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. Jim

    So I guess he wants us to forget his "responsible" spending of taxpayer money to investigate President Clinton for his alleged crimes in White Water, to eventually try him for lying about adultery. Let's face it, if adultery were a crime, Newt would be in jail for the rest of his life.

    July 12, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  2. Jack

    And when you were Speaker of the House, what did you do? You are a great critic, but you did the same thing!

    July 12, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  3. independent

    What McConnell actually said.
    “My idea is a good one, although it is completely unconstitutional.

    I believe that the business community is striking fear in our ability to raise funds for the 2012 election, not giving the elderly checks every month. Because if my tea party republicans keep acting like 2nd graders on a playground and the global economy nosedives to a point of no return, the Republican party is dead.

    July 12, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  4. Lenny Pincus

    Gee, Newton, how many times did you raise the debt ceiling?

    July 12, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  5. Roger

    WE all know what you believe in corporate greed. trying to set you self up for that big pay day when you lose the electioon

    July 12, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  6. Name king

    Aahh mr put my foot in my mouth in chief. This show that all the screaming and shouting these repugs do it is all a game to play to their lunatic right. These folks are trained emotional actors that always take the gullible to the market. I was wondering when the repugs would finally raise their ugly head. I know this wasn't the real spend without care repugs, their one loyalty is to international corporations and their over seas ventures, all the crap they shovel all day against Obama and the dems trying to convince American that their trickle down, ( I meant trickle sideways, over seas) economy is working for the past 10 years. The American people is slowly waking up to the new world order the repugs and corporations are doing. It's time we keep our money in America and stop the outsourcing of our money abroad. A massive infrastructure and transportation modernization called the NEW DEAL is what America needs. Lets put Americans back to work.

    July 12, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  7. CTYank

    Which part of this is "intended to be factual", Newt?

    Weren't you the one who thought shutting down the federal government back in '94 would work out?

    Y'er getting to be totally irrelevant, except to the tea-baggers, lad. Leave government to the adults.

    July 12, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  8. Larry L

    Here we have a low-life weasel too imoral to get his Party's votes yet relevant enough to give advice to the Congress? A good Newt would slither back under a rock and try to find a real job. She had cancer when you dumped her Newt. Your opinion doesn't count.

    July 12, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  9. repuklican

    It is time to start arresting republicans. Trying them for treason. And then putting them in jail forever.

    July 12, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. Sterling

    Here's a hint guys: don't take advice on the "principle" of shutting down the government from the schmuck who was willing to do it just because he was snubbed on Air Force One. Newt? Your presidential campaign is in a tailspin, you don't have the foundation to preach to those actually still IN government on either principles OR responsible and intelligent statesmanship, and if you really gave a damn about the country you would just shut up.

    July 12, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  11. scott

    Wow is Newt trying to make up for lost time or damage his bid for potus beyond repair lol republicans have been for less everything well since they threw the wigs out of office centuries ago and now they want to flip-flop on the issues that they know before their vote was yes what happened to the platform they ran on in the last election cycle let me remind you JOBS-JOBS-JOBS that sounds about right and to say repeal healthcare make obama a one term president is this what the people want their elected officials to run on really? not to do whats right for the country or the people how about and i know i say this a lot but force congress into term limits for the house and senate this would keep fresh ideas in career politics out and maybe just maybe money out also it would not matter who a person would support they have two yes two terms to gwt it done oh and to be fair the dems suck just as bad if not worse in the ways they do biz in washington too also there are some independents who would make a better washington if they were to go also so to recap big biz lobbyists corperate money house and senate WIN-WIN-WIN the american people lose lose lose nuff said.

    July 12, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  12. MongoLike

    Newt Gingrich... yawn.

    July 12, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  13. Aaron

    Gingrich seems on a campaign to criticize everyone and everything that he didn't personallly screw up.

    July 12, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  14. Squigman

    Two, total idiots arguing about who's in charge. They could care less about the American people, but just get in their way when the chance to eat from the trauth comes around, and you'll find out what kind of pigs they really are. It would be a shame if they both tried to find out what the bottom of the ocean looked like, with out aid of any air.

    July 12, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  15. GOP = Greed Over People

    When 47% of the American populace down from 60% thinks we SHOULD default on our debt, what are we trying to save?

    Collectively we have lost the soul of the country, when the majority says it is ok to throw the elderly and young in the streets homeless and hungry just to save the almighty dollar, we have no compassion anymore, this country is not the great country it once was.

    It is just a shell and when it breaks, sadly, all we can do is sweep up the pieces.

    July 12, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  16. TEL

    Gingrich can only go through the motions of watching his blubbering lips move. He is not viable today in 2011 as he was not viable in 1995. Newt, just SHUT UP AND GO AWAY.,!!!!

    July 12, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  17. opus512

    Gingrich trying to stay relevant. How sad.

    July 12, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  18. TimZ

    You're mean one, Mister Grinch!

    July 12, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  19. p

    Newt, you are irrelevant.

    July 12, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  20. jon

    All of these REPUBLICANS are CRAZY people. In my over 70 years, I have never seen such a bunch of weirdos running for office, or just speaking out, as are now on the GOP side. What a shame that it has all come down to this. They are trying EVERY possible tactic to make President Obama a one-term president. They really do not care one whit about the American people, their jobs, homes, health insurance, environmental issues, etc, etc.

    July 12, 2011 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  21. EarthlyHalos

    And this, ladies and gentlemen is why Newt will NEVER become president.

    July 12, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  22. sim

    Gingrich was wrong during the Clinton administration and, of course, he's wrong now–"let me say on the record"? Really? Newt, you're on no records. By the way, to the Newt staffers reading these comments: R U N. R U N NOW BEFORE IT"S TOO LATE.

    July 13, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  23. John in Brooklyn

    While I don't agree with the Republicans' agenda of protecting companies and wealthy Americans from paying their fair share of taxes, claiming that these entities create jobs (when, in fact, most large company job growth over the past decade has occurred OUTSIDE of the US)....if I were an advisor for President Obama, I'd let the Republicans pursue McConnell's plan, then refuse to veto the bill – thus forcing the Republicans to come right back to the table to talk about responsible government again. What a weird, useless, and self-serving political tactic!

    July 13, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  24. Lynmarbro

    He didn't learn his lesson in 1995/1996, and people have not forgotten his error in forcing a government shutdown. The Republicans have now backed themselves into a corner, and will only be humiliated. The last election was about people wanting job creation. The Republicans have twisted the election results last year, falsely claiming a mandate to keep low tax rates for the wealthy at the expense of those who have less. All the tantrums about not raising the debt ceiling are just a smokescreen. They certainly had no problem repeatedly raising the debt ceiling during the Bush years, or keeping two wars off the books. At least Obama had the guts to be honest with Americans by exposing the costs of the unjustified wars. I was a Republican until the last three years of the Bush administration. I will proudly vote for Obama again.

    July 13, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  25. Sanandra

    Newt– I don't much like ANYBODY in the Republican party much these days. I am tired of Republicans letting the filthy rich oil companies, insurance lobbies, and pharmaceutical lobbies lead the GOP around by the nose ring while we, the middle class taxpayers, get the shaft. How dare you hold up vital programs like Medicare, Social Security, etc. (all programs taxpayers funded) just so you can retain tax breaks & loopholes & subsidies for your rich corporations & mega rich friends. Aren't you ashamed? You should be.

    July 13, 2011 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
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