUCATED State in the union.What better example than electing Mcconnell as a Senator. This guy knows or never has accomplished anything of value to the country or his constituants. Ginghrich could be his twin, outside of dumping sick wives while philandering with other women his accomplishments for his state of George are negligent.Best known for cryin that President Clinton didn't let him ride in the Presidents section of the plane on a trip to a funeral in Europe.Naughty Newt doesnt have a moral compass in his body.

    July 12, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. D-Nice

    Let me say on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said…is a falsehood," Gingrich continued. Let me get that straight, any ad that uses Newt's own words is false. Only a politician could think up something like that. Also, anyone who makes a statment like that should never be allowed to be president.

    July 12, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. carol

    About time that someone in the republican party had the guts to say there is a problem with
    the republican stand that so many are pushing. surely there are others that don't want to sell the country out on the hope of defeating a president.

    July 12, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Alex

    He tweeted it? Like how Snookie tweets about her tans? Very convenient that he only had to respond in 144 characters or less. I thought he was an idea man – I guess he's a 144 character idea man.

    July 12, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. Kevin

    We still have to hear from this moron? I thought everyone on his staff, got smart and quit...

    July 12, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  10. Dan In North Carolina

    I just hope the voters remember how the Republicans are using their positions to hurt the American People with their position of not raising the debt limit. When George Bush was President they raised the debt limit 6 or 7 times. The Republicans were the ones that got us in all the debt when Bush was President. Medicare and Social Security is not the problem. Social Security has been paid for by those paying into it. Social Security may be a problem years to come, but not now! Democrat Xavier Becerra is right on with his comments regarding the deficit, middle class, social security, etc..... My question to all our elected officials, (why are we sending any tax money overseas to other Countries) Someone should start a bill to stop all tax money leaving the United States until our tax paying citizens are taken care of and the dept is eliminated. My tax money and all US Tax payers money should stay in the United States.......Where is our representation! Stop representing the World and take care of the United States. I do not want my tax money going to help another Country until we take care of our own. Wake Up!!!!

    July 12, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. LegendRx

    Who woke the baby up?????????????????x;(

    July 12, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Jimbo

    "Any ad which quotes what I said…is a falsehood." OK. Falsehoods are lies. If you are "quoted," what you actually said is repeated. Therefore, What he says are lies. So Newt is blatantly telling us he lies? Interesting campaign, tiger.

    July 12, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. George

    In other news, has-been Gingrich gets a mention on an online news site.

    July 12, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. Pete Schatz

    Like he says, any quote of his is not true. Just like the rest of the Republicans.

    July 12, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. Jim

    Let's see. This is a comment by a man who had to resign his position in the House because of misconduct, who had an affair with a staffer while married, who now professes devout Roman Catholicism despite his marriage to the subject staffer and the Catholic church's and biblical references on marrying a divorced woman, and who tries unsuccessfully to break with his party's political and economic orthodoxy and is subsequently rejected by them. His future is in quirky speaking engagements and writing more bad Civil War novels.

    July 12, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. E Ray

    Wow. When I read the headline, I thought finally, one of the Republicans is going to differentiate himself from the field by actually being sensible, and try to grab some independents. But of course, it's now a full on mad race to see who can be the most far-right.

    July 12, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  17. CaliforniaBC

    Didn't the failure of his government shutdown back in the 90's teach Gingrich when to keep his mouth shut??

    July 12, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. PulTab

    i wish cnn and everyone else would stop reporting on this guy. you may be giving him the impression that he is relevant in some way. if you ignore him, he might go away. give it a try.

    July 12, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. Indy

    And what is the solution dear Newt ? You cant just bash Obama and preach Republican lockstep, and not come up with an alternative solution that is in the BEST interest of ALL Americans.

    July 12, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. William

    Newt (high moral ground) Gingrich who was thrown out of congress on ethics charges and has admitted to multiple affairs while married is now prepared "hold the high moral ground" on the debt problem. Only such an oxymoron can hapen in American politics.

    July 12, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. SecedingfromTexas

    Thank you for sharing, Newt. We will take your thoughts under advisement, then we will deep six them, along with
    Mitch's. Now go buy Callista another trinket, or better yet some hair softener.

    July 12, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. ATL Guy

    So the Republicans said they were concerned about the deficits and their kids and grandkids, yet they want to just give the President the right to raise the debt ceiling without any sacrifices. To protect their corporate lobbyists they're punting on reforming all the big government spending that they so hate. What a bunch of clowns. If you don't have the stomach to stay in the fight you shouldn't start it. They thought they could bully the President and in the end got played at their own game big time. He knew they wouldn't do any tax reform no matter how silly the tax is so he was willing to throw Social Security and all the other GOP bogeymen onto the table just to see how far he can push their silliness. They hate Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, big government spending etc so he threw it on the table and said you're going to have to break your no taxes pledge if you care enough about reforming spending. And now they're trying to find a way out of the hole they've dug for themselves. The President needs to call a press conference every day to keep beating them over the head and show the American people just how silly and stupid the Republicans are.

    July 12, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Peter s

    No short cuts there is problem and its need to be solved therefore, lets stop party ideologies and solve the problem.

    July 12, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. Marjee123

    Is Newt still around. I thought he was at Tiffany's.

    July 12, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  25. J

    "Let me say on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said…is a falsehood," Gingrich continued.

    Oh, is he still in the race?

    July 12, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
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