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. david mann

    Another attempt to be relevant. And still, like Timmy and Sarah, so not.

    July 13, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  2. Bigred

    Newt has had his time in the spotlight. Not satisfied to disgrace himself in front of the American people with his massive Tiffany's account and staffers who walked out on him, now he goes to spout his pathetic nonsense to brainless and impulsive Tea Party members. Maybe they will support his sorry campaign. Talk as much as you want to the Tea Party Newt, just shut your idiotic mouth around the middle class. We know what you are about.

    July 13, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  3. Manny

    Who is Newt Gingrich?

    July 13, 2011 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  4. notags

    Newt, get over it. You 15 minutes of fame was over years ago.

    July 13, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  5. sandan

    Why is Gingrich even in the news? This guy is a has-beens has-been and doesn't deserve any mention in the news as there are too many important things like Bachmann and Palin who are truely news worthy (kidding of course)!

    July 13, 2011 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  6. A Real Patriot

    Mr. Irrelevant erupts again.....

    July 13, 2011 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  7. Marry

    Gingrich should know what happens when the government shuts down. All loose! It would be more appropriate if the GOP/TP had the good of all Americans (and the world economy) in mind. The only ones they are concerned about are the few % that have it all and the power to protect them. They really push it clearly: Them against us! If only the ones that profit from the GOP/TP would vote for them, they would be in the single digests! But that is America for you, too big a part are masochist voting again and again against their own interest and like fairytales.

    July 13, 2011 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  8. buckup

    FUNNY!! The Newt Clown talking down the McConnell clown about fiscal responsibility.
    Next will be talking tea bags dueling at 30 paces the hot air bags to solve climate change.
    Hey Kyl clown, how is the opposition to the nuclear weapons proliferation treaty working?
    We still have the Reagun movie script to unite America & the world: invasion by space aliens.
    This lame political talent in the U.S.A. going to lead the nation to the global republican world view.

    July 13, 2011 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  9. Neurotoxin

    Like them or hate them, but this type of hard-line economic conservatism is how the Tea Party eats economic RINOs like McConnell. Republicans have sought a middle ground on economics since Reagan, but times have changed and people who vote Republican nowadays want government spending at a fraction of what it is, those who still endorse Keyensian Federalism are pretty safe Democrat votes. Rand Paul cleaned up in Kentucky in 2010, McConnell's own home state where he is up for re-election in 2012, he keeps trying to go to the center, he won't win his own primary.

    July 13, 2011 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  10. CBR

    So here we are facing a Congressional impasse with no initiatives in sight. The Republicans have chosen this time to battle each other while the constituents wonder if the government can meet its obligations. This is not the time to stonewall in an attempt to keep Mr. Obama from securing a second term.

    It is time to get this work done. We are smart enough to decide the next election without the direct interference of the Senate Minority Leader or the Republican Whip who seems to be out of sync with the Speaker, Mr. Boehner. It is time for Mr. Boehner to step up and lead his party. He has the ability to rise to the occasion much as past Speakers have to get the nation moving forward.

    July 13, 2011 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  11. Thereik

    Is anyone listening?

    July 13, 2011 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  12. Anonymous

    What a pandering tool.

    July 13, 2011 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  13. chris

    So essentially McConnell's plan is for the Republicans to tacitally support raising the debt ceiling, but it make it appear that it is all Obama's doing and therefore completely blame Obama for it.

    Typical, Repbulicans want all the benefits but none of the responsibility.

    July 13, 2011 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  14. Sara


    July 13, 2011 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  15. Boogaloo

    Newt needs to quit while he's ahead...which he never really was.

    July 13, 2011 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  16. ayre sojourn

    Gingrich is yesterdays news.His line of thinking is not a part of the solution but a part of the problem. His day of standing in the sun has come and gone. Sad that he just hasn't realized it quite yet.

    July 13, 2011 05:57 am at 5:57 am |

    Looks like the GOBP Wall street,Chamber of Commerce masters have spoken. Nobody cares about Lizard Gingrich. The limit will be raised.

    July 13, 2011 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  18. Jack

    "A pricicpaled 'NO'"? What does Gnigrich know about principals? He wouldn't know principals if it came up and punched him in the nose. Honestly, I don't know why he even matters any more.

    July 13, 2011 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  19. michael MN

    The GOP has no plan except to oppose what ever the president wants

    July 13, 2011 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  20. We Will Fight On

    Gingrich is a obama pansie, why vote for the morons of ex washington, put a real jeans and T shirt person in there and sweep washington clean and also dump turbo timmy the tax cheat.

    July 13, 2011 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  21. G. R.R.

    Newt used to have my respect. Not any more. Sad. He is like McCain in his presidential bid. Willing to say or do anything. Shows that they make bad presidents.

    July 13, 2011 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  22. seeseehpounder

    Isn't Newt's campaign struggling under a huge debt?

    July 13, 2011 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  23. Indepednant with a few dumb questions

    Isn't the whole problem in Washington UNDER COLLECTING combined with OVER SPENDING? Would the founding fathers really have put the desires of millionaires and corporations over the needs of the elderly, poor and ill? Why is it that the Conservative right's governmental principles and desires are so utterly out of synch with what their religion preaches?

    July 13, 2011 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  24. rdarkchild

    Does anybody really listen to the guy?

    July 13, 2011 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  25. Stephen

    "They cannot allow Obama to intimidate them by trying to frighten senior citizens." You mean like the GOPs do every time there's a debate about health care? What a silly old fool.

    July 13, 2011 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
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